WEC Indian Member Committee Hosts Energy and the Environment Roundtable
Posted on 1 February 2010
The WEC Indian Member Committee hosted a welcome reception honouring WEC Chairman Pierre Gadonneix on February 1 at the Ashok Hotel in Delhi. The reception was followed by a roundtable discussion the Energy and the Environment. Over 60 WEC-IMC members and other dignitaries were present at the event.
Mr. Gadonneix spoke to the assembled audience, saying he was convinced that WEC had an extraordinary opportunity to make the voice of the energy sector heard worldwide and that it was WEC’s duty to seize this opportunity. However, he pointed out that this could only be done by leveraging WEC’s two key assets, the quality of its studies and the vitality of its Member Committees.
Mr. Gadonneix noted that three major challenges confronted the world today: security of supply, climate change and inequality. WEC, he said, should work through its studies and via its member network to solve these issues.
In terms of security of supply, energy spending is accounting for an ever larger share of national budgets and over the next 20 years, it is expected to continue to account for between 3% and 6% of GDPs. Guaranteeing security of supply will require massive investment, potentially reaching 26 trillion dollars over the next 20 years, but major uncertainties, such as the instability of fuel and commodity prices, are creating disincentives to invest.
On climate change, he said that energy accounts for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The IEA estimates that to keep increases in temperature below 2 degrees Celsius as per the Copenhagen Accord, the global energy mix will have to shift from 2/3 fossil-fired and 1/3 carbon-free – which includes hydro, nuclear, renewable, and coal and gas with CCS – to 1/3 fossil-fired and 2/3 carbon-free.
The challenge of inequality, said Mr. Gadonneix, is more pressing today than ever before. Ensuring security of supply, mitigating emissions and tackling climate change will come at a cost, and this will raise new questions about ensuring universal access to energy as global inequalities increase. Progress has been made, but there are still 1.5 billion people who live without electricity. Above and beyond the ethical issues it raises, energy inequality is hindering the economic development of large parts of the globe and thus damaging economic growth across the board.
The Chairman emphasized that WEC is in a position to make an extraordinary contribution to our time; faced with the global challenges of security of supply, climate change, development and inequality, cooperation between all countries is more vital than ever before, with a special need to listen to developing countries and make their voice heard. He applauded the WEC-IMC for continuing to bring India’s point of view into WEC’s work and for contributing their energy and motivation to our organisation.