Disrupting the Status Quo: Accelerating the Global Energy Transition for a 1.5°C Future

04 November 2021 |Glasgow, UK


 

Watch the recording:

 

Despite progress under way in the energy transition, including credible net-zero commitments in the Race to Zero, the world is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The urgency of achieving this goal, as stipulated in the Paris Agreement is underscored by the most recent IPCC report: time is not on our side. Rapidly accelerating the energy transition requires: decarbonized power systems; sectoral integration; and structural changes, all towards achieving the Race to Zero Breakthrough Outcomes. In other words, we need to disrupt the status quo with systemic change. 

Forerunners of the energy transition are already creating a more resilient energy system, while advancing economic growth and creating jobs, improving public health and well-being, and improving energy access. What they have learned is that many solutions already exist and are ripe for expansion and scaling. 

This event showcased the Climate Action Pathway on Energy, and explore how the global energy transition can help deliver a climate-safe future. More information here.

This event was organised by IRENA as the focal point for the energy thematic area within the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, under the leadership of the High-Level Champions. IRENA thanks the members of the energy thematic area for their support and contribution:

  • The Climate Group, Global Solar Council, Global Wind Energy Council, International Chamber of Commerce, International Energy Agency, REN21, Sustainable Energy for All, UN Environment Programme, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and World Climate Foundation, along with RMI and the World Economic Forum.

More information on Marrakech Partnership events at COP is available here.

The detailed concept note is available here  |  Learn more about the speakers.

Draft Programme


Disrupting the Status Quo: Accelerating the Global Energy Transition for a 1.5°C future 

Thursday, 4 November 12:00-14:45 GMT (UK Time)

12:00 – 12:05

Opening Welcome

Masters Of Ceremony:

  • Ms. Claire Kiss, Associate Programme Officer – Planning and Programme Support, IRENA
  • Mr. Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group

12:05 – 12:10

Opening Remarks

The Champion touched upon the importance of the Marrakech Partnership and Climate Action Pathways for limiting temperature rise to 1.5° C, as well as position a rapidly accelerated energy transition as key to achieving this, in the context of the Race to Zero and the Race to Resilience. 

  • Mr. Nigel Topping, UK High-Level Champion for COP26

12:10 – 12:15

Voice from the frontline

This segment set the scene for the event, with a call to action from the frontline, someone who is directly experiencing the impacts of climate change while working towards a just energy transition. The address stressed the urgency of accelerated energy transitions around the world and the system change needed to support them. It brought to life the need for tangible near term action on climate and enable participants to see the rest of the sessions from a new perspective.  

Speaker:

  • Ms. Passy Amayo Ogolla, Program Officer Sustainable Energy Futures, Society for International Development, and Africa regional SDG 7 Youth focal point

12:17 – 12:58

Decarbonised Power: Achieving a Renewable and Efficient Power System

This segment showcased ambitious actions and initiatives that are happening around the world that are accelerating a decarbonised power system, en route to a 2030 breakthrough. Speakers in this session stressed the work they are doing to ramp up ambition, the challenges they face in doing so, and potential solutions to these challenges. Where relevant, they emphasized lessons learned that could be applicable elsewhere.

Format: Moderated Panel

Set the scene:

  • H.E. Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates

Moderator:

  • Ms. Rana Adib, Executive Director, REN21

Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Ms. Yvonne Denise Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Mr. José Donoso, Chairman, Global Solar Council
  • Ms. Elbia Gannoum, CEO, Abeeolica

13:00 – 13:06

Zoom in: What does system change look like?

Linear and incremental changes in the power sector will not achieve the speed and scale of systems transformation needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5° C. This TED Talk style intervention described what a resilient and adaptable power system would look like, and what integrated financial, regulatory, and social interventions  would take to get us there. The speaker focused on what the energy system would look like, the changes required, and how they can deliver a just transition. Everyone talks about the need for system change, this talk focused on what that looks like in practice.

Format: TED-Talk

Speaker:

  • Mr. Francesco La Camera, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency  

13:08 – 13:50

Sectoral Integration and the advent of Green Hydrogen

This segment highlighted examples of bold, creative, real-world plans for sectoral integration (i.e. through green hydrogen) to decarbonize multiple end-uses at a meaningful scale to accelerate breakthrough progress toward deep decarbonization.

Format: mini TED talks and Moderated Panel

Set the scene: policy reflections

  • H.E. Jeppe Kofod, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Denmark
  • Ms. Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission 

Moderator:

  • Mr. Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute

Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Ms. Judith Hartmann, CFO, Engie (invited)
  • Ms. Julie Shuttleworth CEO, Fortescue Future Industries;
  • H.E. Abdessalam Mohamed Saled, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mines, Mauritania

13:53 – 13:58

Zoom in (Part 2): What does system change look like?

Linear and incremental changes in the power sector will not achieve the speed and scale of systems transformation needed to limit temperature rise to 1.5° C. This TED Talk style intervention described what a resilient and adaptable power system would look like, and what integrated financial, regulatory, and social interventions would take to get us there. This speaker focused on what the energy system would look like, the changes required, and how they can deliver a just transition. Everyone talks about the need for system change, this talk focused on what that looks like in practice.

Format: TED-talk

Speaker:

  • Ms. Melanie Nakagawa, Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Senior Director for Climate and Energy, United States of America

14:00 – 14:18

Structural Change:  Reshaping the fossil-fuel powered economies

Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change and delivering on the Paris Agreement require a dramatic shift in the way that we provide and use energy. Enabling the transition away from an unsustainable supply of oil and gas is a critical part of that challenge. This segment focused on the need for a phase out of fossil fuels, while ensuring a just transition where no one is left behind. The fireside chat featured a discussion around different pathways to a net zero energy future. 

Format: Fireside chat

Interviewer:

  • Ms. Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, CAN international

 Interviewees (in alphabetical order):

  • H.E. Andrea Meza Murillo, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica 
  • Mr. François Legault, Premier of Québec, Canada

14:20 – 14:43

How can Renewable Energy accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Agenda, Just Transition and Inclusion?

Systemic change is not solely a technical matter, it is also about looking after people. There are those who have much to gain, and others who potentially have much to lose during the energy transition. This discussion looked at energy from the perspective of just transition and inclusion.

Format: Fireside chat

Interviewer:

  • Ms. Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director, Stand Earth and Adjunct Professor, York University

Interviewees (in alphabetical order):

  • Mr. Ben Backwell, General Secretary, Global Wind Energy Council 
  • Ms. Irene Karani, Africa Director, Children Investment Fund Foundation
  • H.E. Anne Beathe Kristiansen Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, Norway

14:43 – 14:45

Closing Wrap-up