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Energy transition - have global crises stalled progress on climate goals?

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Can the world achieve energy transition in the time we have left? Image: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Robin Pomeroy
Podcast Editor, World Economic Forum
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Davos Agenda

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • The World Economic Forum has taken stock of global progress towards clean, affordable, secure energy.
  • The Ukraine crisis has created even more challenges for the transition as the world emerges from the pandemic.
  • Read the full report here and hear the authors and other experts discuss the main points on the podcast.
  • Subscribe to Radio Davos.

The World Economic Forum has been tracking global progress on the ‘energy transition’ for a decade and has just released a special report, Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022, looking at where things stand at this extraordinary moment in history.

The transition is the move away from fossil fuels that cause the climate crisis, while ensuring people around the world can get access to reliable, affordable energy.

In this podcast, we listen in on a discussion of the issues, with Roberto Bocca, head of the Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure at the World Economic Forum.

The other panelists are Muqsit Ashraf, Senior Managing Director and Global Energy Lead, Accenture; Dev Sanyal, Chief Executive Officer, VARO Energy; and Jesse Scott, International Director, Agora Energiewende and Adjunct Professor, Hertie School. The moderator is journalist John Defterios.

Have you read?

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022

John Defterios, Professor of Business, NYU Abu Dhabi and WEF Energy Fellow: Welcome to our session on Fostering an Effective Energy Transition 2022, I'm John Defterios. It's a pleasure to chair this dialogue at such a critical window in time. This special edition builds on the WEF's Energy Transition Index, which I encourage everyone watching to read and read carefully.

The latest assessment by the IPCC underscores the need to peak global greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and for them to decline rapidly thereafter. Easier said than done with a challenging mix, I would say, of environmental, macroeconomic and geopolitical factors that we're witnessing today. It's all about responding to short term emergencies while planning for the medium and long term to tackle the biggest challenge of our generation, perhaps of our lifetime. And that, of course, is climate change.

We have a terrific panel, let me formally introduced them first: Roberto Bocca, the head of Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials and Infrastructure for the World Economic Forum; Muqsit Ashraf is a senior managing director and Global Energy Lead for Accenture, which is the co-author of this special edition; Dev Sanyal is the chief executive officer of VARO Energy based in Switzerland; and Jesse Scott is the international director of Agora Energiewende and adjunct professor of Hertie School. It's great to have you all.

But I wanted to bring in Roberto and Muqsit first because you've worked on this report together. It is a special edition. At this juncture, what are we learning about the pace of the transition and the external challenges that I was referring to in my opening comments? Roberto?

Pace of the energy transition

Roberto Bocca, Head of Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure, World Economic Forum: Thank you, John. The current context highlights the need for a rapid energy transition and not only from the climate but also from the security point of view. In our report, as we have done for several areas, we underline the need to address the transition in a holistic manner, including and beyond the environmental dimension. So this is point one.

Point two, what we are seeing in the analysis in our report is that we are seeing progress in the transition, but this progress is not fast enough and is also not resilient enough to the increased volatility of the current environment - economic, geopolitical, environmental. So progress, yes, but not fast enough and not resilient enough.

And point three is that many decision that we are seeing at the moment are addressing the supply side of the energy system, and that is what needs to happen. But in our report, we underline in great detail the opportunity and the need to address also the demand side, to transform the way energy is consumed at an individual level for all of us and at industrial level. And then when we look at the demand side, we also underline the importance of taking care of the most vulnerable, those people in energy poverty with low or no access to affordable energy in emerging markets, but also in mature markets,

So to conclude, it is critical that the transition addresses all the imperatives of the energy system, the sustainability, the security, and the affordability. Back to you, John.

John Defterios: Roberto, thanks very much. You flagged some topics I want to raise later in the conversation, that is: what we should expect from COP27 in Egypt and COP28 taking place in the UAE, and that balance between the energy transition and providing access. I think the narrative may change with those two meetings in the Middle East. Let's bring in Muqsit and glean what you think is happening in the energy transition. The question I always get asked by everybody that's involved in this arena, does it slow down because of the shocks I talked about, Muqsit?

'Dual diversification' for energy

Muqsit Ashraf, Senior Managing Director and Global Energy Industry Lead at Accenture: Let me just build on what Roberto said, which would start to address your questions as well. One of the aspects that Robert ended on was around energy security. And it's clear from the work we have done that that has emerged, to answer your question, as a key concern for many of the countries that weren't as much thinking about it, of late at least.

It's very clear that you cannot de-link energy transition or energy sustainability from energy security.

