Europe can emerge from the coronavirus pandemic with a significantly clearer pathway to a net-zero future if it takes the right actions now.
That’s according to Roberto Castiglioni, the co-founder and chief executive of London-headquartered sustainable investment consultancy Ikigai Group.
He said the “silver lining to Covid” was the knock-on effect it would have on the energy sector.
Castiglioni was speaking this morning at the Enlit Europe Virtual Keynote, which posed the question: What if the pandemic accelerated the green transition?
He said that while the pandemic had caused a negative impact to the global economy, it had delivered a positive effect to worldwide global energy demand by reducing it and also bringing forward the peak of energy-related emissions by about five years.
However, he added that in the long term, market forces alone would not bring about decarbonization in “hard-to-abate sectors” such as heavy industries like chemicals, steel and cement, and transportation, particularly aviation: “We don’t want to stop flying – we just want to fly in a sustainable way.”
“We need to scale up technologies that can deliver a decarbonized, Paris-compliant future,” he said, adding that alongside this was a need for policies to commercialize and scale alternative fuels such as hydrogen and energy-efficiency measures, including carbon capture, storage and utilization.
He stressed that “one thing is for sure: we are living through an energy revolution. We have had the Industrial Revolution and a communications revolution: now we have the ‘Energy Revolution’. Where we are today will be totally different from where we will be in five years.”