How can the energy transition be organized in a globally just way? Will developing countries struggle to transition to clean energy because they lack the financial and technical means? A new Policy Brief by the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) focuses on the risks of an uneven transition and makes concrete proposals to prevent such risks.
Inside their Policy Brief “Countering the chance of an uneven Energy Transition Holland,” the authors Laima Eicke, Silvia Weko and Prof. Andreas Goldthau through the IASS write that meeting the technological and financial prerequisites to get a global energy transition is vital. Otherwise there exists a danger that developing countries will not be able to have the change to more eco-friendly energy systems and then lag behind in the energy transition — with far-reaching consequences for themselves and the rest around the world. On the one hand, a rise in global carbon emissions could have a poor global effect. On the other, late-transitioning countries will be more vunerable to political instability and financial crisis.
For example, countries that are not able to phase out fossil fuels quickly enough are in danger of being excluded from international trade and value chains. The reason being in a decarbonising global economy, the carbon content of products will end up a key factor for determining market access, and latecomers risk being left behind. The resulting harm to their economies could be sustained.
COP25 as being a stepping stone to a global energy transition strategy
To limit climatic change to 1.5 degrees Celsius, all countries needs to have equal possibilities to decarbonise their economies — and consistent strategies are needed for your to occur. As Laima Eicke, one of many study’s authors, highlights: “In the event the gap between early- and late-decarbonising countries widens, so too might the chance of disagreements, further slowing the transition.” To stop that scenario, many countries need commitments for financial and technical help to quicken their energy transition processes to the degree required by the Paris Agreement.
The Meetings from the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which includes representatives of varied government levels as well because the private sector and investors, might open further space for these particular discussions at COP25.
Other international platforms, bilateral programmes, and private actors can also play a crucial role. Initiatives like the NDC Partnership highlight the potential for aligning the activities of multiple actors in specific country contexts.
Steps also must be utilized to coordinate the principles and practices of financial actors across all countries. COP25 in Madrid could serve as being a stepping-stone to consistent strategies, which will be crucial for developing countries as they update their NDCs in 2020 as well as for efforts to close the ambition gap.
The authors’ three recommendations:
1. Policy debates on ‘just transitions’ focus on the implications of phasing out non-renewable fuels from national energy mixes. Yet there are distributional results of a global energy transition specifically for developing countries that lack financial and technological way to transition, creating structural risks. Acknowledging this global dimension of just transitions at the UNFCCC may assist to create alliances for climate action.
2. Technology transfer initiatives can accelerate the diffusion of low-carbon energy technologies. Yet just a third of existing initiatives give attention to transferring skills, expertise and technology simultaneously. To ensure the vaaelo of the global energy transition, tech transfer should be targeted and comprehensive.
3. COP25 should coordinate a regular strategy among financial actors to shift financial flows for energy transitions within the Global South. Common guidelines for long-term risk assessments plus an exchange of best practices for capacity development could leverage ambition in the 2020 NDC updating processes.