Closing Ceremony WEC 2010 Declaration - Montréal 2010

Posted on 16 September 2010

Pierre GadonneixExcellences,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Ministres et Ambassadeurs
Mesdames, Messieurs,
Chers collègues et ami(e)s,

Je suis honoré de vous retrouver pour célébrer la clôture, et l’incontestable succès, de ce 21ème congrès du Conseil Mondial de l’Energie.

Il y a quatre jours, Steve Mac Lean et ses collègues astronautes de la base spatiale internationale, nous invitaient à prendre de la hauteur pour mieux percevoir, vus d’en-haut, les vrais enjeux de notre terre.

Nous avons suivi leurs conseils et nous avons fait ce voyage. Les débats passionnants que nous avons eus pendant le congrès nous ont fait prendre ce recul nécessaire et devenir des acteurs plus conscients, mieux armés, pour traiter les défis majeurs que j’évoquais ici même dimanche dernier.

Après ce stimulant parcours commun, il est temps pour chacun de rejoindre sa ” base “, car des actions précises sont à mettre en place, des décisions concrètes à prendre, permettant de bâtir ensemble une croissance durable et acceptable par tous.

Aussi, je voudrais exprimer notre profonde gratitude à nos hôtes canadiens pour l’opportunité exceptionnelle qu’ils nous ont offerte de dialoguer et d’échanger, et de promouvoir des solutions aux grands défis énergétiques auxquels le monde doit faire face.

Et puis, je voudrais aussi partager avec vous une dernière fois ma vision des enjeux, du chemin qu’il nous reste à parcourir ensemble, et des moyens que nous devons utiliser, dès demain !

We have made a significant step forward in identifying the following:

- First, the energy sector’s new agenda

- Second, the real constraints and opportunities we face in tackling our challenges

- And third, the road ahead to adjusting our energy policies and fostering international cooperation

Our end-goal has to be sustainable growth.

At a time when all countries are working to develop strategies to put the crisis behind them, growth is a legitimate and worthwhile goal.

When accompanying growth, energy accessibility and availability contribute concretely to improving the living standards of people.

However, the kind of growth we have experienced in the past leads us to address three issues:

The first issue is security of supply.

Clearly, we must invest in new infrastructures to keep up with demand.

However, the crisis has interfered with some investment plans.

In addition, the recent surge in oil and commodity prices is curbing growth.

We must bear in mind that many developing countries spend approximately 4% of their GDP on oil and gas imports, the same percentage as OECD countries did during the previous two oil shocks. In some developing countries today this figure can even reach 15% of GDP.

The second issue is environmental protection and climate change.

The energy sector, which is responsible for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions, is clearly on the front line regarding the debate on climate change.

Finally, the issue of inequalities within and across countries is another major concern, as energy goes hand in hand with development.

Inequality hinders development and depresses demand. Sustainability also means more social equity.

We will see no progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goals if we persist in failing to efficiently tackle the “energy poverty” that affects two billion people. This is why WEC will dedicate a special “Energy Access” activity to this issue.

To tell the truth; we no longer have a choice. The growth model we have experienced in the past, is no longer a sustainable one, simply because it is damaging our environment.

Limiting growth is not an option either, as it would increase inequality.

More than ever, we must work all together to bring about a sound energy transition to 2030-2050, that is, to find a sustainable approach that reconciles economic growth, environmental protection and greater equality.

We have what it takes to do this. The technologies we need are at hand.

On the demand side, solutions already exist and we must just go forward and invest on. On the supply side, there are also mature and competitive technologies available. Further out, we will need to invest to develop:

Generation 4 nuclear, carbon capture and storage, more efficient photovoltaic technologies, electricity storage, and second-generation sustainable bio fuels.

We have, on earth, enough natural resources to meet demand. The real issue is not so much their overall level, but their uneven distribution across nations, and the fact that ensuring security of energy supply will necessarily lead to an increase in energy prices.

Indeed, in terms of oil and gas, it is estimated that resources will last about two more centuries, factoring in unconventional gas and oil. Nevertheless, we will have to tap in to more and more remote, difficult-to-access resources. For this, more sophisticated and costly technologies will be required.

Meanwhile, we will have to ensure that these new technologies meet with the highest safety standards. The safety issue will be addressed as a priority in our future works.

In terms of coal, there are enough resources to last for another several hundred years.

In terms of nuclear, with second and third generation technologies, today’s uranium resources will last for about two hundred more years. With Generation 4 technology the length of time could be extended 50 times!

Lastly, potential in hydropower, wind and solar energy is highly significant worldwide.

Our WEC “Survey of Energy Resources and Technology” will regularly assess the state and costs of energy resources and technologies.

But other types of resources are genuinely scarce or risk becoming so: The use of fossil fuels is under pressure because of environmental and climate concerns.

Water and land use become a huge challenge. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity. The energy-water-food nexus is an important issue that will be addressed in WEC’s future work.

When looking at the global picture, we realize that it will be not easy to successfully transition towards truly sustainable growth:

It will not be easy because it will be costly, since clean technologies are more expensive than conventional ones. At the same time, we must work to keep the human and social cost which economic restructuring will entail, to a minimum.

