Climate action 'back on the agenda'

A new momentum is starting to build for next year’s COP21 United Nations climate change summit in Paris, similar to the excitement prior to the failed 2009 talks in Copenhagen, says EWEA chief executive Thomas Becker.

Becker told the UN climate talks session at EWEA 2014 that  he was starting to see a general willingness by a lot of governments to produce a good result in Paris in December 2015,  “which I have found very encouraging”.

Steve Sawyer, general secretary of the Global Wind Energy Council, who chaired the session, said that global emissions “just keep going up, and up and up”.

“Climate is right back on the political agenda, ahead of Paris in 2015,” he added.

Although Becker admits to being “totally frustrated” over the slow pace of the global talks, he believes the UN process is “the only show in town” adding “there is no other way to resolve the climate issue but through the multilateral dialogue of the whole UN process”.

He says too many of our national politicians are individually not capable of making these decisions. “I see a major problem looming for Paris as being the way our politicians have been functioning. The political horizon is so short-term, which is a big problem,” he says.

Becker identifies a big part of the climate problem as “highly subsidised fossil fuels, whereas wind needs no subsidies.

“We in the wind industry can live without subsidies, as long as other energy sources don’t get subsidies as well.

“Also nuclear energy has been around for 65 years and yet still can’t survive by itself. For instance I have been most concerned to discover that EDF’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station in the UK is going to be uninsured — so if it blows up the UK government will end up paying for it.”

Karsten Sach, deputy director-general for international cooperation at Germany’s environment ministry, said: “We need to reduce our global emissions by 80-90% by 2050 by developing renewables and energy efficiency to transform our energy systems. We should not accept the argument that renewables are not price competitive, because we are.”