“Priority actions on climate change and how to balance the trilemma”
The 2015 World Energy Trilemma report is published in a year that is likely to be remembered as one of the most important for the global energy sector in recent history. Decisions made – or not made – will leave an indelible mark on the sector, which could have an impact on the world for generations to come.
The Clean Energy Ministerial members will come together for the sixth time in Mérida, Mexico. Ministers will identify the critical next steps needed to accelerate the transition to a global clean energy economy, a process that the World Energy Council believes is absolutely essential to ensure that the three pillars of the energy trilemma – energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability – are met across the globe.
The United Nations (UN) is set to agree on a package of Sustainable Development Goals which should, for the first time, formally place energy at the heart of the development agenda.
The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) will meet in Paris, France, to finalise an agreement on tackling climate change and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to come in to force in 2020.
Taken together, there is a strong focus on the critical role of energy in delivering economic and social development, while respecting the need to ensure that energy is environmentally sustainable.
However, it is clear that when, as Chair of the World Energy Council, I meet with global energy leaders, ministers and policymakers, the message they give me time and time again is that the continued lack of an agreement on an international climate framework is creating an unacceptable level of uncertainty for the energy sector. No one, neither policymakers nor business leaders, believe that we can go forward with business as usual. Everyone realises that there is a need to move towards an entirely new, balanced, low-carbon energy system. But in order to achieve this energy transformation, the energy sector needs a clear roadmap – one that can only be achieved by coming to a consensus and setting an internationally accepted target.
As previous World Energy Trilemma reports have highlighted, there is often a gap between these important negotiations and what is happening on the ground. This is why I commend the work of the team behind this report, under the leadership of Joan MacNaughton, for identifying the factors that will enable these global initiatives to succeed. The World Energy Council is uniquely placed to facilitate a dialogue among our members in nearly 100 countries, representing the broad energy community, and to identify some clear, unbiased recommendations that we hope will help to guide meaningful outcomes.
The reality is, of course, that there will be enormous costs, both in the form of necessary new investments and in stranded assets. But these costs will only increase with a continuing lack of clarity. I firmly believe that, after years of talks with limited progress, the time has come to finally get something done. This year’s World Energy Trilemma report provides a valuable input for policymakers and climate change negotiators to achieve the creation of a new roadmap towards a sustainable energy future.