Shanghai Forum, July 2014

In July 2014 we held an international parliamentary forum in Shanghai, China, which explored exactly what is required – in terms of new legislation, new budget priorities, and new investment – to avoid more than 2˚C of global warming this century. The forum brought legislators, analysts, and investors from around the world together for an urgent discussion on the political roadmap for a <2˚C world.

 

A full summary report of the event, featuring a detailed synopsis of proceedings and discussions, is now available from our Resources section, here.

 

The international scientific community tells us that, if global carbon emissions do not begin to fall dramatically before the end of the decade, we are likely to trigger climate impacts which will quite literally change the face of the earth.  The results will include expanding deserts, declining food production, rising seas, and ever more frequent extreme weather such as the deadly Typhoon Haiyan which recently struck the Philippines. Current efforts to address the looming climate catastrophe are clearly insufficient, and we risk condemning future generations to the consequences of our inaction today. Our forum will detail the latest climate science, policy analysis, and investment forecasts, and will explore exactly what steps need to be taken now in order to avert climate chaos. 

 

It's clear that a rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is required if we are to tackle climate change while keeping the lights on – and, hearteningly, the renewables revolution seems to be gathering pace, as better technology, lower prices, and growing political commitment help drive the deployment of solar and wind power. China is playing a key role in this, and will soon be not only the largest manufacturer of renewable energy equipment, but also the largest generator of renewable electricity.  We will include in the programme a visit to one of the large-scale renewable energy installations now being built in China.  The meeting will also provide an opportunity for legislators from other countries to learn about the policy tools China is using to achieve its rapid progress on renewables.

 

But how can MPs speed up this process around the world? What new laws are required to enable renewable producers to bring their electricity to market? What regulatory changes will enable cross-border interconnectors to link areas of high demand with deserts rich in solar energy, and with windy seas and coastlines? How much will all this new capacity cost - and how exactly can public budgets leverage sufficient private investment in renewable generation and research? How can we create new incentives to encourage investment in renewables?

 

The event also examined the impact of fossil fuel subsidies – worth some $1.9 trillion globally, according to the International Monetary Fund – that mean renewable energy has to compete on an uneven playing field against heavily subsidised oil, coal and gas.

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