Innovators and Global Leaders

Plenary Session 2

- Enabling Innovation for Net-Zero Emissions: Global Perspectives -


Ralph Sporer

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IEC Vice-President; SMB Chair


The private sector takes an active role in driving innovation. This activity is supported by regulations, finance and other factors. However, unbeknownst to many, the success of net-zero innovations directly depends on the broad adoption and use of International Standards in combination with testing and certification.

This session presents examples of innovations that have directly benefitted from this approach. It also outlines why a systems approach is important to provide the best chances for net-zero outcomes and how this is supported by International Standards in the area of automation and interoperability.

Peter Hennicke

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Senior Scientist at Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy


The German Energiewende in a global context: Innovations, opportunities and challenges

The energy transition worldwide, in Germany and in Japan is embedded in two global megatrends which are about to be strategic game changers: The paradigm shift to “Efficiency First” (IEA/Paris) and the spectacular decreasing costs of electricity from wind and PV. The strategic combination of efficiency, green electricity and electrification of transport and heat sector makes the energy transition possible. Many macroeconomic opportunities, but also challenges and the need for more technical and societal innovation can be demonstrated for the German “Energiewende”. Intensified cooperation between Japan and Germany can speed up, scale up and tighten up strategies for decarbonization and risk minimization.

Christopher Smith

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Advisory Board Fellow, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University


Although new forms of efficient, low carbon energy are being commercialized, the backbone of much of the world’s energy infrastructure is based on century-old technologies. A critical success factor to addressing climate change will be addressing the role that fossil fuels will play in the future, a challenge that involves both technological and market forces. Fossil fuels currently make up around eighty percent of the world’s energy consumption. Modernizing energy systems to combat climate change will require both the implementation of new, low-carbon technologies, and significant action to retrofit fossil fuel systems currently in use.

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