Bush To Request $52 Million for Asia-Pacific Energy Partnership

By Andrzej Zwaniecki
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - President Bush will request $52 million in his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins October 1 to support an initiative that aims to promote clean energy technologies in the Asia-Pacific region and international cooperation in other energy areas, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says.

Bodman said the funding request is designed to complement the $3 billion the United States spends each year on clean energy projects.

The Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (APP) is committed to meeting energy needs and protecting the environment by "combining the ingenuity of the private sector, the efficiency of markets and the strength of the public sector," Bodman said.

He addressed the January 12 inaugural meeting of the APP in Sidney, Australia. The partnership brings together government and business representatives from Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Bodman cited evidence that economic development does not need to be incompatible with "responsible" care for the environment and said that improved environmental protection is one of the best indicators of growing prosperity.

Therefore, he said, one of the best ways of helping developing and emerging economies is to assist them in investing in cleaner, more efficient energy technologies.

"In order to achieve meaningful results, we must engage growing and emerging economies from the outset and encourage the implementation of technologies that have demonstrated success," Bodman said in a related Energy Department news release.

He said that the partnership is a cooperative effort that aspires to combine the best strategies of governments with the technical know-how of the private sector.

But the success of the APP will be measured largely by the success of the investment and collaboration of private sector partners, he said.

The release said that partner countries have established public/private task groups that focus on cleaner fossil energy, renewables, power generation and transmission, aluminum, steel, cement, buildings and appliances, and mining.

One of partnership's members, China, is projected to almost double to 15 percent by 2025 its share of world energy consumption and, consequently, increase significantly its greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United States' Energy Information Administration (EIA).

That is why the United States has particular interest in encouraging China and other large emerging markets to liberalize their energy markets, improve energy efficiency, move toward cleaner technologies and develop alternative sources of energy, U.S. officials have said. (See related article.)

The texts of Bodman's remarks and the Department of Energy news release can be viewed on the department's Web site.