APEC officials and energy experts are meeting here this week to enhance development of low-carbon towns in the Asia-Pacific region, a key APEC initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing sustainable economic growth.

APEC is holding the June 21-23 forum in Tianjin to share knowledge and experience on planning policies and measures for low-carbon towns, including by showcasing a model town currently under development on the outskirts of the city in north-eastern China.

The town is part of a multi-year APEC project to assist central and local government officials in identifying effective low-carbon policies for their economies. The town is to include measures such as using solar and wind energy to light buildings and public streets, treatment and reuse of waste water, increasing urban greenery, recycling and increased public transport.

Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Lead Shepherd of the APEC Energy Working Group, said the project, once fully developed, will start “providing important data and best practices on how APEC’s urban areas are meeting the global low carbon challenge.”

“The project offers an important holistic view of how various renewable energy, energy efficiency and urban planning policies and tools can be used together to move APEC towards a low-carbon sustainable future,” said Dr Yoshida, a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy.

The forum will gather energy, environmental and climate change experts from academia, the private sector, the World Bank Group and the Asian Development Bank for discussions on current initiatives, issues and forward-looking strategies. Government policy makers from throughout the APEC region are also expected to brief on low-carbon developments in their economies.

Green growth is one of APEC’s priorities this year. The forum is part of APEC’s wider efforts to strengthen energy security and sustainable growth in the region, including through promoting renewable energy supplies and energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and reducing barriers to trade in environmental goods and services.

APEC member economies together account for 60 percent of global energy demand. Energy consumption has increased dramatically in recent years in the region, as a result of increased economic development and urbanization, making reduction of greenhouse gases, which scientists say cause climate change, an important challenge.

Consumption was about 6.8 billion toe (tonnes of oil equivalent) in 2008, according to APEC energy statistics1, a 26.2 percent increase compared to consumption levels in 2000. Consumption in China more than doubled from 2000 to 2008, while Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Chinese Taipei also recorded significant increases.

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For more information, contact: Augustine Kwan + 65 9831 0717 at ak@apec.org or Michael Chapnick on +65 6891 9670 at mc@apec.org.

Details about APEC meetings, events, projects and publications can be found at www.apec.org or www.apec2011.gov. You can also follow APEC on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

1 The APEC Energy Data Expert Group produces annual energy statistics through the energy data base, managed by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan.