In association with the British German Environment Forum,
with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The European Union finds itself once more at a crossroads. The now 28 Member States need to decide how to pursue a common energy policy that enables them to achieve the 2050 goals which the EU set itself back in 2011: cutting back greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 per cent compared to levels in 1990.
While Britain and Germany, two of the largest economies of the EU, agree that utilising renewable energy sources, reducing carbon emissions and energy efficiency are key, they take very different approaches to each of these issues.
The 8th British-German Environment Forum addressed these differences and their very complex nuances. What are the energy sources of the future and what roles will they play? How can decarbonisation become a reality? What are the right energy strategies for 2050? Which scenarios are realistic?
While the discussions were complex and multi-faceted, some main findings were identified:
- Call it European Energiewende, European Energy Marshall Plan or a Green New Deal, the change towards a carbon-free future needs a strong and convincing narrative. The public remains too little involved. Without the engagement of citizens, a change in how society deals with limited resources and uses alternative forms of energy is not possible;
- Good practices in how to make a more sustainable energy policy more attractive need to be shared. Governments, and especially Treasuries, must become major drivers and create incentives instead of blocking new initiatives;
- Britain and Germany must become European and global leaders on the way to achieving the 2050 goals.
In addition, a series of further points of agreement or contrast emerged from the wide-ranging bilateral discussions.