Innovation and efficiency, the keys to sustainable development

28.05.2020
The COVID-19 crisis has changed many financial scenarios and the energy sector is one of them. FUNSEAM and the Repsol Foundation have organized a webinar to establish the perspectives for the sector's future. The Energy Transition Chair of the University of Barcelona-Repsol Foundation, Mariano Marzo, analysed the energy policy decisions that should be asked from now on.
Innovation and efficiency, the keys to sustainable development

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The forecasts that the International Energy Agency made in November are now outdated due to the COVID-19 crisis, but the needs are still the same: the world urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gases (GG) and the governmental policies have to be more ambitious to reach the 2040 climate objectives. This is the position that Mariano Marzo defended in the webinar organized by FUNSEAM and the Repsol Foundation, using the data provided by the International Energy Agency in its World Energy Outlook as a base which establishes three potential scenarios for the future:

1. The one with current policies, which are not sustainable.

2. The one with the policies governments have declared, which are insufficient.

3. And the desirable policies, which are the ones that should allow us to comply with the climate change objective in the Paris Agreement.

Mariano has analysed the evolution of the consumption of the different sources of energy in detail for each scenario, as well as his projection for 2040. And to achieve the desired results, there is not only one solution, nor is it simple: “The commitment of the governments for the Paris Agreement is not enough, it will not achieve the climate and clean energy objectives that the sustainable scenario dictates should take us to a global warming of less than 2ºC. There is not only one solution. We are all committed and consumers like us can do a lot on our end".

The post COVID-19 eraThe economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 can change things, according to Marzo. A very high drop in global electricity demand has been noted and it's been estimated that throughout 2020 the total drop will be of 5%, the largest since the Great Depression. This change could accelerate the necessary energy transition in an unexpected way, but we have yet to see how the global economy fares after the health crisis. The key is the commitment of governments, companies, and citizens to set the global temperature of the planet. The advantage that this crisis has brought on is that new business opportunities, which are compatible with that need, are being generated. 

Mariano Marzo believes that technological innovation is one of the great solutions to the problem and says a large part of taxes should be dedicated to promoting it. "A lot of technologies will be necessary in a lot of sectors to help manage to stabilize the global temperature If we don't consider R&D in energy markets, we are making a mistake".

The webinar was presented by Joan Batalla, general director of FUNSEAM, and António Calçada, vice president of the Repsol Foundation, and was concluded by M. Teresa Costa, director of the Energy Sustainability Chair of the University of Barcelona and FUNSEAM.

This event is set in the Repsol Foundation's cycle of conferences to promote knowledge and rigorous debate surrounding the challenges of the future of energy.

See "Energy scenarios: current situation and future perspectives".