Greg Muttitt, Senior Policy Advisor, Energy Supply, Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Matteo di Castelnuovo, Associate Professor of Practice at SDA Bocconi
Welcome remarks and chair:
Michael LaBelle, Associate Professor and Jean Monnet Chair in Energy and Innovation Strategies, Central European University, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy and Department of Economics and Business
Last year’s extreme weather events such as devastating wildfires, drought and floods were a powerful reminder to why countries should strive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. So how is the world performing? A year ago, the first Production Gap Report revealed the massive fissure between planned fossil fuel production and the global levels needed to limit warming to 1.5°C and 2°C. The 2020 report considers this issue in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the dip in greenhouse gas emission from the COVID-19 economic slowdown, Earth is still heading towards a catastrophic temperature rise above 3°C this century. However, the report raises some hope; as major economies (China, Japan, and South Korea) have pledged to reach net-zero emissions we might have reached a turning point. Countries have a choice of using COVID-19 stimulus and recovery measures to reinforce the fossil fuel industry, or they can implement a green pandemic recovery plan and invest in low-carbon energy and infrastructure. To date, G20 governments have committed over $230 billion in COVID-19 measures to the fossil fuel related sectors, far more than to clean energy (roughly $150 billion).*
Can we catch up on climate action? Could the COVID-19 pandemic lead to relevant changes in the right direction? Are we meeting goals of the Paris Climate Agreement? Can we decrease fossil fuel production and reach the goal of 1.5°C?