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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Set of steps could cut carbon in half: report

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A worker guides a solar panel into place at a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in 2014. Vireak Mai

Set of steps could cut carbon in half: report

Cambodia could reduce its projected carbon emissions by 57 percent over the next 30 years without taking a financial hit if it implements low-carbon development policies in five key sectors, according to a new report in the journal Energy Policy.

By fostering public transport and decreasing energy transmission loss in the electricity sector, while increasing the market share of solar power and promoting energy-efficient lighting and household appliances, Cambodia could reduce emissions without economic setbacks, the study concluded.

“Energy demand in the residential and commercial sectors is expected to increase because of the population growth, increased incomes, the improvement of energy access, and the diffusion of electric appliances to advance living standards,” the study found.

But with appropriate measures – many of them behavioural, such as switching off appliances when not in use – projected “energy consumption is expected to decrease by about 20.0% through 2035”.

Tin Ponlok, of the National Council for Sustainable Development, said the Ministry of Environment is keen to implement energy-saving measures, but needs external support, including “funding from the Green Climate Fund, and the low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency, like LED lighting”.

Still, many of the reductions in energy use would require shifts in consumer behaviour – for example, giving up motorbikes in favour of public transit – which would require significant education and outreach, Ponlok conceded.

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