Simon Stiell: 2023 Must Be a Pivot Point for the Energy Transition

Simon Stiell: 2023 Must Be a Pivot Point for the Energy Transition

If we want a just energy transition, we need a strong and ambitious work program to drive it: UNFCCC Executive Secretary

The question is not “how to balance the energy trilemma” but “how to solve the energy trilemma”, said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell to the Oslo Energy Forum, held earlier this month.

Highlighting what can be done towards climate action this year, Mr Stiell said: "We have an incredible opportunity in the next ten months to do exactly that: to make 2023 the pivot point for the energy transition — a definitive moment in what must be a decisive decade for climate action.

"For years, the world was told that issues on any energy transition were too difficult to overcome…the costs were too great, attitudes too ingrained, political positions too deadlocked.

"Yet precisely the opposite has occurred. We’ve witnessed global momentum for the global energy transition. The proof is clear in outcomes from the formal climate change process and on-the-ground action.

“Blueing” the Paris Agreement at COP27

"The Glasgow Climate Pact, for the first time in UNFCCC history, called on governments to accelerate transitions towards low-emission energy systems. Decisions adopted by all Parties in Sharm El-Sheikh stressed the urgent need for clean and “just” energy transition through low-emission and renewable energy."

"Parties further stressed that geopolitics “should not be used as a pretext for backtracking, backsliding or de-prioritizing climate action”."

"In the meantime — outside the formal process — the last five years have seen the acceptance, transformation and exponential growth of renewables surpassing almost every projection. In Davos, Nicolas Stern and Mattia Romani produced a paper for the WEF showing that in five years more than half of the tipping points for crucial green technologies will be met, making them competitive in key markets."

"They point out that this growth story represents the greatest investment opportunity since the industrial revolution……one already transforming policy, investments and partnerships across governments and businesses."

"Opportunities related to the clean energy transition are there for all countries, all businesses…as are opportunities to make this a just transition for all workers."

Mr Steiel added: "This is why I say it’s time to move from discussions about balance to solutions — solutions that get us from where we are now to where science tells us we need to be by 2030 if we’re to ultimately limit long-term climate chaos.

"The next 10 months leading to COP28 give us a unique opportunity to take those steps. It features the world’s first Global Stocktake — a moment of truth. This is not just another report; it has the potential to be a transformational moment in history.

"The energy sector is the vanguard. Positive engagement and solid commitments by the sector can reverberate through all sectors, all economies and all countries."

"If we want a just energy transition, we need a strong and ambitious work program to drive it. This was mandated at COP27 and it needs to be established at COP28. We need your support to bring it over the line," he stated.

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