Today (on October 28), European Cabinet Ministers responsible for Energy and climate change have gathered in Brussels for the European Green Growth Summit in order to set their vision for a low carbon economy.
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, who has been instrumental in establishing the Ministerial Green Growth Group said:
Thirteen EU countries and dozens of business leaders have come together to deliver a simple message - only by acting together and by showing leadership can we deliver the significant economic benefits that we have today shown is possible in tackling climate change.
Businesses and investors are telling us that the EU needs to get its act together and that we need to urgently agree a 2030 Climate and Energy Framework and reform the EU ETS. Only then will investors have the confidence to put the billions into low carbon that we need.
The consequences of inaction are clear. The stakes are high, if we do not act, we could all lose out in the low carbon race.
Through the Green Growth Group, European ministers have set out a clear vision for a low carbon future calling for three urgent EU priority actions:
Agree an ambitious EU 2030 Energy and Climate Policy Framework;
Reform the Structure of the EU’s Emissions Trading System;
Ensure the EU is in a position to put an ambitious emissions reduction offer on the table at the Ban Ki-Moon-hosted World Leader’s Climate Summit in autumn 2014.
The move by the Green Growth Group has been welcomed by UNFCCC Secretary General Christiana Figueres, Commissioner Hedegaard, EU business leaders, investors and experts.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, greeted the initiative by saying:
I applaud the call by these countries and businesses for ambitious policy that sets the EU firmly on a course towards low-carbon green growth.
Implementing clear policy frameworks that incentivize low-carbon, price carbon and lay the groundwork for emission reduction commitments in 2014 are the greatest contributions governments can make towards the new, universal 2015 climate agreement currently under design.
Forward thinking businesses clearly have an interest in supporting political action toward low-carbon which will allow them to thrive in the coming green economy. This is the type of leadership we need to give the world our best chance of meeting the climate challenge.
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, welcomed the initiative by saying:
Europe is the living proof that there is no contradiction between being green and growing the economy. Actually it is interesting that some of our greenest member states in Europe also are among those with the most solid economies.
The more European businesses and member states work together to understand that the growth of the 21st century must be green, the better. It is in Europe’s core economic interest to become more energy and resource efficient, and less dependent on imported fossil fuels. This is why the Commission is now finalising its proposal for 2030 climate and energy targets.
We count on members states, businesses and investors to help exploit the big economic opportunities of the low-carbon transformation
Commenting, Philippe Joubert, Chair of the Prince of Wales EU Corporate Leaders Group applauded the initiative:
The business leaders that are part of the EU Corporate Leaders Group warmly welcome this call for joint action by Ministers. As business leaders we know that success in meeting our 2030 targets will only come if we develop a sound case on the economic benefits of decarbonisation sustained by long term stable ambitious policies.
This summit is the first step in an on-going process that seeks to indicate the real cost of inaction while also showing the benefits of a low carbon economy in creating jobs, increased innovation and competitiveness.
Philippe Zaouati, Deputy CEO, Natixis Asset Management, Chair Investment Leaders Group. Said:
Financing is clearly critical to the transition to a low carbon economy. Europe needs huge investments in low carbon energy, low carbon infrastructure, energy efficiency, smart grids, and wind and solar electricity generation. We need to provide capital to companies offering innovative contributions to sustainable development.
The private sector is willing and able, but needs clear and consistent public policies pointing in the same direction. Every new regulation concerning investment should incorporate stringent provisions favoring low carbon and taking into account environmental and social impact, rather than business as usual.
This should apply to long term investment fund regulations as well as to regulation of financial benchmarks. Investors, ministers and industry must come together and agree on doable priorities to make a low carbon economy a reality.
Thomas Reynaert, President UTIO, United Technologies said:
We look forward to working with the Green Growth Group of Ministers on the economic benefits of energy efficiency and decarbonisation. Energy efficiency in the building sector must be a key priority for EU climate and energy policy.
Buildings account for 40 percent of the EU’s primary energy demand. Deep renovation can cut this by 80 percent, saving Europe over 30 percent of its total energy use. At United Technologies we are excited about providing the solutions and doing our part to help reach that target.
Samuel Leupold, CEO, DONG Energy Wind Power commented:
DONG Energy is among the leaders in transforming from black to green energy. We plan to invest 1-2 bEUR annually in offshore wind power towards 2020 and significantly reduce costs to make offshore wind competitive with conventional energy technologies.
The current EU energy policy framework has been the foundation for industrialising and maturing offshore wind until now. To continue this journey, it will be essential that European policy makers take a long term perspective and make the critical decisions for a robust policy framework towards 2030.
Laurence Tubiana, Director of Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the influential Paris-based Research Institute, said:
Energy is too important for the future of Europe to be left on the side lines. We need to exit the crisis in the right direction. A strong 2030 energy and climate package is a pillar of European reform. And it is crucial to negotiating a successful outcome internationally in 2015.