New Energy Transitions Commission launches to address energy shortfalls and mitigate climate change
Monday, 28 September, marks the official launch of the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC), a new initiative to develop actionable insights to help energy decision-makers in their efforts to meet the twin objectives of economic development and climate change mitigation. The Commission is comprised of eminent leaders from across the energy field. The composition of the Commission is global and diverse, as befits the demands of this global challenge: former and current national leaders, CEOs of major companies and distinguished thinkers on energy issues.
A positioning paper published by the ETC explores the need for the global energy system to change over the next decades and how that evolution is made up of many distinct, but inter-connected energy transitions. Together, these have the potential to increase energy availability to meet the needs of over 9 billion people by 2050, to improve quality of life and to lift the poorest of these people out of poverty - all in a way that limits climate change to the 2 degrees Celsius threshold agreed by the international community.
Lord Nicholas Stern, said:
Over the next 20 years the world will continue a very rapid and deep structural transformation with intense urbanization and strong increasing demand for energy at its core, particularly in emerging markets and developing countries. Simultaneously the cities of rich countries and their energy systems are in urgent need of renewal and advancement. How we manage this transition is therefore of fundamental importance. It has not been subject to the depth of analytical scrutiny that is necessary, thus this Commission is of great significance.
The ETC seeks to provide an independent ‘systems approach’ to the challenges faced by those who are tasked with making this happen. The objective of the ETC is to help energy policy and investment decision-making meet the twin objectives of economic development and climate change mitigation. The decisions made in the next fifteen years will have lasting effects for decades to come.
Dr. Ajay Mathur, the incoming Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) based in New Delhi, said:
Success for the ETC has at least three dimensions. The first dimension is a broad agreement - not a consensus - among the various members of the initiative about the key pathways that are important. The second one is our ability to provide the analytical support to convince various stakeholders – technology providers, bankers, policymakers - that these pathways are worth investigating. The third is the creation of the corpus of knowledge around which future discussions happen.
The Commission’s work on energy transitions will encompass several different activities:
The founding members of the Commission can be found here. We expect this list to grow in the coming weeks and will provide updates. All members serve in a personal capacity.
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Future ETC Insights on Energy:
Solar Energy: The costs of solar energy modules have declined 80 percent since 2008, and global capacity has increased 100-fold since 2000. However, despite the fantastic progress, solar only recently passed the global threshold of 1% of electricity demand. Even in an optimistic scenario, solar may not scale sufficiently to substantially mitigate climate change. We explore what needs to be done to change this trajectory to achieve higher penetration rates, what potential game changers may be and what role governments can and will have in scaling solar power.
Air Pollution: Seven million people die from air pollution-related causes every year, equivalent to the entire population of Hong Kong. Only 12% of the people living in cities reporting on air quality are living in areas complying with WHO air quality guideline levels. Cities are working to address the air pollution challenge, but often lack transparency on the true sources of pollution and options available to address it. Data reliability and transparency are key to help cities transition their energy systems towards those that create better growth, climate and health.