Muqsit Ashraf, Senior Managing Director and Global Energy Industry Lead at Accenture

What we've found is that a 'dual diversification', as we call it, of supply is extremely important. That is diversification of supply partners in the short term. And then also a diversification of the supply mix of the sources of energy in the long term can reduce the exposure countries have to the availability of energy.

The second aspect that has emerged is it's very clear that you cannot de-link energy transition or energy sustainability from energy security. And so there might be a little bit of a rethink around 'should we go brown or should we go green in the short term', but it's very clear that energy, clean energy, can be a win-win scenario for countries from a security and sustainability standpoint. Diversifying the energy mix with domestic renewables and other low carbon energy sources will drive down the need for energy imports and contribute to two climate goals as well.

A very important third aspect that we touched on this time in the work we did is the role of industry. Industries contribute about 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and they are the ones that really face massive challenges to decarbonise. So they need help and they require an ambitious multi-stakeholder collaboration. That is going to be very important for them to bring out-of-box solutions. We're exploring several of these models in the report that you mentioned.

Overall, it's very clear that slow and steady at this point is not going to win the race. There is a need to urgently accelerate the energy transition. And that was very clear, irrespective of which geopolitical circumstances and or any other disruptions, including ones emerging from the pandemic.

And the current market scenario, as volatile as it is, it actually really presents a unique opportunity to really supercharge the energy transition by building a resilience in the energy systems.

I guess a final point being, winning the race will require stakeholders at every level to really step up and work together on ramping up clean energy investments, decarbonising industries and also reaching the end consumer demand. And I think that's exactly the reason why what we are facing actually offers an opportunity to accelerate the energy transition.

Slow and steady at this point is not going to win the race. There is a need to urgently accelerate the energy transition.

Muqsit Ashraf, Senior Managing Director and Global Energy Industry Lead at Accenture

John Defterios: You talked about how is the industry responding. Let's bring in the CEO of VARO Energy that produces high quality products for the European market. Give us a sense, with oil prices at $100 a barrel and we see the the surge in gas prices over the last 18 months, how do you respond to it? Are there challenges in the transition? Do you say: look, there's a lot of money on the table, so I'm going to keep my head down and keep that cash cow coming in, providing the milk or the money to shareholders? How do you play it Dev?

Democratisation, decarbonisation and digitalisation of energy

Dev Sanyal, Chief Executive Officer, VARO Energy: I think when you take a step back, I think there is going to be a trend that has not been really in the forefront over the course of the last few years, which I believe is going to be the democratisation of energy. What I mean by that, I think you're going to see less of dependence on a few suppliers for many, many consumers. So I think you're going to see more and more diversification, more and more opportunities for new energy sources to develop as we move forward.

Because I think what this current crisis, this terrible crisis, has demonstrated is that there is an asymmetry between producers and consumers, and that cannot remain in perpetuity. In fact, there is going to be an acceleration of changing that. And I think therefore today, any CEO of any company, any energy company, has to look at two dimensions, which is energy security, as well as the energy transition, because of this velocity around the democratisation of energy, which, if you take a step back, won't occur on the basis of recreating the past. It will be about creating a new future, which means we will also see the 'second D', which is decarbonisation. And that I think will be also enabled by the 'third D' which is digitalisation. Why again create the past? Create the future.

When we take a step back in our company, obviously what is first and foremost is making sure we provide the energy security. But we cannot just stay there. We have to move forward because we believe there's going to be an acceleration in terms of energy transition and we are doing that in our own portfolio.

So there are four things we are really focussed on. The first is re-emphasising the current narrative around security, but that is actually looking at both the perspective of providing security but also reducing carbon as well as ensuring efficiencies. We are operating in our own system at 98% reliability in the time it really matters.

The second dimension is repurposing, which is about how do you take the existing infrastructure rather than just build new infrastructure? How do you restructure that, repurpose it, for the new transition, which means things like moving from grey to green hydrogen, looking at bioprocessing, etc..

The third dimension is reshaping the portfolio. The world needs 30% more energy over the course of the next two decades, and that's a story of prosperity. It's a good thing. So how do you reshape your portfolio leaning forward into the future?

And the final 'R': reinventing customer solutions. How do you actually provide customers, all of whom announced net zero targets, how do you provide them both the security they need to prosper, but also enable them to be successful in the energy transition, and that's what we at VARO are really focussed on.

Market share of top five energy commodity producers
Market share of top five energy commodity producers Image: WEF

John Defterios: Let's bring in Jessie Scott. In my opening comments, professor, I talked about this need for access, particularly in Africa. We've made great progress over the last 10 years in particular. We had 1 billion people around the world without access on a daily basis to energy, about 770 million today, but 600 million are in Africa. And I said that COP27 is going to take place representing Africa, in Egypt, in Sharm el Sheikh. Does that come higher on the priority list here right now? And can you balance the two with the acceleration of an energy transition or not, Jesse?

