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Europe’s energy outlook: The race against the clock

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There is an increased interest in a binding global agreement, in particular coming from China, and more pressure from investors for governments to sign up to a deal in Paris in 2015, pointed out Paul Watkinson, Head of the French Climate Negotiation Team at Friends of Europe’s this year’s Energy Summit.

However, many panelists remained unconvinced and there was a disagreement over whether the new EU 2030 commitments were bold enough.

October’s Council conclusions are “the most nationalistic and anti-European I’ve seen since I’ve been in Brussels”, said Claude Turmes, member of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. He also pointed out that if Europe had a 40% energy efficiency target, as many people had argued for, we would be able to wean ourselves off Russian gas and massively reduce the continent’s energy insecurity.

The renewable energy target was also called into question as responsible for high energy prices currently in Europe. “We need to avoid becoming too technology-focused and let the market decide which technologies are the winning one. Stop the ‘renewable only’ mantra”, said Bryony Worthington, UK Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate.

Will the new Juncker team deliver on future EU energy policy and square the circle between climate, competitiveness and energy security?

The full report will be available soon.

Check the info-graphic ‘Global low carbon game

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Read the summary IPCC AR5 report on Climate Change here.

Read the IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report headline statements here.

Programme

08.30 – 09.00 Welcome coffee and registration of participants

The global low-carbon market is now worth €4tn, employs 6.5m people and is expanding rapidly at over 4% a year, as more and more countries and regions are working to reduce their CO2 emissions, to price or tax carbon, to increase the deployment of renewables and to enhance energy efficiency. Europe still accounts for 22% of the global low-carbon investment and holds the highest number of green technology patents, but countries like the U.S., China and South Korea are catching up in low-carbon innovation. Renewable energy has been booming worldwide, with over 100 countries having set renewable energy targets and introduced renewable support measures, and with 70% of new wind power capacity and 40% of new photovoltaic panels installed outside Europe in 2012. Europe also now lags behind Asian countries in some energy efficiency programmes and technologies for industry. Key questions for Europe are what needs to be done to stay with the leaders and ahead of the game in international climate negotiations, and what are the consequences of falling behind? What factors explain Europe’s recent slowdown in clean energy investment; can low-carbon innovation and investment be spurred only by market-based instruments if we are to scrap energy subsidies? How ambitious a 2030 climate and energy framework and R&D strategy are needed to attract the capital for low-carbon technologies to Europe and prevent Europe’s clean energy companies from relocating abroad? What policies could help the EU find an optimal balance between protecting traditional sectors and encouraging new industries? And how can companies take greater advantage of a low-carbon economy?

SPEAKERS

Matthew Arndt, Head of Environment and Climate at the European Investment Bank (EIB)

Chris Beddoes, Director General of FuelsEurope

Christopher Delbrück, CEO of E.ON Global Commodities SE

Karsten Neuhoff, Head of Climate Policy Department at the German Institute for Economics Research (DIW Berlin) and author of “Climate Policy after Copenhagen: The Role of Carbon Pricing”

Artur Runge-Metzger,  Director of International and Climate Strategy at the European Commission Directorate General for Climate Action

Paul Watkinson, Head of Climate Negotiation Team at the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and energy

Moderated by Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe and Chris Burns, Editor and Media Director for Friends of Europe

10.30 – 11.00  Coffee break

Energy efficiency promises cost savings, new jobs and reduced energy dependence, and is also widely seen as the most cost-effective way of reducing CO2 emissions while protecting both energy-intensive industries and household consumers from price rises. Yet despite these benefits, Europe’s energy saving potential is being underexploited and most of the energy efficiency investment and business growth is happening outside Europe. Many EU member states have still to transpose the Energy Efficiency Directive, and of its 2020 energy and climate targets, the non-binding 20% energy efficiency target is the only one the EU isn’t on track to meet. What best explains EU member states’ insufficient action or political will? How can we break the deadlocks on greater energy efficiency in buildings, transport and industry, and maximise energy efficient technologies and services? Do we need a new 2030 energy efficiency target to increase stability for investors, or could investment be driven solely by a robust carbon price? Where might the increased investment and innovation needed come from, and could momentum be spurred by energy efficiency obligation schemes to be in place in all EU countries this year? To what extent could innovative solutions and technologies, like smart meters and big data that allow both utilities and consumers to manage the energy use, revolutionise the energy efficiency market?

