July 19, 2016

World Energy Council debates COP21 and its consequences for the energy sector

Catavento participates in a debate about the energy sector role in light of the Paris climate commitments

During the World Energy Council regional conference, that took place in Rio de Janeiro, in July of 2016, Clarissa Lins debated the relevance and role of the energy sector in the achievement of greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

On the panel, moderated by Cristoph Frei, WEC´s general secretary, the COPPE/UFRJ´s professor Roberto Schaeffer, also member of the global scientist panel responsible for providing scientific data for the international community – IPCC, started with an optimistic tone about the efforts undertaken by all countries to achieve a common global agreement on COP21. However, the declared intentions (INDCs), do not achieve the intended results of maximum temperature rise of 2°C, staying probably closer to 2,7°C. It is clear, then, that there is an additional challenge for each country, which needs to be more ambitious with their climate goals.

In this context, the energy sector acquires twice more importance, once it is responsible for about two thirds of the global emissions. Enel president in Brazil, Carlo Zorzoli, pointed that the electric sector thinks this a very opportune to stimulate new technologies and/or business models, giving emphasis, for example, to smart grids and smart cities as market solutions that could contribute for a more efficient and cleaner electric system.

Clarissa Lins, on the other hand, highlighted the growing importance of climate policies to the energy sector. Although it is not yet dictating the short term decisions, it has a growing role on companies long term planning. In this context, it is fundamental to bring close the gap between decision makers in this debate, both the public politics developers and private sector executives. Clarissa emphasized the relevance of economics signals in this transitional period for a less carbon intensive economy, with emphasis on pricing mechanisms.

As a representative member of the civil Chilean society, Rodrigo Andrade, director of Dialogo Minero Energético y Extractivo Latinoamericano, warned about the increasingly frequent extreme climate events in his country. He considered the debate extremely opportune to amplify the level of conscience about the need for stimulating alternative energy sources, in a secure and accessible way for all.

Finally, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Ecuador, Esteban Albornoz Vintimilla, highlighted the role of the public sector in the introduction of the right incentives for the energy sector. Ecuador stimulates a bigger share of renewable energies in its energy matrix, obtaining satisfactory and inspiring results for other countries in the region.