Policy and Innovation for Energy and Climate Change: ICEF side-event at the Vienna Energy Forum 2017
The side event on May 9, 2017 ICEF was organized in cooperation with NEDO and UNIDO under the title “Policy & Innovation for Energy and Climate Change”. The aim was to enter into an international discussion of practices, concepts, and policies for promoting innovations that should help reaching net zero CO2 emissions in the 2nd half of this century. The event was also intended to attract attention to ICEF and its activities that have been developed since 2013 on the initiative of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo ABE. About 60 persons attended the side event. Under the chair of Stephan SICARS, Director of Environment Department in UNIDO, four invited speakers contributed to the event, which ended with a lively discussion between attendees and the speakers.
Figure 1: ICEF side event at the Vienna Energy Forum 2017 (source: UNIDO)
The first speaker was Mr. Hiroyuki TEZUKA, Chairman of Working Group on Global Environment Strategy for Keidanren (Japan Business Federation). By using the example of the Japanese steel industry, Mr. TEZUKA showed examples and visions for carbon emission reductions by increasing the efficiency of the steel making processes, by a fuel switch from coke to hydrogen, and by developing eco products made from steel. His proposals for a technology transfer to India and other developing countries received particular attention from the audience.
The second speaker was Ms. Sumiko TAKEUCHI, Director and Chief Researcher at 21st Century Public Policy Institute, a think tank of Keidanren, Japan. Ms. TAKEUCHI gave a brilliant overview on the efforts of the 4th strategic energy plan of Japan in 2014 and showed how the emission developments in Japan compare to the trends in other countries such as USA, EU, China, India, South Korea and Russia. For stimulating the dissemination of innovative Japanese technologies to other countries Joint Credit Mechanisms were proposed.
Figure 2: Learning curves for different energy technologies (source: FAAIJ 2017)
The third speaker was Mr. André Faaij, Director of Energy Academy Europe and Distinguished Professor for Energy System Analysis at Groningen University. His key message is the role of technological learning and the associated cost reductions in the coming decades which is essential to realize net zero CO2 economies at socially acceptable investments. There is an overwhelming empirical support of the learning effects but this requires a strong interface between governments, market players and knowledge infrastructures, whereby technologies which are not yet in the phase of market entry (such as fuel cell electric vehicles and Carbon Capture and Use) require different strategies than technologies in the dissemination phase (such as photovoltaics and battery electric vehicles).
The last speaker, Georg ERDMANN, professor for Energy Systems at the Berlin University of Technology and a member of the independent Expert group “Energy for the Future” mandated by the German Federal Government, presented the basket of ICEF activities and its most recent achievements such as the road maps for low carbon technologies and the biannual selection of “Top Ten Innovations” by the delegates of ICEF meetings.
One aspect of the lively discussion following these presentations was how to include developing countries into the process of developing and applying low carbon technologies. Unfortunately the schedule of the meeting was too short to elaborate all relevant interventions in detail. Therefore it seems reasonable for ICEF to organize similar side events at other international conferences, in addition to the annual ICEF conference in Tokyo during the first week of October. The ongoing interest of the international community into high level expert exchanges is obvious. ICEF has shown its capacity to invite the challenging speakers to its meetings.