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Looking through the decarbonization lens to tackle impact of climate change

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Spaceship earth
DNV GL chaired a round table during the New York Times ‘Energy for Tomorrow’ 2016 conference in Paris, discussing global carbon pricing to stimulate investments in decarbonization.
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  • Keywords: Energy, Climate change and environment, Energy
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ARNHEM, the Netherlands - 30 November 2016 - Climate action, represented by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13 is one of the most challenging goals with red scores in all parts of the world, indicating that the goal is not likely to be reached and less than 50% of the gap between today’s status and the goal is likely to be closed. This is one of the key findings from DNV GL’s global forecast report ‘The Future of Spaceship Earth‘ that was launched in September at an event at the UN headquarters. During the New York Times ‘Energy for Tomorrow’ (NYTET) 2016 conference in Paris, a group of 10 executives attending a DNV GL roundtable, advocated global carbon pricing to stimulate investments in decarbonization. The executives from investment banks, utilities, heavy industries and governments agreed that regulatory and policy stability, together with public- private cooperation are essential to accelerate decarbonization on a wide scale.

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A remarkable moment in history
If the world is to meet the 2°C target to limit human-induced warming, 80-95% emission reduction of industrialized countries is needed by 2050. With the Paris Agreement entering into force on November 4th 2016, 100 countries have formally confirmed that there is strong commitment to combat climate change and lead the transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient global economy. Implementation of the agreement is essential for the achievement of the UN’s SDGs and will soon be followed up by European legislation to deliver on the commitment to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030. It is expected that legislation for decarbonization will increase over time at national and local level. Collective willingness and fundamental changes at policy level are needed to make sufficient changes happen. During the NYTET conference many stakeholders advocated that a strong carbon price is an essential signal for businesses to further decarbonize.

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SDGs have become a blueprint for businesses
More and more companies are ready to reorganize their core activities around the SDGs. They take extraordinary action to see how their operations, products and services can support the realities of our planet and better serve markets, both today and in the future. In fact, the SDGs have become a blueprint for businesses. A clear sign is that more companies are getting involved in renewable energy, which is the most important factor for reducing CO2 emissions from electricity production. Examples from Statoil, Iberdrola and IKEA show that investing in wind and solar is a major contributor to decarbonize power.

Carlos Sallé, Director of energy policies and climate change at Iberdrola, said: "Today we have the solutions and technologies that we didn't have in the past. There are some policy and logistical barriers to overcome in order to implement these solutions. If we have the will to make the necessary modifications we will arrive at the solution. If we continue with business as usual we will have problems."

Scaling of investments is needed, but the question is how to accelerate this? Risk mitigation to secure investments, technology and standardization are crucial. In-depth due diligence and monitoring of expected impacts of investment projects are needed to manage renewable projects on the long term.

Ditlev Engel, CEO of DNV GL - Energy: "We know that the costs of wind and solar has decreased dramatically over the last 10 year and will decrease further in the years to come. It’s now all about how to implement and combine these technologies in an increasingly complex power system. A 360 degree view is needed to ensure that this energy transition work from both a technical, economic and societal point of view."

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