Friends of Europe’s Energy and Climate Summit took place following an extraordinary month in climate politics that saw the Paris Agreement ratified, an agreement to cut emissions from aviation, and a global deal to phase out HFCs, one of the most harmful greenhouse gases.
But despite these successes, this is no time for complacency, said Norbert Kurilla, State Secretary at the Slovak Ministry of the Environment. “We have achieved a lot but now is the time for real effort to deliver concrete results towards a path of lower than 2°C temperature rise”, he said.
There are two key challenges in this rapid pace of change, said Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman of the Board of Directors of energy company ENGIE. One is that EU policies such as the Emissions Trading Scheme are not aligned with the Paris targets, and the other is to ensure that decarbonisation can be delivered without cutting economic growth.
The Paris Agreement is in fact a historic opportunity to combine growth with decarbonisation, Mestrallet said, while Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Chief Executive Officer at chemicals company Solvay, pointed out that “carbon reduction is now the name of the game” throughout the supply chain.
Other speakers pointed out that disruptive technologies and decarbonisation can contribute to Europe’s energy security, and that the big challenge is to transfer decarbonisation efforts from the electricity sector to industry and transport. Energy efficiency was highlighted as the key to decarbonisation, energy security, innovation and economic growth.
The Energy and Climate Summit also saw debate on the role of individual consumers in tackling these issues through new technology, and the contribution that can be made by cities and regions.
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