Climate Futures: ‘The transition to a low carbon energy system is unstoppable’



CIDOB (Barcelona Center for International Affairs), CADS (Advisory Council for Sustainable Development), IDDRI (Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) and the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site organised on 17 February 2017 the conference Climate futures: Financing the Low-carbon Energy Transition. It aimed to analyze the challenges of financing a low-carbon energy system. The conference, which took place in the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, is part of the cycle of ‘Climate Futures’ dialogues on global governance of climate change.

The conference was presented by the director of CIDOB, Jordi Bacaria, and the director of CADS, Arnau Queralt. Experts from India, Morocco, United States and Europe exchanged expertise at a panel discussion moderated by Luigi Carafa, energy and climate change researcher at CIDOB. The conference addressed how to encourage increased investment in low carbon infrastructure in emerging economies.

International experts agreed to rate the transition to a low-carbon energy system as unstoppable. The director of the IDDRI Governance program, Tancrède Voituriez, stated that green economy is the new economic model. He also warned about legal uncertainties surrounding the renewable energy sector and the fragility of the Paris Agreement.

Researcher Luigi Carafa stressed the need to invest in low carbon infrastructure, translated into trillions of dollars for the next 10 years. How to get this funding? Irene Monasterolo, a postdoctoral associate at Boston University, emphasized the importance of financial instruments as green bonds as long as they exceed current limits such as lack of clarity in certification and regulation of markets. Additionally, she stressed that more research and innovation in green funding is needed.

For developing countries, investment risks are higher. Gireesh Shrimali, Climate Policy Initiative India director, identified two major risks: the danger of currency devaluation and the lack of confidence in public distribution companies. These risks could be offset by payment security mechanisms.

In this regard, the director of Finance of the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (MASEN), Nisrine Elkortbi, presented the model implemented in Morocco, where electricity generation is outsourced. 80% of financing comes from development banks and 20% come from private capital.

The closing remarks were conducted by Dan Lewis, head of UN Habitat's Urban Risk Reduction Unit. Afterwards, Kadir van Lohuizen's audiovisual exhibition "Where We Go?" was inaugurated. It shows the suffering of people who lose their land and sources of income as a result of rising sea levels and coastal erosion. It is open to public at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in Barcelona until the 17 of March 2017.