A report published by the World Energy Council states that “the energy sector is facing increasing pressure from climate change”, adding that “all segments of the industry will be affected by the changing global climate and the policy responses to it.”
This is not new news to many, but the World Energy Council report — Climate Change: Implications for the Energy Sector — represents key findings from the Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, arguably one of the most important international bodies working on Earth’s current climate issues.
“Climate change is certain to impact the energy sector,” said Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council.
We need robust and transparent policy frameworks to unlock the required long-term investments that are urgently needed to deliver the future we want. Leadership will be required at all levels. As we look to create resilient energy systems that meet the triple challenge of the energy trilemma the time has come to get real about the challenges facing the energy sector. There is no climate framework without national energy policy.
Several key points are drawn from the report;
- Energy demand is increasing globally, causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. The trend is set to continue, driven primarily by economic growth and rising population.
- Climate change presents increasing challenges for energy production and transmission as a result of temperature increase, extreme weather events, and changing precipitation patterns.
- Significant cuts in GHG emissions from energy can be achieved through a variety of measures, including cutting emissions from fossil fuel extraction and conversion, switching to lower-carbon fuels, improving energy efficiency, increasing use of renewables and nuclear, introduction of carbon capture and storage (CCS), and reducing final energy demand.
- Strong global political action on climate change would have major implications for the energy sector.
- Incentivising investment in low-carbon technologies will be a key challenge for governments and regulators to achieve carbon reduction targets.
As the Chairman of the IPCC says, “the energy sector has a critical role to play in the mitigation of greenhouse gases and in helping the world to adapt to the inevitable impact brought by climate change.”
Subsequently, the report aims to help business “understand the scale and urgency of the issues involved for the energy sector,” says Philippe Joubert, Advisory Board member for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Joubert adds that the report “should be seen as a call to action for the leaders of a sector which is responsible for over a third of CO2 emissions.”
The report can be downloaded here (PDF)
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