It’s been six days now since I got back from COP25 and I feel it’s a good time to sum up some of my thoughts and experiences from the event before I tap out for the Christmas break.
So after Warren and I left the main COP25, negotiations continued until Sunday and I’m sure we’ve all seen the disappointing outcome from those discussions (https://www.edie.net/news/9/-A-far-cry-from-what-science-tells-us-is-needed---COP25-reaches--disappointing--conclusion/). Personally, I’m relieved that the main consensus from COP25 was that we’re referring to a climate emergency now rather than climate change, and that we have a growing global awareness of the data that the point of no return is upon us. This means that COP26 is critical to regain the momentum lost at the end of COP25; we need realistic climate plans from every country where they will dedicate real resources to alleviate the carbon hangover we’re starting to see.
When you look at the publicity from the event and the content that was appearing it’s heartening to see the general public getting involved. One simplified clip we saw on Twitter from the Global Carbon Project (https://twitter.com/gcarbonproject) shows the C0? bucket about to overflow unless we turn off the tap urgently as well as putting a hole in the bottom to remove C0? (negative emissions). This clip has been seen over 2.2 million times at the time of writing this piece; that’s 2.2 million more people who will hopefully understand the urgent need for change.
Whilst this simplified model is a brilliant tool for education you undoubtedly run into the complexities of how to achieve the targets set out; how much can we turn the tap down and how clean will the energy be that is capturing the carbon?
MIT Sloan School of Management, Climate Interactive and Ventana Systems have created an interactive tool which was demonstrated at COP25. This tool allows for more complexity to be added into the model. Whilst the bucket above is fit for its purpose it is oversimplified; this MIT model manages to simplify a complicated topic but shows multiple levels to go down in detail. It demonstrates all the different variables that can be changed, and how their interlocking nature should be considered. Try using the tool here; http://EN-ROADS.org what are the main learnings you take away from it? Simply solving one of the issues is not enough. An example of this can be seen in attempting to reduce the coal in the energy mix, you will undoubtedly cause gas or oil usage to replace it. It’s scary when you see the scale of what must be achieved; it really is time to act! The initial assumption on the tool is set for implementation of the decisions you adjust to take place in 2020; are we able to do that yet? Sadly not.
Connected Energy was invited by the Department for International Trade (DIT) to the UK Pavilion at COP25 to showcase the sustainability innovation and novel solutions coming from commercial companies within the UK. A large benefit was being able to absorb the views of global policy makers as well as attending side events, talks and workshops covering all facets of the climate emergency. The amount of talks happening over such a short period meant that no one person could attend all the events, but the general atmosphere appeared to be centring around the need for finance and carbon pricing. There were lots of talks around these topics, but I saw no hard goals coming out of these sessions, it’s not surprising that this was mirrored in the main negotiating halls.
The UK Pavilion and the DIT are keen to develop the relationship between the talks and industry. This for me feels important; I’d like to see more companies involved at this global scale – we need the innovative thinkers at events like this to both help guide policy makers and simultaneously take their thoughts back to our own respective industries for implementation. The key challenge to opening COP to being a more commercialised event is to ensure that it doesn’t inhibit cooperation between solutions. An example of this is that whilst attending an ‘Energy Storage in Emerging Markets: The Next Frontier’ panel the topic of decarbonising developing island nations was raised. A unanimous consensus was achieved that green energy storage is required to allow these nations to move away from diesel generators. The panel participants, made up of commercial organisations, dismissed the role that lithium storage could play in a scenario like this. Their thoughts were that long duration storage in the range of 24 hours plus was the only solution for this. Lithium storage is cost-prohibitive for such durations but plays a pivotal role in the composition of a hybrid solution. An example of this is the cost effectiveness of lithium to provide fast and dynamic response to balancing grid stability; this combined with the flexibility from other storage methods and renewables gives a joined up solution with maximum benefits whose sum total is greater than the value of the individual parts.
In conclusion, both myself, Warren and Connected Energy were proud to have been involved in the 2019 climate emergency talks and are looking ahead to future events where we can promote cross collaboration between industry leaders and policy decision makers. Personally, I’d like to thank my CEO Matthew Lumsden for giving me the opportunity to attend COP25 and represent our company, it was an experience I’ll remember for some time.
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About Connected Energy
Connected Energy is an engineering led innovator in energy storage. Its technologies, that utilise second-life electric vehicle batteries, are rapidly changing the way intensive energy users can access the benefits of low-cost, on-site solutions. The companies E-STOR system is modular and scalable, as well as straight forward to install and operate, for energy intensive clients to flexibly control and reduce their energy costs, and develop new revenue streams.
Connected Energy has deployed systems in the UK and Europe and has recently secured £5m investment from ENGIE New Ventures, Sumitomo Corporation, Macquarie Bank and Turquoise Capital.