Finance for energy supplies in developing countries

Jesse Scott: Well, thank you, John. You're absolutely right. We face dual challenges, dual goals. Clearly we need to reduce emissions, and we need to enable development. Fundamental to development is access to energy. It's very difficult to do anything else if you don't have energy. To be educated. To refrigerate food. To develop a business.

COVID hasn't helped. And in some parts we're actually seeing receding access to energy. Why is that? Well, prices have become too high for some of the world's poorest in the economic crisis of COVID. So there are some places where supply is available, but the poorest can't afford it.

The bigger challenge is getting out additional supply to places where there really isn't the system to provide the access. Biggest thing we need there is help from rich economies with the cost of money for renewables, for grids, for the big projects that have to happen. And it's the cost of the money that's the barrier. To operate, these technologies are the cheapest. It's the finance. And in particular, it's the finance in markets that are perceived as risky.

I think we also need to look at some business models. It's easier to do this with not just Western companies coming in, building stuff, operating it from afar, but also with co- ownership by communities, opportunities for local businesses. That creation of local green jobs, that's fundamental to making the case that we can have a just transition from fossil fuel economy, particularly coal-intensive regions, to the green economy.

This brings me to think about one key question that's been affected by the war, which is the question about the future role of gas. For many years we talked about a gas bridge. We would have less emissions-intensive coal, more less-emissions intensive gas en route to renewables. I think both the technologies have overtaken that situation. We're now looking really at a coal-to-renewables switch in many places. And the issue of gas prices. There are some places, particularly in Africa, where you will see new gas projects, but really where there's a local opportunity. What emerging economies do not want to do is become dependent on gas imports denominated in U.S. dollars, where they have weak currencies, and that creates a series of risks. So there's an access issue, there's a macroeconomic issue, a cost of finance issue, and they're all very, very closely linked.

John Defterios: Just a quick follow up, if I may, Jesse. We had [European Commission President] Ursula von der Leyen go to Senegal, for example, and they have these natural gas reserves they want to get onto the market, Mozambique, Tanzania. And the original message before the conflict that we have with Russia and Ukraine or the war, the message was 'we don't want to lend to hydrocarbon projects', but then we hear, of course, energy and nuclear are going to be transition options for the European Union. This doesn't square for Africa. If you talk to those ministers, and I have, they said this just doesn't work for us. How would you answer that?

Jesse Scott: Well, I think a key question is what you can build fast. So some of those gas projects have been talked about for 40 years or more. Maybe the market conditions are now right. Nuclear projects - there's never yet been a nuclear project built on budget, on time anywhere in the world. As a climate person, I'll be a lot more interested in nuclear when that's happened.

Really the big opportunity I think we should be talking about from Europe that does match our goals, that does match African opportunities, is something I recently had a conversation with the Kenyan energy minister about, which is the opportunity to use renewables to produce electro-fuels - Power-to-X electrolysis process to produce green ammonia. Now, Kenya's a big agricultural economy, it needs the ammonia, but you can also burn ammonia in most gas fired power plants. We could do with some of that in Europe at the moment. So let's just not talk about natural gas. Let's talk about the green gases that we can produce from renewables and find alignments there.

How does the high oil price affect the energy transition?

John Defterios: Okay. Thanks very much, Roberto, let's bring you back in and discuss the elephant in the room. Because of the conflict, oil prices hovering above $100 a barrel. There's great demand post-pandemic here. And the surge, rising inflation, what does that do to the energy transition and very importantly, what's WEF encouraging next to take place.

Roberto Bocca: I think the current crisis has exacerbated the the existing fragility of the energy system, I think that's been said already. So there's really the need for this transition - that's the first thing that the conflict has underlined. And in terms of what needs to be done, earlier Muqsit referred to all the elements of diversification. Clearly that [is] the immediate action that can be taken. There is a second one that is immediately possible to take. It is about efficiency. When you look at what happened in the aftermath of the Fukushima accident, you have seen Japan reducing dramatically their consumption of energy through efficiency measures. So it's possible to take immediate action on efficiency.

And then maybe a bit medium term, a bit later on, but starting now, there is this dimension of legally binding commitments. Energy transition is cyclical with different governments. So how you can firmly put in long lasting commitment the transition decision that needs to be made now, so they are not subject to electoral cycles or other cycles. So I think these are the immediate things that can be done and need to be done.

