COP21 – Wednesday summary

Had a very busy day out at the COP. After a series of one on one meetings, I got to witness the Observer Briefing by the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC has a very important but difficult job considering and addressing the concerns of a diverse group of stakeholders. Their stakeholder engagement process is very impressive.

The two key events on the day for Australia related to the International Emissions Trading Association session on carbon pricing and the Carbon Market Institute’s Spotlight on Australia session. In the first session, CEO’s from Vatternfall, CLP, AGL and several other utilities and industries gave their perspectives. There seemed to be consensus about the fact that business views a carbon constrained future as inevitable. Other key points made included: carbon pricing is but one tool to reduce emissions, renewable energy and closure policies are also important; the transition is important but it must consider the impacts on other stakeholders such as low-income consumers and affected workers; and it is important that individual businesses lead by developing new innovative business models and products and services.

In the session on Australia, we were able to hear first hand from Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, about the progress of negotiations and insights from Mark Butler and Richard DiNatale. There was also lots of discussion about the need to modernise and decarbonise Australia’s electricity system.

I was also very lucky to be able to meet with senior officials from the IEA. As an energy economist, meeting other energy economists from the IEA and discussing market design, renewable integration, demand response and the intersection of climate and energy policy has been a true highlight of my engagements at this COP.

The feature picture of this blog is an EV bus out at the COP. Didn’t get to ride on it but it looked very impressive.

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