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    Voices of COP 21: A "Wind of Change?"

Summary

Giles Dickson from the the European Wind Energy Association is optimistic about COP 21 and the future of the energy mix in Europe.

by: Kevin Bonnaud

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Featured Articles, Carbon, Environment

Voices of COP 21: A "Wind of Change?"

Mr. Giles Dickson, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, is very optimistic about the results of COP 21, the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and offered his views on the subject to Natural Gas Europe.

As a representative of a clean energy like wind power, what is your take on the ongoing negotiations?
The negotiations are going well. We are optimistic that they will be a good and positive outcome. We were optimistic before we got here because we were very encouraged by the high level ambitions and the strong commitment for the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

What sort of commitments are you looking for?
We want commitments from countries to decarbonize their electricity system and to ensure the new electricity capacity they build is as low carbon as possible. We see at lot of very good signs and words, according to the INDCs.

What role gas should play in the energy transition from your perspective?
We are working towards a 100% renewable energies world. During the energy transition. before we get to 100% renewables, other fuels and technologies like gas have a role to play in helping to balance the electricity market in order to balance the variable renewables.

Is it factual, possible to envision a 100% renewables world? And if so, when?
Yes! The European Commission envisages that low carbon, zero carbon electricity will be between 93% and 99% of Europe's power mix by 2050. And that's realistic! 

Natural Gas Europe also caught up with Ian Duncan, conservative member of European Parliament for the United Kingdom (Scotland).

Mr. Duncan, what's your take on the ongoing negotiations at the climate conference?

I am optimistic. i believe we will make progress. whether we get to 2 degrees will be a real challenge. I think the greater challenge is the monitoring process. How to make sure 
the commitments will be realized. For example, China's carbon emissions have been misrepresented in the past. Here in Europe, we get the Volkswagen scandal on car emissions. The moral, high integrity position the EU occupied in Lima has been completely taken from under its feet. We have to be sure the commitments that are being agreed are realized. From my perspective, it is the serious challenge for everybody here because we do not know what global mechanism could be set and if a global approach will work to deliver.

As a member of the European Parliament, what's your vision in terms of energy mix in Europe and your constituency in Scotland? 

In my constituency, more than half of homes are heated by gas. So going forward, if you are to embrace a zero or low carbon economy, you've got to find a way of helping all of these households which have their gas to change. It would require additional costs and a cultural adjustment, and it's a challenge. So right now I believe we should try to embrace the plan allowing us to continue using gas while also advancing in so many other areas with low carbon renewables and technologies. 

-Kevin Bonnaud