MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian economies should step up the push for renewable energy development through higher public expenditure, green job development and fiscal reforms.
Clean energy development and inclusive growth policies should be part of the environmental fiscal reform in the region, Venkatachalam Anbumozhi and Han Phoumin said in a discussion paper published by Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (ERIA).
“Integrated energy, fiscal, educational, skill enhancement and social development policy actions can help to tackle these challenges in either short or medium term,” the authors said.
Asean governments are urged to increase spending on clean energy infrastructure, which will be an important cornerstone for future growth.
“Governments can effectively use revenues from economic growth to provide basic services aligned with renewable energy designed to be explicitly pro-poor and green through broad-based expenditure on low carbon resources in the rural areas,” the authors said.
For any economy, employment generation will help in alleviating poverty.
Investments with clean energy development should come with significant job creation. However, this has been weak in many Asean member states, Anbumozhi and Phoumin said.
“It is important that clean energy program is associated with significant job creation to provide opportunities for rural people to innovate and benefit from new entrepreneurial skills to move out of poverty,” they said.
To help spur renewable energy development, governments are also urged to implement an environmental tax reform.
Anbumozhi and Phoumin explained this involves a shift in the burden of taxation of “economic goods” such as income to “ecological bads” like pollution.
“A sustained effort by governments is now required to design appropriate mechanisms for shifting the burden of taxation from incomes onto resource consumption and emission reduction to augment clean energy development,” they said.
This, especially when there is international pressure to lessen carbon emissions.
Just last December, the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21) have formed an agreement to keep global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius between now and 2100 amid negative effects of climate change.
The countries pledged to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity to the levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally, beginning at some point between 2050 and 2100.
Source: Philippine Star | 07 February 2016