Limiting Global Warming to 2°C: Can Europe and the United States Keep the Climate Window Open?
On 13 June 2013 the German Marshall Fund of the United States hosted a panel discussion in Brussels on the occasion of the launch of a new report by the International Energy Agency. The event, entitled “Limiting Global Warming to 2°C: Can Europe and the United States Keep the Climate Window Open?”, featured Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency; Jos Delbeke, Director-General for Climate Action at the European Commission; Tom Brookes, Managing Director of the Energy Strategy Centre at the European Climate Foundation, and Simon Ashwell, Senior Manager for Government Affairs & Policy at General Electric. Miriam Maes, GMF Senior Fellow, moderated, and Dr. Corinna Hörst, Deputy Director of the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, opened the event.
The event was occasion for the presentation by Dr. Birol of a new special report of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, “Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map”. This report, which was published on June 10, 2013, reiterates the challenge that rising emissions of greenhouse gases pose to the global climate and economy and outlines four short-term measures that countries could take in the energy sector – the largest sources of emissions – in order to keep open a realistic chance of keeping global temperature increases to no more than 2C. The four measures use existing technologies and would come at no net economic cost. They include: improving energy efficiency, preventing the leakage of methane in oil and gas production, reducing subsidies for fossil fuels, and reducing the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants. The panel discussion that followed raised further debate on how exactly these policies can be implemented and expanded, the opportunities for transatlantic cooperation to achieve these measures, and the role of renewables, shale gas, and nuclear energy in the scenario outlined by the IEA. There was general perception that while it is important to be ambitious in energy policy, it is equally imperative that policies be realistic and evolve over time to adapt to the changing economics and environment of the world.
GMF hosted this panel discussion as part of an ongoing series of events and analysis on the opportunities for transatlantic cooperation and leadership on the energy transition. Follow these links for Dr. Birol’s presentation and more information about GMF’s Energy Transition Forum.