Two broad and opposing scenarios for the energy transition are emerging due to the impacts of COVID-19. The renewable energy optimists are contemplating a scenario in which peak demand for fossil fuels is reached earlier than expected, resulting in an accelerated transition as energy companies look to find greater returns by investing in low-carbon technologies. Others anticipate that depressed oil prices undermine the recent cost competitiveness that renewables have achieved; with significant government stimulus and policy support for the fossil fuel sector starving the renewables sector of the support required to decarbonise in line with a 1.5 degree world.
The sixth event in the Chatham House COP26 Diplomatic Briefing Series will explore these competing narratives and related arguments, focusing on the key question: what should be done in either scenario to ensure the availability of affordable energy and that the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) deliver the best chance of climate change mitigation?
Simon Sharpe, Deputy Director, COP26 Policy Themes, UK Cabinet Office
Sara Lechtenberg-Kasten, Research Fellow, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC)
Tom Nelson, Head, Natural Resources, Ninety One
Marta Krajewska, Deputy Director, Power, Energy UK
Chair: Dr Daniel Quiggin, Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme, Chatham House