29th Baku Energy Forum: Dr Angela Wilkinson Plenary Speech

5th June 2024

News ArticleEurope

Our Secretary General and CEO Dr Angela Wilkinson was part of the opening plenary panel at the 29th Baku Energy Forum discussing "International Cooperation for Energy Security and Sustainability".

She was joined by leaders such as HE Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, HE Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, HE Tina Sersen, Deputy Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy of the Republic of Slovenia, Cristina Lobillo Borrero, Director of the Energy Platform Task Force & International Relations-Directorate-General for Energy for the European Commission, Mohamed Hamel, Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Christophe McGlade, Head of Energy Supply Unit for the International Energy Agencay and Matthew Bryza, Board Member of the Jamestown Foundation.

Below are Dr Wilkinson's remarks as originally prepared for delivery.

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!

As the Secretary-General and CEO of the World Energy Council I am honoured to be invited as part of the Baku Energy Forum. 

The World Energy Council formed as a visionary and practical leadership community in the early 1920s during a time of great crisis and instability with an agenda of energy for peace.  

 Our presence now extends to all energy interests in more than 100 countries across all world regions.

Azerbaijan also has a special place in world energy history - and we look forward to welcoming Azerbaijan to our future building community, which already includes Turkey, Algeria and many more of your dear friends and global partners!

For 100 years we have convened power for the common good connected the energy dots between wider access and wiser uses of modern energy.

Today we are focussed on the urgent task of redesigning energy for billions of better lives and a healthy planet.

In April, we convened as an independent community of over 4000 visionary energy leaders from 118 countries during the 26th World Energy Congress in Rotterdam.

Conversations did not shy away from uncomfortable realities:

  •   World energy systems are no longer fit for purpose.   
  •   All signals point to an overshoot of 1.5oC.   
  •   Net zero is an essential milestone, but reaching the Paris Agreement is not enough to secure billions of better lives and a healthy planet.  
  • What got us to here won’t get us to where we need to go.

The term ‘energy tranisition’ has become the most commonly used, misunderstood and politically polarising phrase of the 21sy Century.

So, what is the good news?  

There is no such thing as all good vs bad energy. 

There is no global shortage of capital or technology.

And energy transitions are happening in all regions.

People remain the biggest blind spot in all net zero roadmaps.

People-centric energy awareness is a key to making faster, fairer, and more far reaching energy transitions happen.

Energy leaders have done a lousy job on ‘active’ energy literacy. Recognising it is the first step to finding better solutions.  

The importance of our humanising energy vision and action agenda is gaining resonance and traction in all regions.

Today, we are seeing the emergence of a new global and local realities - geopolitics extends to data, technology and supply chains. New demands for global justice, resilience and transition into modern energy access as well as away from fossil fuels.

It has never been more challenging or important to avoid single issue and prescriptive policy agenda. There has never been a better moment for diverse regions to lead with and learn from each other about the how to practicalities of managing multiple energy transitions together.

We manage what we measure. Energy transition performance management is tricky – and can’t be reduced to single metric of carbon dioxide emissions.

The World Energy Trilemma Framework was pioneered by the World Energy Council nearly 20 years ago to connect energy and sustainable development and measure performance. It now being used by decision makers in over 120 countries.

But we are not done! Sustainable development challenges are evolving faster than energy systems!

The future of humanity now depends on connecting diverse and uneven energy dots and more radical approaches to collaborating in energy with many others.

As His Excellency Dr Bayraktar recently wrote for the Council, “This mission cannot be accomplished alone.”   

  Indeed, the Council does not exist to go alone. We want to go faster, fairer and further together.

Humanising energy is about starting in many different places - not a moonshot technology mission, nor a mountain summit.   

The COP Presidency is incredibly important global platform for more and better cooperation.

We have enjoyed working with Dr Sultan Al Jaber, who we recently recognised with a centennial award, and greatly look forward to working with the Azerbaijan Presidency to make COP 29 a tremendous success.

Over the next few days I look forward to connecting with you to discuss our shared responsibilities as leaders in developing energy as the ultimate connector of transitions into modern energy, away from fossils fuels and towards a more inspiring future for humanity.

Thank you. 

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