UN climate talks: get on board to boost business

“It is very important for the renewable industry to show that the technology is available to fight climate change”

Climate change is back on the political agenda. Jörg Zimmerman, Editor in Chief of New Energy/Neue Energie calls on the renewable energy industry to make its voice heard at the upcoming UN climate summit

With the UN 2015 climate summit in Paris on the horizon, do you think the Commission’s recent proposal for a 40% greenhouse gas reduction target and 30% renewable energy target by 2030 is enough to maintain EU leadership on climate change policy?

The most important aim should be to limit global warming until 2100 at 2°C. Scientists believe that it is therefore necessary to agree on a 60% greenhouse gas reduction target to reach that goal. 40% is not enough. It is therefore frightening and – in the end – surprising, that politicians don’t act differently. Although it has been proven that the renewables sector is of great economic importance with the ability to create a lot of jobs as well as solve climate change, it seems they are under huge pressure from fossil industry actors.

Why is Paris 2015 being given so much attention? Won’t it be a disappointment like the other summits?

We have to face the fact that the meeting in Paris 2015 could end up as a disaster like most other conferences so far, especially if European countries don’t commit themselves to ambitious aims. This would be a tragedy because we definitely need a global way of acting against the global climate change. But besides that, the conference gives the opportunity to highlight the main problem – industrial countries – they are responsible for the largest part of dangerous emissions.

What do you see as the main stumbling block in the international climate change negotiations so far?

It is evident that the poorer nations find it difficult to give themselves ambitious targets and to fulfill them. So it is necessary that the industrial countries take the lead and – after that – help the developing and emerging countries. But that is not happening. And this again highlights that we are talking mainly about a small number of energy companies with a lot of influence.

Can renewable energy really make a difference to climate change worldwide, given the huge amounts of conventional fuels being used everywhere? How can this happen?

Very simple, we need 100% renewables as soon as possible, combined with a fundamental transition of our energy system which includes e-mobility, smart grids & smart metering, efficiency and so on. The technology is there, it just has to be brought into use much faster. Therefore we need intelligent ways of support through policies, a stable legal frame work, and laws against fossil and nuclear sources instead of laws supporting these dirty ways of energy production.

 What light do you expect the session on “UN climate talks: get on board to boost business” at EWEA 2014 in Barcelona to throw on this debate?

It is very important for the renewable industry to show that the technology is available, and that there is the will and the ability to solve technical problems quickly. And it is necessary that the representatives of the renewable sector make it clear that this young industry has the strength to fight for its aims. This of course means that all sectors have to work together, wind, solar, bioenergy, hydropower and so on. So we should not only talk about the problems with governments but as well about different interests within the renewable industry, how to organize the renewable industry as a whole – and through that how to gain more political influence – in a positive sense.
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