Urgent action is essential to curb damaging climate change, top senior stakeholders from Europe and around the world told the Friends of Europe ‘Climate and Energy Summit’ on 18 October in Brussels.
Discussed were the impacts of climate change, exacerbating the intensity and frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes, heavy monsoons and floods. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C’, released two weeks ago, noted “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” are needed for the world to meet the 1.5°C goal.
Daniela Jacob, Director of the Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS) and coordinating lead author of the latest IPCC report, warned: “If the world keeps global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, global carbon emissions must decline by about 45% between 2010 and 2030 and hit ‘net zero’ by 2050.”
Timing is critical – and Hans Van Steen, European Commission Acting Director for Renewables, Research and Innovation, Energy Efficiency, told the audience the Commission was on track to propose its decarbonisation strategy for 2050.
“2050 is good, but the next two to five years really matter in terms of how we get to 2050 and beyond,” said Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe.
Digitilisation will be a major enabler in this energy transition, Bernard Sahla, Chief Technical Officer and Senior Executive Vice-President of the EDF (Electricité de France) Group continued, emphasising: “Conventional generation has to move.”
As COP24 in Katowice, Poland, approaches, one key outcome from the conference was to aim towards strong implementation of the Paris Agreement and to ensure Europe is aligned with the latest IPCC report and so be ready for bold and ambitious action.
Taking ambitious climate action could yield a direct economic gain of $US26 trillion compared to a business-as-usual scenario, and generate over 65 million new low-carbon jobs through to 2030, Helen Mountford, Director of Economics at the World Resources Institute, noted. “And we would have 700,000 fewer premature deaths.”
“There is so much positive energy,” concluded UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Ovais Sarmad. “What the EU strategy needs to do now is visualise this and take forward policy in a sustainable way.”
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