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- Sunita Narain
The next 20 years will be critical to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to the growing world population. United Nations’ estimates suggest that per capita energy consumption at approximately 100 Gigajoules is associated with substantial human development. Today, 80% of the world’s population live in countries with energy consumption below this level. Reducing that number to one-third of the population by 2040 would require around 65% more energy. The United States, Europe, and China have been the major emitters while developing Asia and Africa per capita energy use and GHG emissions are very low. In order to meet their citizens’ economic aspirations, these countries require a bigger share of the remaining carbon budget. While the phrase “just transition” is currently in vogue, what does it mean to you? Multilateral development banks have stopped or will soon stop lending for hydrocarbon projects; will this approach reduce emissions? There was renewed commitment at Glasgow to provide $100 billion climate finance annually. Many have called this a floor, not a ceiling. What is needed to fast track climate finance? While coal is the single largest source of emissions and a major fuel in many developing countries, how can we accelerate phasing out coal? Globally, renewables are now cost competitive, however, borrowing costs for clean energy projects are significantly higher in emerging economies than OECD. How could this risk premium be reduced to attract investment in developing countries? How should the global energy industry meet this dual challenge?
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In its report “Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector,” IEA stated that getting to net-zero by 2050 will require “nothing short of a total transformation of the energy system that underpins our economies.” The report also observed that “the pathway is narrow but achievable.” At the same time, global GHG concentrations continue to increase and annual emissions are rising again after the pandemic-induced drop in 2020. Achieving net -zero by OECD countries and by major companies is necessary but not sufficient. Any roadmap to net-zero must travel via developing economies. Much of the progress to date has been in decarbonizing power sector, but only about one quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions are from electricity. In this conversation, the panelists will explore economic, technological, financial, and policy actions necessary within this decade to start bending the emission curve with emission reductions across all sectors globally.
The race is on for innovative, fresh approaches to solve the world’s greatest energy and climate challenges. The emerging generation of future energy leaders, technologists, and entrepreneurs have unprecedented opportunity for impact and to create real change. The energy world is hungry and open to disruptive ideas. There never has been a more exciting—or urgent—time to be part of the energy industry. Join this special interactive “Next Gen” dynamic session, featuring rapid-fire insights by leading minds on energy innovation, along with CERAWeek Future Energy Leaders. How can we achieve net zero ambitions by 2050? How can we tackle climate change while meeting the planet’s need for more energy? What are the promising and scalable technologies? What are the challenges and most exciting opportunities?