March 23, 2016

ETIAtalks tackles the Green Energy challenge

© Ksenia Poplavskaya

On March 3, 2016 the second event of the current ETIAtalks panel discussion series adressed the question of the shift towards renewable energy from fossil energy. As the global greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase year after year and time is running out to reach the targets set almost 20 years ago in the Kyoto protocol and reinforced only recently at the COP21 in Paris. With the energy sector accounting for 2/3 of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, it has to be at the center of any reduction scheme.

In the panel discussion Monika Froehler representing ‚Sustainability for all’ accentuated the leading role that the EU plays in the promotion of renewable energy worldwide and elaborated that investment in the magnitude of 50 billion dollar per year is required to achieve the goal of doubling the worldwide renewable capacity by 2030 from 12-13% in electricity and 1.2% of overall energy at present. Supporting this notion, Michaela Spaeth from the German Embassy acknowledged that promoting renewable energy is challenging giving the contrasting examples of energy policy in Morocco and Tunisia. Additionally she illustrated the effort undertaken by Germany in the course of the ‚Energiewende’ already prior to COP21 and emphasized the continuous public support within Germany. On the domestic front Energyspokeswoman Christiane Brunner from ‚die Grünen’ critized the lack of austrian committment towards renewable energy backed by the example of perpetuating subsidies for oil heating as well as the complete lack of a taxation system that incentivises switching to renewable energies.

While there was no consensus on the panel concerning the issue of carbon taxation vs emissions trading, everybody agreed on the urgency to translate the COP 21 agreement into concrete actions backed by potent funding such as rerouting the 500 billion USD of fossil fuel subsidies.

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