(EnergyAsia, March 7 2013, Thursday) — Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka could collectively slash greenhouse gas emissions by a fifth by 2020 at little long-term cost by introducing a variety of clean technologies, according to a new study from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The South Asian countries are projected to produce 245 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent of emissions in 2030, up from 58 million tons in 2005, according to the bank.

Their primary energy, according to the study, The Economics of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in South Asia, is projected to rise by 2.4 times to almost 3,600 petajoules over the same period. India, South Asia’s largest energy consumer and greenhouse gas producer, which was not covered by the study, is projected to increase its energy consumption by five times to about 63,000 petajoules in 2030.

The bank said South Asian consumers could displace fossil fuels consumption by deploying a variety of clean, low-cost technology that use solid waste or gas, improve fuel efficiency, or use solar cookstoves, electric or more efficient diesel vehicles and biodiesel fishing vessels.

“The introduction of these large and small-scale green technologies costing up to US$10 per ton of greenhouse house gas emissions could cut 27.9 million tons – or 20% – off of 2020’s projected energy-related annual emissions of 125.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent,” said the ADB.

To achieve these goals, the bank said the countries must overcome a number of challenges including making sure information, financing and incentives are available to encourage users to shift to cleaner technologies.

Direct and indirect fuel subsidies should be phased out or made more targeted, the study said. Government ministries and countries must work more closely together to better plan and develop cross-border energy markets and promote green development.

“The livelihoods of more than 200 million people in these five countries are threatened by the rapid loss of snow cover in the Himalayas and rising sea levels,” said Mahfuz Ahmed, Principal Climate Change Specialist with ADB’s South Asia Department.

“It is possible to slash greenhouse gas emissions through big and small changes that would have little or no long-term cost to the end users.