SPEAKERS

Marcello Capra,  Senior Expert of the Department of Energy at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development

Ingrid Holmes, Associate Director at Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G)

Auke Lont, Chief Executive Officer of Statnett

Claude Turmes MEP, Member of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

Moderated by Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe and Chris Burns, Editor and Media Director for Friends of Europe

12.00 – 12.30  Coffee break

Fears that the EU’s dependence on energy imports continues to be above half of its energy consumption have been pushed once again to the top of the political agenda by the Ukraine crisis, overshadowing the EU’s long-term climate strategy. It’s far from a new problem, but diverging national interests and energy strategies have long obstructed progress on energy security and the completion of the internal energy market. The deepest divisions refer to the alternative energy-mix choices. While some countries give priority to investments in domestic sources of renewable energy,  others seek their energy independence in burning more coal, in new nuclear power projects and in a dash for shale gas. There are however serious concerns that rehabilitating coal could jeopardise Europe’s CO2 emission reductions goals at a time when tackling climate change is more urgent than ever with new climate deal negotiations underway. Should Europe scale back its climate ambitions in the name of energy security or could low-carbon technology and energy efficiency be the drivers of energy independence and economic competitiveness? What are the prospects for increased natural gas imports from the U.S., European shale gas production, and carbon capture and storage (CCS)? What subsidies and support mechanisms might make sense in view of securing clean, affordable and reliable energy supplies? Where should the funding come from to upgrade Europe’s energy infrastructures, improve cross-border grid connections and boost energy storage? What lessons did we learn from past disruptions in the supply of Russian gas; is it possible that the Ukraine crisis might finally end national divisions and lay the foundations of an energy union? If so, what should it look like in order to solve Europe’s ‘energy trilemma’?

SPEAKERS

David Buchan, Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Fulco van Lede,  Member of the Management Board of SHV Energy and former CEO of SHV Energy China

Linda DuCharme, Vice President Europe, Russia and Caspian at ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing

Mechthild  Wörsdörfer, European Commission Director for Energy Policy

Bryony Worthington, UK Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate

Moderated by Giles Merritt, Secretary General of Friends of Europe and Chris Burns, Editor and Media Director for Friends of Europe

13.30  End of Summit

Speakers

  • Matthew Arndt

    Head of Environment and Climate at the European Investment Bank (EIB)

  • Chris Beddoes

    Director General of FuelsEurope

  • David Buchan

    Oxford Institute for Energy Studies specialist in European Union energy and climate policy

  • Marcello Capra

    Senior Expert of the Department of Energy at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development

  • Jos Delbeke

    European Commission Director General for Climate Action
    Jos Delbeke became the first Director-General of the European Commission's newly set-up Directorate-General for Climate Action in 2010, after having served as Deputy Director-General of DG Environment. He has participated in several negotiation processes on climate change and energy at the interinstitutional and the international level and has been a key player in developing Europe's international climate change strategy.

  • Linda Du Charme

    Vice President Europe, Russia and Caspian at ExxonMobil Gas & Power Marketing

  • Ingrid Holmes

    Director at Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G)

  • Auke Lont

    Chief Executive Officer of Statnett,

  • Karsten Neuhoff

    Head of Climate Policy Department at the German Institute for Economics Research (DIW Berlin)

  • Artur Runge-Metzger

    Director of International and Climate Strategy at the European Commission Directorate General for Climate Action

  • Claude Turmes

    Vice Chairman and Coordinator on energy issues of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

  • Fulco van Lede

    Member of the Management Board of SHV Energy and former CEO of SHV Energy China

  • Paul Watkinson

    Head of Climate Negotiation Team at the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy

  • Mechthild Worsdorfer

    European Commission Director for Energy Policy
    In her current position, Mechthild Wörsdörfer’s main responsibilities include the development of the general energy strategy and monitoring of energy policy, international relations and economic analysis. Prior to joining the Directorate General for Energy in 2010, she pursued a long career in the DG Enterprise and Industry in charge of SMEs competitiveness.

  • Bryony Worthington

    Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change in the House of Lords

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