Inside Asia Podcast

Assaad Razzouk: Clean Energy in Asia

September 21, 2018

My guest this episode is clean energy entrepreneur, investor and commentator, Assaad Razzouk. He is Group Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a global clean energy investment firm headquartered in Singapore.

Razzouk points out that the need for clean energy throughout Asia is not an abstract notion. There’s an urgency to the situation and everyone knows it. We don’t have to imagine it any more. It’s here. Pay a trip to China’s Hebei Province and witness an environmental calamity in the making. Shaking people out of their comfort zones and getting them to own a long-term solution is never easy.

What China does – or doesn’t do – in other words has major repercussions for the rest of the region. Carbon has made a precipitous climb over 25 years, earning China the dubious title of world’s biggest polluter. Annually it emits 10.4 billion metric tons of the stuff, or about 30% of the world total. If that’s the price one pays to become the world’s largest manufacturing base, the Grim Reaper is on the move and looking for payback. More than six million Chinese die annually from pollution-related diseases and analysts predict that as the population ages, these numbers are bound to grow.

Still there’s hope. China knows it has a problem and isn’t resting on its laurels when it comes to tackling pollution. Already it leads the world in solar and wind power and plans are in place to do more. There are also signs that carbon levels are peaking. Now it's game-on to reduce those levels on pace with California’s progress in recent years. To that end, California Governor Jerry Brown is looking to partner with China. Last year he signed a wave of cleantech cooperation agreements and today scores of technical and design exchanges are under way. But is it too little too late?