Followup to Question on Climate Action
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- Nov 8, 2019 1:00 am GMT
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Just before the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York, we asked the Energy Central Community: “How can we align the leadership of the global energy industry to accelerate the end to climate disruption?”
And we were excited by the outpouring of response – no less than 18 contributors from different companies in the energy market took the time to submit their ideas and comments in response to the initial question and to add comments to other’s responses, driving a multi-participant discussion of how the energy industry should optimally respond to the climate challenge and execute the changes to energy systems that must be carried out to meet SDG7 - ensuring sustainable energy for all by 2030.
Whether the term “climate change” is addressed out loud or not, all the contributors acknowledge that systemic changes are underway that are making deep changes in the energy sector and they should be accelerated and expanded if the world is serious about reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
The discussion emphasized that the increased production and reduced price per kWH of utility-scale wind and solar is driving the displacement of energy from fossil fuels. It was suggested that the combination of energy efficiency, wind and solar already on the market can provide 100% of the renewable electricity needed to displace all fossil fuels while also lowering the cost of electricity and paying for requisite power backup and storage.
A recommendation was made to build 60,000 MW's of wind and 36,000 MW's of solar every year so that in 20 years we will have about 160% of today's electricity, providing power to replace most of the aging nuclear plants, gasoline and diesel vehicles and ostensibly reduce emissions to sustainable levels. By way of incentives that lower the cost of energy efficiency solutions, wind and solar, policy makers can encourage broad and consistent support for a successful climate response.
Contributors noted that the move to a distributed energy model and large-scale introduction of clean energy storage devices such as parked EVs, fuel cells and battery banks are key factors enabling the energy market to support significantly more renewables. In parallel, decarbonization efforts via carbon capture and storage seek to repurpose existing energy infrastructure to enable a transition from existing carbon-intensive energy operations to cleaner future energy systems.
The Climate Action Summit placed on the global agenda a series of initiatives by governments, public and private entities aiming to accelerate the transition from a grey to green economy in an effort to meet the ambitious 2020 climate deadline for peak carbon emissions. New energy-related announcements on shipping, energy efficiency, clean energy investment and cooling aim to accelerate the progress on climate action. The initiatives include financing and building sustainable cities, establishing a coalition from the private sector to facilitate capital investment in resilient infrastructures in high-risk countries and founding a risk-informed early action partnership to prevent disasters. A joint public-private Leadership Group for Industry Transition will champion the transition of hard-to-decarbonize and energy-intensive industry sectors. Energy providers are partners in creating the Getting to Zero Coalition to decarbonize the maritime shipping industry.
CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All Rachel Kyte stated at the September Climate Action Summit, “The energy transition is critical to (resolving the climate emergency – ed.). Decarbonizing energy systems is underway, it won’t be easy, but it’s possible and it will open up better jobs, better transport, cleaner cities and a more inclusive world.”
Achieving these tough challenges will demand proactive efforts from all stakeholders, and the role of the energy sector is central to its success – to this end we applaud the energy professionals that promote innovative and creative solutions and work to bravely push forward the deep-seated changes that are necessary to drive real-world climate action.