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Clear interest in Sweden’s energy transition at the IEA Ministerial meeting in Paris

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Author: Anna-Karin Hatt, Minister for Information Technology and Energy, Sweden

For two days running now, the International Energy Agency (IEA) ministerial meeting has been taking place in Paris. The focus is on energy, climate and competitiveness. The starting point is the results from the IEA's World Energy Outlook, which was launched in London on 12 November.

Anna-Karin Hatt, Sweden's Minister for Information Technology and Energy, speaks at IEA Ministerial Meeting, 20 November 2013
According to the report, which can be described as the world's energy bible, the world energy map is being redrawn. Earlier net importers have now become exporters, and vice versa. Countries like China and India are taking an increasing share of the global demand for energy, which affects prices in other parts of the world.

IEA chief economist Dr. Faith Birol pointed out in his presentation that fossil fuels currently account for 82 percent of global energy supply. And the harsh truth is that the proportion is as great now as it was 25 years ago. And because of the world's increasing energy demands, fossil fuels are expected to still account for 75 percent 2035. That high proportion of fossil fuels in the energy sector today also accounts for two-thirds of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Despite measures to reduce emissions from the energy sector, emissions are expected, under current policies, to increase by another 20 percent by 2035. Which means, according to the IEA, that the world's average temperature would then rise by an average 3.6 C by the same year. If that happens, it would have devastating consequences worldwide.

In a statement during the opening session, I took the opportunity therefore to point out that we have the opportunity to choose a different path and send the message that it is actually possible to reconcile a firm policy for increased sustainability with high economic growth, if we choose to combine high ambitions with smart and cost-effective instruments. These include the carbon tax, which Sweden introduced as one of the first countries in the world in 1991, and the green certificate system, which has now been in place for 10 years and that gives us significant money for renewables. The Turkish energy minister, who is the chairman of this year's IEA meeting, quickly replied that it would be great if all countries could introduce regulations similar to those we have in Sweden.

Besides participating in the IEA Ministerial Meeting programs, I have also had the chance to meet with the newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, in a bilateral consultation. The focus of the meeting was to follow up on President Barack Obama's visit to Sweden in the beginning of September, and to discuss how we can further develop the already well-developed Swedish-American cooperation in the energy sector - not least in the context of environmental technology cooperation SAGA (Sweden America Green Alliance). We both identified several areas where we want to deepen the cooperation between our countries, such as with sustainable vehicles and renewable 

Sweden Energy Minister Anna-Karin Hatt and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
energy as well as in energy efficiency. It was also very good news to hear Secretary Moniz say that he intends to give priority to the Clean Energy Ministerial, a collaboration between the G20 and the Nordic countries' energy ministers and which his predecessor Steven Chu initiated. This forum, in practice, can help reduce global carbon emissions and perhaps over the next few years help pave the way for a global climate agreement here in Paris in 2015.

Tomorrow the IEA ministerial meeting continues where I will deliver a keynote on the link between climate and energy, how it is possible to combine high growth with increased sustainability and what we need to do to make sure that the world, in the energy choices we make, does not lock itself into new, expensive and climate damaging fossil fuel dependency.

Original article published in Swedish:


Categories: Blog, Theme, Energy Supply

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