On the 23rd of October we had the chance to attend a meeting in the Ania headquarters on the topic of Climate Change and the approach that the European Union will take in order to tackle such problem.

The Conversation started with Ambassador Aboltina, a very important figure that has a various background: she started her career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993, and then, from 1995 to 2002 she was Director of the Consular Department. She became a speaker at the Parliament and, in June 2018 she received the nomination of Latvia’s ambassador to Italy.

She spoke about the steps that the Italian government is taking in order to push green development, and she shared some ideas on the importance for Italy to become less and less polluting thanks to both internal and, external (EU) policies. She continued by saying that the new Committee of the European Union has taken a strong position against climate change and reducing CO2 emissions is one of the main goals in the next few decades.

The core of the meeting started with a presentation from Andris Pebalgs; our main speaker has a very curious background, he graduated in Phisics and then worked into the Latvian government both as minister of Education and then Finance. He worked in the realm of Diplomacy and became Commissioner for Energy for development, currently he is the Chairman of the BoA of ACER.

He divided the presentation into 3 parts, which was really helpful to understand better the topic and to understand the different implications of Policies against Climate Change.

  1. A NEW WORLD EMERGING

We have to consider that Climate Change and the importance for renewable energy are changing much more than just the engine in our cars.

The new ways to produce electricity, Wind and Solar, right now are more economical than other forms of “conventional” energy production, such methods are getting cheaper and cheaper and their efficiency is increasing. New states which can take better advantage of Renewable Energy will emerge and enhance their global presence.

Another important topic is that new generations which will be the voters of tomorrow are very concerned about the environment and, maybe we will see new Leaders elected on the basis of their energy policy.

Right now the “heavyweights” China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and United States are transitioning, with different rates and speeds, to cleaner energy such as renewables or gas, such data however cannot excite us too much since, it is still a small portion compared to the coal and oil use.

  1. Clean energy for all the Europeans

The new Commission has set out 3 main pillars of action

  • Europe’s carbon neutrality by 2050
  • European Green Deal
  • Carbon Border Tax

There are still many points to be discussed regarding the pillars, for example how to implement the tax or the possibility to create a tax war, what will the European Green Deal consist of, and many other, there are also many changes that the European community will have to undergo through.

There is a big need for new nuclear laws, people might agree that nuclear power is one of the best options but, as we all know it will be a big problem to decide the location of future powerplants since they are not well-seen by the general public; a lot in recent years has been done in the field of renewable and they are gaining more and more space in emission reduction but, this trend is still too slow; we need to successfully switch from coal to gas which is a much cheaper and cleaner alternative; a structural change in the society has to happen and, people need to understand that this is a common effort towards a common goal.

The common goal can also be helped by the common market and the creation of a common European electricity Market in which prices of electricity and gas become standardized across all Europe. Spending for renewables also has to increase since, in the recent years we have gone back to the amount invested in 2008

Thanks to this overview we almost thought that renewables were the easy way out and, maybe, by filling up land with solar panels and wind turbines we might be able to solve this problem. Unfortunately, we also have to think about storing this energy and the new technical challenge the long-term storage of all this energy, this is a very complex topic and there are many solutions but, 2 of the most realistic one are Power to Gas Methane and Power to Gas Hydrogen.

So, going back to the three pillars strategy the European Union will have to focus on:

  • Strong electrification on the basis of Renewable Energy
  • Greening of molecules and low carbon molecules
  • Sector Coupling/Integration
  1. It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better

This final part was opened by a very important quote “I have an impossibility theorem that says that democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible; we can combine any 2 of the 3, but never have all three simultaneously and in full” Dani Rodrick, the EU will always have to consider this, times of great change might not have a positive impact on the minds of people and on their political decisions. There will be many challenges and diversified economies and rapid job creation will be the main aspects that will allow the transition to be as smooth as possible. There are huge opportunities and, a fundamental change in the minds of citizen has to take place in order to foster the implementation of a new lifestyle in their mind.

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