White Paper – Aspen Energy & Sustainability Program 2021
The document is based on the conclusions of the Program workshops and public events and summarizes the main policy recommendations of the 2021 edition of the Program.
8 Februarie 2022•Written by Aspen Institute
Energy is a focal subject and the European Union’s Green Deal is the EU’s main new growth strategy to transition the Union’s economy to a sustainable economic model. It is a truly ambitious master plan, looking to the sustainability of our economy and protecting the environment. Announced in December 2019, the EU Green Deal sets out how to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050, resulting in a cleaner environment, more affordable energy, smarter transport, new jobs and an overall better quality of life. There are several funding mechanisms in place to facilitate the EU Green Deal, totalling over €1 trillion. It is probably the seed of the next industrial revolution: the Green and Carbon Neutral Revolution, having all chances to reshape the general aspects of the future generations’ life while our generation will probably ensure only the transition towards this.
In the past couple of years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, the world changed in so many profound ways that these changes have become irreversible. But in other cases, even before the pandemic, a transformational process had already begun. Such is the case of the fight against the climate change, an objective that will force all states and businesses to adapt, to become more efficient and sustainable. Climate change is one of the major economic, social and environmental challenges of our times, of utmost importance in sustainable development.
The impact climate change has on the lives of larger and larger communities over the world make it, from the State’s point of view, an increasing security issue.
If we continue to have hazards due to climate change and if these become a security risk, then they should be tackled accordingly. Pollution does not recognize borders, a ton of CO2 emitted in Bucharest is the same as a ton of CO2 emitted in Washington, Delhi or other parts of the world. So, from that perspective, we should all applaud and support the taxonomy debate and the efforts that the EU is taking, trying to direct capital, which is also global in its means, having as such a global instrument to address a global problem based on certain criteria that should determine our future energy mixes.
To stabilize global temperatures at a sustainable level, global greenhouse gas emissions need to reach net zero by 2050. This reality must guide how we support technology development, craft governmental policy, and invest capital.
However, we must be very careful about the way we handle this transition, as too abrupt moves could compromise the long road ahead of us.
Large scale systemic transformation of the global economy is required, and this transformation needs to be fast. We also know that for any significant and lasting change of this scale to happen we need some areas of activity to be aligned:
- Clear and consistent long-term governmental policies to drive the energy security in all aspects.
- Sustainable technologies that work and are cost effective based on solid supply chains.
- New market structures at national and international level that enable this new technologies and processes to flourish.
- A consumer sentiment to encourage and support this change, and last but not least,
- Finance and investment to shift from the existing technologies / processes / products that are less efficient and more polluting to more sustainable ones.
The role of states in promoting this kind of projects and supporting all large infrastructure projects (nuclear, gas, renewables and infrastructure to support electricity grids) must also be addressed. As climate change became a security issue, the role of states becomes fully justified.