Climate Change

The world has changed since COP26. The climate summit's president, Alok Sharma, on where the energy transition goes from here

British President for COP26 Alok Sharma walks at Downing Street, in London, Britain, February 21, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

Special Agenda Dialogue: COP26 President Alok Sharma addresses the World Economic Forum. Image: REUTERS/Tom Nicholson

Simon Torkington
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Climate Change

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • The President of COP26 says redrawing energy supplies in light of the Ukraine conflict is an opportunity to accelerate renewable production.
  • Western nations are diversifying their energy supplies to reduce reliance on Russian gas and oil.
  • Alok Sharma says large-scale private sector investment will be needed to fund the energy transition.
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The COP26 climate summit concluded just four months ago with net-zero commitments from 153 countries covering 90% of the global economy. There was cautious optimism and a realization that much more would be required to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

That optimism is now more fragile than ever. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has started a war that has upended assumptions about global energy supply. Western European nations are committing to end their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, and timelines for ending the use of coal are being stretched. But where should renewable fit into these hastily redrawn energy strategies?

Speaking at a World Economic Forum Special Agenda Dialogue, the President of COP26, Alok Sharma said governments now have an opportunity to bring forward green energy targets as they diversify their supply options:

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The Managing Director of the World Economic Forum's Center for Climate and Nature, Gim Huay Neo, said it was important to maintain a focus on net-zero targets and the achievements of COP26. She outlined a three-point strategy for delivering on climate commitments:

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With energy prices soaring as a result of the war in Ukraine, governments are looking to invest more in home-grown energy production. The upfront capital costs for energy projects are high, as this report from the International Energy Agency highlights. Alok Sharma agrees with the IEA analysis that much of the funding for the energy transition will need to come from the private sector:

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With the challenges thrown up by the war in Ukraine adding to the already huge task of achieving net zero by 2050, Gim Huay Neo urged stakeholders to remain positive and harness the full spectrum of human innovation:

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You can watch the full discussion with Alok Sharma and Gim Huay Neo here.

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Related topics:
Climate ChangeEnergy Transition
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