It will not be easy because the transition must also be acceptable to all. If not, we will fail. We must ensure that we do not leave the most deprived members of society by the wayside of our path to sustainable growth. Taking action to specifically help the poorest has to be a key priority in forging new public policies.

These are critical issues to consider and I am confident that the congress has contributed to raise awareness on these issues.

In sum, innovation where policies, institutions and governance are concerned will be just as important as technological innovation.

Here, I would like to address a fundamental challenge for building our future. I mean governance.

There are indeed two all-important factors at different levels: at a national level: energy policy, and at a worldwide level: international cooperation.

The global crisis has proved that the market alone cannot solve our problems.

As I said a few days ago; and the congress has reinforced my belief even more - the invisible hand of the market cannot address alone all our issues.

Policies are needed.

That said, regulatory failures also exist and it is not an easy task to define what a “right” energy policy is. Therefore, we must find a new balance between market and regulation. And, at the same time, we will have to make sure that these public policies are coherent and compatible at an international level and enable us to address our challenges.

WEC’s “Assessment of Energy and Climate Public Policies” aims to identify fundamental principles to establish sound regulatory frameworks.

One is that energy players require long-term horizons. Energy industry timeframes are long term: investments are made over periods of 3 to 15 years, and plants are built to last for 30 to 60 years. In our sector, 2030- 2050 is a much more relevant horizon than 2020.

Long-term policies are possible only if we keep costs in check. This will require planning the roll-out of different technologies, starting with those that are mature, while preparing others for the market.

We could in fact, already organise a massive roll-out of mature technologies over the next 20 years.

And, for technologies that are not yet mature, Which cost of CO2 avoided is usually 5 to 10 times higher, the first step should be to encourage and support R&D and experimentation. Behaviours and habits will also have to change. Norms and standards will play a vital role.

At the same time, energy pricing must contribute to stimulating investment, guaranteeing security of supply and promoting energy savings.

WEC will make its efforts to promote sharing of experiences on how to ensure the benefits of growth are equitably shared.

Some innovations like smart grids and smart homes can be real catalysts in changing energy behaviours, making people more aware of the value of the resources and therefore more eager to be efficient and responsible.

We must take up the urbanization challenge and turn it into an opportunity.

As shown in our study on “Energy and Urban Innovation”, 2 billion new urban dwellers are expected by 2030 – the equivalent of seven Shanghais or Jakartas, or ten Londons each year…

It should also be possible to complement efforts made at country level through international cooperation. Here again, I am convinced that we can surmount the obstacles in our way.

Take the climate, for instance.

While some were disappointed by the results of the Copenhagen Summit, we should not underestimate what was achieved.

Most importantly, an agreement was reached through the unprecedented mobilisation of more than 140 heads of state and governments, proof that we are, now, collectively aware of the issues at stake and willing to take action.

From this standpoint, Copenhagen created real global impetus.

In my view, what we have to do now is build on this momentum. And we must not use the crisis as an excuse to fall back on protectionism and isolationism.

There are two areas in which much remains to be achieved:

- First, we must design sound and effective public policies to deliver the mitigation objectives adopted by more than 70 countries in their commitments

- Second, we must develop new tools to efficiently channel public and private funds and foster, among other things, technology transfer.

The WEC study on “Rules of Energy Trade and Investment” is our effort to contribute to these debates.

Sustainable growth is no longer an option it is a necessity. While the goal is clear, finding the best path to reach it will be a challenge for all. I believe that to rise to the challenge, we will have to rely more than ever on cooperation and dialogue between all stakeholders – governments, businesses, researchers and NGOs. WEC can be a driving force in this movement.This congress has indeed demonstrated its capacity to catalyse ideas and put forward new visions.

Bringing together representatives from all energy sectors and all countries, WEC is a formidable think tank that bases its global work on local realities. Its technical programmes and regional plans enable immediate relevant action. Its flagship studies are designed to give political and business leaders the information and insight they need to shape the future while factoring in three criteria: equality, development and climate.

And now allow me to come back to French to conclude:

Mesdames, Messieurs,
Chers collègues et ami(e)s,
La croissance durable n’est plus une option.
C’est une nécessité.
L’objectif est clair.
Le défi pour nous tous,
c’est de définir le meilleur chemin pour l’atteindre.
Et je suis convaincu que pour y parvenir,
il faudra plus que jamais favoriser la coopération
et le dialogue
entre toutes les parties-prenantes du secteur.

l’organisation mondiale de référence de l’énergie,
peut être moteur dans ce mouvement.

Ce congrès est donc,
l’aboutissement des efforts de nombreuses équipes,
et plus globalement de la grande famille du WEC,
de ses 91 comités membres,
des représentants régionaux,
des membres du council et de tous les membres,
tous si généreusement impliqués
et avec lesquels j’ai tant de plaisir à travailler depuis plusieurs années.
Je les remercie ici chaleureusement
et me réjouis
de continuer à travailler encore longtemps avec eux tous.
Car en effet,
ce congrès n’est aussi et surtout,
que le point de départ de nouveaux travaux, nécessaires pour œuvrer
à une croissance durable acceptable par tous.
Merci !