Theme of the Year
Towards Net Zero Emissions

After a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) was commenced from 31 October to 12 November 2021. Leaders from almost 200 countries worldwide came together in Glasgow, United Kingdom, to help advance concrete actions to addressing the climate crisis.

For the first time ever in history

Over 190 countries around the world agreed to phase out/down for coal power as the largest contributor of emissions. This also marks an important shift in acknowledging the need to move away from fossil fuels, which were also ‘targeted’ for the first time at COP26 as having no place in the energy transition. The year 2021 witnessed a wave of commitments from both the finance community and power generation players to halt involvement in new coal-fired power plant projects. Across the globe, the energy sector is revealing a transformation with “Sustainability” emerging as a major theme. All these factors have necessitated a growing focus on renewable energy technology. The pandemic has further magnified the subject of health, sustainability, and climate change. This led to greater demand for green energy solutions such as solar and other alternatives. At the same time, the cost of generation of solar power and other renewable alternatives are expected to fall as new technologies significantly boost renewable energy efficiency levels. With green technology leading the way in the new power generation sector, renewable energies are gaining remarkable traction from the soaring demand of countries that pledged and committed to reduce their carbon footprint. Within ASEAN countries, energy stakeholders are steadily transitioning and diversifying their energy portfolio into more renewable energy alternatives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the matter of moving away from the conventional Oil & Gas, which evidently differs based on geographical and other factors. In the Philippines, the government are focusing on their transition towards Solar Energy, whereas Vietnam would invest more into their offshore wind power capacity. The increasing proportion of clean energy such as solar and wind power in recent years has helped Vietnam diversify energy sources and reduce its dependence on imported energy, thus enhancing its national energy security. Countries can achieve their goal of increasing the share of clean energy sources through collaborations between power companies and industries to convince them that renewable energy is the best source to build in, and in a bid to accelerate renewable energy transmission. In Indonesia, Gojek is entering the electric vehicle (EV) industry through a joint venture with TBS Energi Utama to use electric vehicles for all of their business lines.

The shift of reliance to renewable energy alternatives

In Malaysia, the Energy Commission recognized that with the combined growth of renewable and natural gas, the impact could lead to a reduction of carbon emissions in the power sector by 60% by 2035. In the attempt to reach the goal, Tenaga Nasional plans to eliminate all coal-fired power plants from their portfolio by 2050. Industries like ExxonMobil and Petronas are working together to explore opportunities for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Malaysia. Policymakers and industry players are urged by the Malaysian Government to collaborate and explore mutually beneficial solutions to address the challenges in its transition of carbon-neutral Malaysia by 2050. Although the shift of reliance to more renewable energy alternatives is welcomed, the development of renewable energy sources should be stepped up with a feasible roadmap, to carry out the energy transition towards green energy while ensuring national energy security in this process. A comprehensive plan of action is required to pave the way forward, to build a truly global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050, and maintaining the delicate balance between reducing emissions, energy affordability and security requires comprehensive and sustainable policies. In the direction of net-zero emissions by 2050, COPE-BEST 2022 with the theme of Towards Net Zero Emissions serves as a platform to foster linkage between energy stakeholders which include policymakers and industry players from ASEAN countries to discuss on the efforts and challenges towards the global goals for sustainable development. Besides showcasing the energy sustainability technology, innovation and best practices, the convention aims to look into the consistency of sustainability-related regulatory policies, financial assistance and energy security of the participating countries. The convention is anticipated to spark discussion on global sustainability and create synergy towards low carbon society.