Although 2018 is a decisive year for climate action and cooperation, signs of division hamper the global process. The writing of the Paris Rulebook and the release of the special report of the IPCC will determine the pathways to take and the investment to make. The energy landscape is being transformed, and disruptive technologies articulated by digitalisation allow improved efficiency and sustainability. It is time for Europe to outline a new industrial policy for decarbonisation, with long-term ambition and targets sufficiently bold to lead the transition.
This year’s edition of our flagship summit on Climate and Energy provides the perfect opportunity to re-examine the importance of strengthened climate diplomacy and sustainable finance in a time of division, the transformation of the energy systems through digitalisation, and the required EU industrial policy to shift to a net zero emission economy by 2050.
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Welcome coffee and registration of participants
Climate diplomacy in a time of division
Despite strong momentum to write the ‘Paris Rulebook’ by December 2018, the ‘Facilitative Dialogue’ is showing signs of weakness. This comes at a time when the IPCC with its Special Report has demonstrated that actions prior to 2020 are vital in our fight against climate change and its consequences – the damage of failing to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is estimated at $20 trillion alone. While the Paris Agreement was ratified three years ago, differences between the continents exist, influencing the ability of individual countries to increase their ambitions on climate and energy. Whether at European level or between developed and developing countries, expectations are different and thus difficult to fulfil. Climate finance to developing countries is not yet on the table, and decarbonisation pathways between Western and Eastern Europe weaken international cooperation. COP24 in Katowice, Poland, will therefore be a timely and decisive opportunity to establish a shared global vision on climate, and an opportunity for the EU to demonstrate its unity and leadership.
- How can we ensure countries turn objectives into ambitious policies and long-term decarbonisation plans?
- Can new alliances strengthen the international community by helping national leaders meet common and individual climate targets?
- How can we improve the structure of international discussions to engage the private sector in the global fight against climate change?
A new energy landscape under transformation
Clean technologies are being developed and the associated costs are plunging. This domino effect is critically transforming the world we live in and is providing an answer to many societal challenges. In recent years, considerable progress and discoveries in developing disruptive technologies have been made to foster and accelerate the energy transition. Big data, blockchain technology and artificial intelligence are just some examples of digital innovations helping to reduce the amount of energy use, designed to be efficient and cost-effective while providing a wide range of services from security of supply to advanced models of energy transmission and storage. The digitalisation of energy infrastructures and systems is creating a breakthrough moment for achieving sustainability objectives. The deployment and adoption rate of these technologies will have a significant effect on the way the private sector can do their part – with the right incentives from policymakers – and adapt to contemporary challenges. This transformation will define both the energy landscape of tomorrow and the budget allocated to research and innovation, the guiding principle of strong and linear decarbonisation pathways.
- What policies are more effective in supporting the switch towards cleaner energy technologies? Is the policy environment in step with technological development?
- What will be the future for high-priority dispatch for renewables – and how can we ensure a level playing field for all energy sources while continuing to reduce emissions?
- How do we remove the roadblocks for scaling to market? How will technological advancements transform the energy landscape of tomorrow?
Developing an industrial policy for EU’s sector decarbonisation
The EU is looking for cost-efficient ways to make its economy more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming. To achieve this, the bloc has defined climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030. Nevertheless, to give guidance and certainty to the private sector and investors, it also has to define a 2050 long-term strategy for decarbonisation and thus review its 2011 roadmap. Failing to acknowledge the underlying consequences of not decarbonising Europe’s industries and coal regions could come at a very high price. By the end of 2018, Europe is expected to propose a concrete roadmap, thus giving impetus to European countries through legislation. Shifting all investments towards clean, resource efficient and a net carbon economy has become a necessity and sustainable finance a way to achieve it. The prospect of industrial decarbonisation will be patchy as it is the responsibility of each European country as well as private sector companies involved to present not only their own strategies to decarbonise their economies, but also the future prospects of their core industries.
- How can disruptive national leadership and a clear political vision reinforce European long term strategy for industrial decarbonisation?
- What will the next phase of the decarbonisation roadmap look like – and can a Europe wide coherent climate policy be implemented?
- What should we expect from the EU long-term strategy and how can we make sure it takes into account the various industry sectors?
Dharmendra Kanani, Director for Strategy at Friends of Europe
Raphael Danglade, Programme Executive – Climate and Energy
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 10
This event is exclusively for Friends of Europe’s members, EU institution representatives, and media.