Economics of a Green Structural Change

The Green Recovery is a broadly used term nowadays. People and states put their hopes in the concept in order to both achieve their renewable energy and climate targets and overcome the economic downturn due to Covid-19 pandemic. But also in the longer run a structural change towards a greener and more sustainable economic system is needed in order to ensure both adequate living conditions for every species on earth and economic prosperity.

How can we integrate green structures into our economic systems? How can Covid-recovery measures trigger a strong momentum for green growth? Which measures need to be undertaken? What is the role of the energy transition in that regard?

This closing session seeks to explore these questions and to draw conclusions, by looking at it from a scientific point of view. It is also a wonderful opportunity to give an outlook and to take a look back at the different topics of the conference and examine their validity for bringing a green structural change in our economic systems.

Financing Innovation! (Startup Energy Transition)

Innovative energy solutions are vital to achieving the sustainability targets that will ensure a green future. Technological innovation, pushed by public and private expenditures on research and development, is a major driver for this change. With this, effective financing of start-ups and innovators plays an important role. This panel will delve into how private and public funding can be successfully channeled towards technologies and business models to combat climate change. The panelists will also explore specific good practice examples to illustrate how public and private funding drives innovation forward and what start-ups need to look out for when accessing it.

Liveable cities drive the energy transition

The world is becoming increasingly urbanized. Cities will need to accommodate two thirds of the world’s population in a liveable, low-carbon environment by 2050. As city populations grow, the demand for services but also pressure on resources will increase. This demand puts a strain on energy, water, waste, mobility and any other services that are essential to a city’s prosperity and sustainability.

Cities also offer clear opportunities to reduce emissions and develop climate-resilient future infrastructure. 

This session will shed a light on the shaping of smart and liveable cities, as a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses.

Don’t think twice, set a carbon price!

To date, more than 40 countries in the world have introduced a carbon pricing mechanism, either in the form of a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. 75% of these countries’ emissions are priced at less than €8 per tonne of CO2 eq. However, achieving carbon neutrality in the near future requires raising this price to at least €62/tonne of CO2 eq. ($75), as estimated by the International Monetary Fund. On the other hand, the prospect of an increase in the price of carbon involves the risk of carbon leakage, i.e. a relocation of emitting activities to regions with less strict legislation. In addition, the great majority of the emissions trading schemes cover only the energy and industry sector, thus raising the question of the applicability of such schemes to other sectors. 

This session aims at exchanging lessons learnt on CO2 pricing mechanisms across the world and discussing how to extend their scope. It addresses endeavours such as the planned European Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the introduction of emissions certificates in the German heating and transport sector. In short, it tackles the question of how to make trade sustainably climate neutral.

“Game on” for transatlantic renewable aspirations

Renewable energy and climate ambitions can be boosted by a strong cooperation between Canada, the EU and the US as well as other key actors in the transatlantic region. Those ambitions will include scaling of RES targets, but also coordination on emissions trading, carbon pricing and taxation. There is a possibility to build on the “Transatlantic Climate Bridge”, which was established in 2008 with the aim of jointly tackling the challenges. With the new White House administration re-joining the Paris climate agreement and new energy partnerships being formed by the German government with key countries in the Americas, transatlantic leadership in the fight against climate change is gaining new momentum. This session will explore the depths of that cooperation to come.

Financing the Green Recovery

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic induced a serious collapse in national GDP growth rates. Governments face unprecedentedly high levels of debt, thus putting a strain on their capacity to introduce public stimulus measures to revitalise the economy. This situation, combined with the persistent challenge of climate change, calls for innovative financing tools from capital markets to green the recovery. 

Labels for socially responsible investments (SRI), sustainability indexes (such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index) … What are the most efficient tools of the finance sector to stimulate post-Covid green growth? How can the private sector embrace these new growth opportunities and implement decarbonisation measures that trigger additional investments? This session will touch upon the available financial mechanisms to promote greener investment strategies that pave the way from policy targets to private measures.

Virtual Green Sofa Talk

The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are uniquely positioned to steer the global energiewende. They meet virtually on the “green sofa” to discuss the current state of the energy transition and will present their latest numbers on RES on a worldwide scale.

The IEA has put accelerating clean energy transitions at the heart of its work, leveraging its full capabilities to support the realisation of a secure, affordable and people-centred transition.

IRENA, equipped with a global mandate to enable energy transitions, drives the strategic shift towards sustainable energy by providing cutting-edge knowledge, advice and support on technologies, investments, policies and markets.

The Green Decade – the road to 2030

On the path to climate-neutrality by 2050, the coming decade plays a crucial role. There is a need to undertake decisive steps for decarbonization and significantly accelerate the energy transition politically, economically and socially in the coming decade. This includes the effective and widespread implementation of renewable energy technologies in all end-uses, including green hydrogen, but also the implementation of frameworks for green investments, activities and the inclusion of civil society in shaping and driving the Energiewende. This panel seeks to explore what the decade to 2030 needs to contribute to a successful quest for climate neutrality by 2050.

Conference Opening / Keynote

Arguably no other crisis facing us today is as all-encompassing as the changing climate. Every country, every age group, every level of society is threatened by the manifold adverse effects of climate change. Only by marshalling a truly global and collective effort to contain these developments can we guarantee a prosperous and secure future. This task concerns everyone, everywhere. That is why the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue invites policymakers, industry representatives, young generational leaders, and civil society to exchange ideas and views on these issues. This year, the conference will be opened by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Heiko Maas and the Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier. The opening keynote speech will be held by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and young climate activists from all over the globe: Vanessa Nakate, Climate Activist, Fridays for Future Uganda & Brianna Fruean, Climate Activist & Pacific Climate Warrior, Samoa/New Zealand.