Things to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers - Modern Diplomacy

Things to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers – Modern Diplomacy

In June 2021, the European Union’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisers (GCSA) published the scientific opinion titled “An orderly approach to Europe’s energy transition”, arguing that the clean energy transition in the European Green Deal should keep people centered. In light of tomorrow’s RePowerEU announcement that is critical to the future of energy supply in Europe, we invite GCSA Vice President Nebojsa Nakisinovic to comment on the centrality of a fair transition and the importance of focusing on a clean energy future even in times of intensifying stress.

Tell us why the European Commission even needs a scientific opinion at all. Does the evidence speak for itself?

this post (A systematic approach to the energy transition in Europe) is part of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) of the European Commission. In my view, this is a very unique way of providing scientific advice to decision makers. Many governments have senior science advisors for this job. What distinguishes the SAM in the European Commission is that it consists of three independent parts.

First, there A group of senior scientific advisors who provide scientific opinion. There are very clear practical rules of how this can happen. The other independent part is the so-called SAPEA (Scholarly advice for European Academies Policy). This is a consortium of more than 100 European academies. They provide a review of scientific evidence, similar to the IPCC Climate Change Assessment (Intergovernmental panel on climate change).

Evaluation is a scientific analysis of what we know about a particular topic. They (SAPEA) do not provide scientific opinion or advice, most importantly they consider possible options. We, a group of seven Senior Scientific Advisers, based on this review of evidence – evidence, factual scientific knowledge – submit a scientific opinion to the European Commission.

There is also a unit in the body that stimulates this process. The three groups work closely together but we are independent. This explains the context. Why do we offer a scientific opinion? This is because the topic is rightly considered central to the multiple crises facing Europe and the world.

Does a just transition require a shift in the economic model of energy services? People own the problem, shouldn’t they also own the solution?

This is exactly what we have attempted to address in our scientific opinion – based on scientific evidence. We have not gone beyond the scientific evidence.

Silo power cannot be considered. We – the people – must be at the center. This means that it must be an inclusive process in which everyone is involved and, most importantly, that no one is left behind. Because there is a high risk that any turn will, unfortunately, lead to winners, and hopefully there will be many, many winners, but also – I wouldn’t say “losers” – but there are people who fall through gaps and may be left behind and you don’t have an escape hatch. That’s what was a high priority – to determine how to do it.

In our scientific opinion – and indeed we say frankly, it is essential that energy, sustainable lifestyles and behaviors become the preferred choice of people – that they become a natural choice. Therefore, we have to create an environment that allows this. This is obviously very complicated, and I don’t think anyone has a silver bullet for this question.

The world has changed since the paper was published in June 2021. Notably, war, inflation, and recent dire warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change about rising temperatures. How does that affect your opinion of a fair transition?

I must be very careful to distinguish what is in our scientific opinion based on evidence and what is my personal opinion. It’s important not to confuse the two or else I wouldn’t reverse the mechanism of scientific advice which I think is very unique – I just want to make that clear. Here is my own opinion based on our scientific opinion and not on it.

Geopolitics is changing. There is no doubt that we are at a defining moment in history. That is why we discussed before – again, my point – that we should not lose sight of long-term goals.

we Likely to exceed 1.5 degrees It is almost certain that by 2040 we will be above (the stipulated limit), and maybe even sooner. From a scientific point of view, this is not new.

From a policy point of view and a behavioral point of view, this is something one needs to internalize in some way. We will exceed this goal and bear the dire consequences. But, we must not lose sight of doing our best to reach 1.5 degrees in the future – which is why we must act now.

This is another dimension of justice – intergenerational justice. We have to make sure that we leave the planet to future generations (hopefully) in better shape than will happen over the next decade or two.

Is it even possible for EGD to achieve a “clean circular economy, modern economy, resource-efficient and competitive economy” by 2050?

Once again, we are in the realm of opinion. Nobody can say what the future will be like.

I was so excited when in 2015 all the world adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and when there was the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. I think those were the two really important visual steps towards this ambitious transformation that we’ve been talking about.

I would also claim that a file European Green DealAnd the Fit for 55 And the The new European Bauhaus Initiatives are somewhat more doable. It provides a clearer agenda for how the world and life will look in 2050.

I don’t want to sound too pessimistic and let me add again, that’s my personal perspective – you know, 30 years is long enough to make that shift.

We’ve done that before. The most recent example is cell phones. It all started in 1990 and today, everyone in the world has a phone. Even the poorest people have a phone because it has allowed new economic activities, because it is useful to many (although it is always annoying to have access to them!)

Just another example to prove that this is possible in principle, is the replacement of horses with motorized vehicles. That also took 30 years in most countries. We have 30 years to replace our fleet of vehicles with hydrogen and electric. We have enough time to shift if we act right away.

The research in this article was funded by the European Union. This article was originally publishedIn sightEuropean Union Journal of Research and Innovation.


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