To help push for action at COP 19, the World Energy Council (WEC) recently published a report pushing for what many others — including some prominent Republicans (not the ones in office, unfortunately) — have been pushing for: strong and predictable carbon pricing. The report is based off of research conducted with the heads of electric utilities.
“Electricity utilities see having a credible price level for CO2 and long-term, predictable policies as the crucial factors for driving change in their fuel and technology mix, according to the latest insights from the Global Electricity Initiative (GEI), presented today,” the WEC wrote on November 18.
“Despite important efforts to increase investments in renewables, the GEI utilities expect fossil fuels to continue to be the basis of generation capacity from 2015 to 2035. In addition, the price of CO2 must be predictable enough to bring a significant shift in utility investment and portfolio decisions towards low-carbon resources.”
“Currently there are too many uncertainties around carbon schemes and carbon prices. All too often the real cost of electricity generation and distribution is hidden behind subsides, unrealistic carbon prices, or other market-distorting schemes,” said Philippe Joubert, Executive Chair of the Global Electricity Initiative.
The report also noted the importance of preparing for catastrophic climate change, which we are already beginning to see (in its infancy). “Nature is already sending us clear signals. Climate change has triggered severe weather events, so mitigation is not enough. Our energy systems must be developed and adapted so that they will become more resilient,” Joubert added.
Just a few days before this release, the WEC also commented on the International Energy Agency’s recent World Energy Outlook report, which made similar recommendations and said that we need to be getting 48% of our electricity from renewable energy source by 2035 in order to adequately combat climate change. Here’s part of the WEC’s response, delivered by Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council:
Coming hard on the heels of the World Energy Congress where we published our explorative scenarios and our energy resource assessment, the launch of the World Energy Outlook adds to the weight of knowledge which highlights that the global energy system is now at a tipping point. Our Jazz and Symphony scenarios see that fossil fuels will remain dominant up to 2050, with between 77% and 59% of the primary energy mix being supplied by coal, oil and gas. This finding is supported by the IEA’s central scenario clearly shows that we need to see a shift in the way we address the triple challenges of the energy trilemma – environment, energy security and energy equity.
We must get real in the way we respond to the findings in the World Energy Outlook.
The leading energy agencies of the world realize it. Climate scientists certainly realize it. Millions of people realize it. But we need politicians to stand up to rich, harmful industries and actually work to set strong, predictable, adequate prices on the emission of global warming pollution.
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