Climate change: what will happen after Katowice?

Published on Thursday, 27 December 2018

“All nations showed their commitment. All nations can leave Katowice with a sense of pride, knowing that their efforts have paid off”

– Michal Kurtyka, COP24 President

Morazzo explains that “while the judgement on the transparency of the conference is positive, the same cannot be said for two other essential parameters: setting ambitious targets and defining the economic measures needed to reach them. From these two perspectives, COP24 produced little or nothing, because of the differences between the various countries.”

The role of private sector

In mitigation, great work was done at the other events programmed in Katowice, several of which saw Enel’s active involvement. These included the presentation of the Ambition Loop report whose guidelines and conclusions, that climate targets can become more ambitious – to touch on one of the unfulfilled points of COP24 – with the right collaboration in place between governments and the private sector, are shared by Enel. Businesses require clear climate guidelines and, if governments respond to the invitation, they are ready not only to respect these rules but also to move further forwards, towards even more advanced targets, and so on: a virtuous cycle that can be defined an “ambitious cycle.”

The other unresolved aspect of the conference, financial measures, was the focus of an event where Enel again played a leading role. This was the presentation in Katowice of the study produced by Enel Foundation, with the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, on Article 6 – the clause of the Paris Agreement specifically dealing with the emissions market and other financial mechanisms.

Enel also contributed to two further events: one focused on the on-going energy transition in Peru and the other on that in Brazil. In both cases, Enel’s experience has shown that a large Group that is attentive to sustainability can play an important role.

The role of the private sector confirms a hugely significant phenomenon, according to Morazzo: the commitment of governments is not enough to safeguard the climate, but the hesitations of the climate conference don’t necessarily mean failure for the decarbonisation process that has already started. For example, the two largest greenhouse gas producers in the world, China and the United States, are both investing in clean energy. This is not only in order to fight pollution, which is suffocating China’s cities in particular, but also because of the financial advantages. Thanks to technological innovation, the cost of renewable sources (and the batteries that are indispensable to their full integration) has dropped, making them increasingly competitive.

Before making a judgement, therefore, it is necessary to have a broad approach and place COP24 in context, not only in the historical setting of climate initiatives, but also in the present social, economical and technological scenario. Looking at the big picture allows us to continue to have faith.