Time to move from negotiations to actions on climate - German minister

(UPDATES with new quotes from the conference. Please note: this item will be updated throughout the conference) - The world has to move from negotiations to actions on climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy after the Paris climate summit has proven that ambitious global agreements are possible, Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday in the opening speech of the two-day Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue conference. “The global Energiewende (energy transition) is not a forgone conclusion - ‘from negotiations to action’ must now be the motto,” Steinmeier told ministers and delegations from 74 states in Berlin.

Steinmeier said Germany and other countries had shown that the energy transition was technically and financially possible. “But there still remains much to be done to bring about a global energy transition.”All countries had to deliver their share to reach the goals agreed at the Paris Climate Summit, Steinmeier said. He added there was no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the transition, and that the move to a future sustainable energy supply had to support the development of poorer countries.

Also speaking at the opening of the conference, Morocco’s energy minister Abdelkader Amara said the transition to renewables was "no longer a choice, but an obligation for all." Germany's energy minister Sigmar Gabriel said the country's Energiewende had shown the transition can help secure economic competitiveness and wealth. “We have the chance to manage both: Climate protection and new wealth and jobs.”

The government hopes the conference will “foster international dialogue on a safe, environmentally friendly and cost-effective global energy transition,” according to a press release.

Below are quotes from the conference.

 

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency IEA:

He said IEA analyses have shown that in 2015, for the second year in a row, global emissions did not increase despite economic growth of more than three percent. But he added: "A warning: Lower natural gas and coal prices complicate and even slow down the development of the renewable energies sector…our analyses have shown that prices might stay low for a few years.”

 

Rainer Baake, German energy state secretary:

"We have to really increase efficiency, otherwise we will not be successful."
"If we want to reach our long term targets, by 2050 we have to make sure that we don't drive our cars with gasoline and diesel."

 

Michal Kurtyka, Deputy Energy Minister, Poland:

"The Energiewende has focused on the generation side. There is another phase which is coming, which is the ‘grid-wende’. I cannot think of a successful Energiewende without a grid that follows."

 

Lenka Kovacovska, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Czech Republic:

"We think nuclear is a solution. ... Small nuclear reactors can play a role in heating."

 

Boris Schucht, CEO of grid operator 50Hertz:

"Loop flows need to be managed."

 

 Adnan Amin, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):

"There is a political momentum behind decarbonisation that we have not seen before."
"Efficiency and Renewables are two sides of the same coin."
He said Germany had played a remarkable role in bringing down the costs of renewables so it has become an option for the rest of the world. He said the world experienced “a moment of extraordinary opportunity” to make a global energy transition possible.

 

Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, Norway:

"Renewables is the final solution, but I think we still have decades ahead with fossil fuels needed for our energy consumption."

 

Ali Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Saudi Arabia:

"Fossil fuels...by the way, they're not that bad."
Naimi said the world cannot afford to leave oil in the ground, and should instead focus on eliminating emissions by collecting them and “convert them into something useful.”
With regards to solar power, he added there was no more ideal country than Saudi Arabia.

 

Lazăr Comănescu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Romania:

"The security of supply in the current situation is extremely important."

 

Vazil Hudák, Minister of Economic Affairs, Slovakia:

"In Slovakia, we are very focused on nuclear power. We support the Energiewende. At the same time, quite frankly, it is a very difficult process."

 

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