Natural climate solutions, an effective and sustainable option for decarbonization

The Repsol Foundation Energy Transition Education and Research Program at the University of Barcelona held its annual conference in collaboration with the Deusto Business School, in which they presented the results of the program's research over the past academic year and discussed the challenges with implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) from a business and public administration point of view.

Today, the Repsol Foundation, within the framework of its Energy Transition Education and Research Program with the University of Barcelona, presented the results of the program's research from the past academic year on nature-based solutions (NBS) within the context of the fight against global warming.

At the event, broadcast online, different experts gathered for two round tables and Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau was in charge of closing the event.

Repsol Foundation Chairman António Calçada welcomed attendees and highlighted the presence of energy and energy transition in public debate and in society, in general. “The Repsol Foundation recently launched Open Room, an online community of leaders that promotes discussion of the various approaches for energy transition under the premise of inclusiveness and cost efficiency."

Then, the director of the Repsol Foundation Energy Transition Education and Research Program at the University of Barcelona, Mariano Marzo, presented the status of natural climate solutions today and called attention to the great progress made since COP26 in Glasgow with the commitment of 141 countries to end deforestation and related activities. These signatory nations account for 91% of Earth's forests. He likewise highlighted the importance of natural climate solutions within the national decarbonization strategy, given that to meet the 2050 objective, 10% of the emissions to be reduced must occur through carbon sinks.

Next, the first round table, composed of the director of Responsible Banking at Grupo Santander, Marta Aisa; the director of sustainability at Ferrovial, Valentín Alfaya; the director of Organization and Sustainability at Enagás, José Miguel Tudela Olivares; and the National Technology Officer at Microsoft, Alberto Pinedo, analyzed some of the main business initiatives in terms of nature-based solutions. During this session, which was moderated by the general director of the Institut Cerdá, Carlos Cabrera, participants stressed that energy transition is imperative and a part of the agenda and financial results of companies, reflected in how the impacts generated in those companies are being monetized.

At the public administration table, the deputy director-general of Carbon Markets at the Spanish Office for Climate Change (OECC), Ignacio Ángel Sánchez; the director-general of Rural and Mountain Infrastructure for the Principality of Austurias, Fernando Prendes; and the councilor of public services and mobility for the city council of Zaragoza, Natalia Chueca, took part. The participated discussed different initiatives for social cohesion and inclusion, like a business carbon footprint registry by the OECC, a forest management registry by the Principality of Asturias, in favor of its industrial activity, and the "Bosque de los Zaragozanos" collaborative initiative to plant 700,000 trees.

Massimo Cermelli, professor of economics at the Deusto Business School, was charged with drawing the main conclusions from the event. He resumed that the energy transition is closely related to inclusion and social cohesion. He also pointed out that there is no dilemma between finance and economics and the energy transition, and that in order to make this happen, we need the participation of all those involved, public and private, as well responsible citizens.

Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau closed the event by underscoring the importance of CO2 capture projects: "Reforestation projects can generate multiple environmental and socio-economic benefits at the local level, in such a way that its implementation can help to mitigate climate change, boost local and rural employment, protect biodiversity, and achieve the sustainable development goals."

A network of Education and Research Programs for the energy transition

In the framework of its strategy to promote scientific knowledge in the field of energy transition, the Repsol Foundation has several Education and Research Programs in a network of leading universities.

The network is composed of the Technical University of Madrid, focused on sustainable mobility; the Comillas Pontifical University-ICAI, where the education and research program analyzes ways to sustainably decarbonize industry using carbon footprint and product life cycle analysis; and the Engineering School at the University of Navarra (Tecnun), whose program is centered on the role of hydrogen as an energy carrier. A new program, which will analyze and study the circular economy, was recently created at the University of the Basque Country.