John Defterios: So they almost have to go into a special category, Roberto, is that what you're saying here? That you pass it in government, it's locked in, and you can't fiddle with it with a change of administration or leadership?

Renewable energy investment by country
Renewable energy investment by country Image: WEF

Roberto Bocca: Correct. I think there is this dimension also, if you are an investor, it would be interesting to hear from Dev. Any company appreciates stability and visibility so that you can do investment, you can make investment and then you know what is going to go, your investment, your return, as opposed to continuously changing and creating more uncertainty. And that speaks also to the point of Jesse on the difference in cost of capital in different geographies. It's important to have that stability both on the cost of capital, but also on the legislation. And the two go together.

Where should energy investment be going?

John Defterios: In fact let's bring Dev in, because you had these wild swings before the pandemic with the ESG concerns driven from Wall Street and the city of London, and capital was flooding into renewables but then we didn't invest in oil. Then we had a snap back, as we saw because of the the surge after the pandemic. Is it important for governments and even bankers to say: here is a very clear pathway, medium term mapping that we don't do very well today, as opposed to the wild swings? I'd love to get your viewpoint, Dev, and then we'll bring Muqsit in.

Dev Sanyal: I think, John, there's a reason why we call it energy 'transition', because it doesn't go from A to B overnight. So this is not like telephony. When I was a kid in India, we had 10 million fixed line phones. You know, 30 years later, we still have around 10 million fixed line phones. We've got 800 million mobile phones. That's rapid transformation - jagged edged transformation. The energy system is a lot more complex and there's a transition that's required.

That doesn't mean we actually go slow. In fact, the current events prove that if there's too much asymmetry, then you're going to be highly reliant on a few producers, and that cannot be a good narrative for any nation state that is a consumer.

So I think you will see the acceleration. The question is therefore not the end. Everyone agrees that we do need to move faster and swifter towards a net zero world. The question is the how. And that's why I think it's important to think about the pathways, as you referred to it, I think is very important. So the question is, what can you do with the existing infrastructure?

I think there's a massive opportunity in that respect. How do you think about, you know, bio? Do you just build new bio refineries, build new hydrogen manufacturing sites, or do you start repurposing existing infrastructure? Very, very important. And that's not just in manufacturing. That's also, as you think about transporting these new energy forms, you can use the gas pipeline system to transport hydrogen, for example.

I think the second dimension that is really important is to really get clear about what is the way to de-risk the business. And this is the point Jesse was making, which is, I think, a very good one. If you can create an investable proposition, investors come. It's as simple as that. So the investment proposition is about providing a pathway towards, revenue growth, revenue sources. And that means if you can create that sort of financing flow, you create, again, the velocity of money that goes into the sector.

The third is let's get really clear about how do you move from A to B. There is clearly a role that gas has got, which has been recently acknowledged that will play a very important role. It doesn't mean that you don't look at the ways and means to further decarbonise and look at ways to go to maintain and measure and reduce methane. One has to look at those mechanisms because that will then result in the transition bridge, in the case of gas over time to hydrogen.

And the fourth area that I think is really, really important is to also make sure that we have the ability to build the new forms of production that will be vital as we look at growth. Because the truth is, this is a growth industry. I think it has to be approached in a slightly different way to the past. I mean, think of it, for a millennium we've had one dominant source of energy. I think that's done. We've got to more diversification, which Muqsit referred to, and therefore massive opportunities to create more of a symmetry between producers and consumers.

Sources of electricity generation
Sources of electricity generation Image: WEF

John Defterios: Dev, I remember the OPEC secretary general and others part of the OPEC+ were saying we're underinvesting in oil and gas and rushing in the transition and we're going to have a shock in energy prices, particularly with this post-pandemic recovery. So Muqsit, can you now, after this experience that we've seen, and then you layer on top of it the Russia-Ukraine war that we're seeing right now, can you have this equal weighting between the energy transition and energy security where actually you can say we have to factor them in all the time, you can't have one and not the other.

Muqsit Ashraf: I guess the answer, John, is that we should, but there isn't a really clear calculus of how you actually create that balance. I think what is very evident is that this energy transition is as much a demand side driven one as it has to be a supply side driven one.

This energy transition is going to entail some pain. As someone once said, life is plesant and death is peaceful - the transition between the two is painful. And this this energy transition is going to be painful because of the complexity it involves, the different nodes it hits, and unfortunately there isn't a clear calculus, but I think there's a realisation that there will have to be a gradual phasing down of of hydrocarbon energy sources and a gradual phasing up of our cleaner energy sources, both by adjusting demand and also improving the economics of supply.

The one last point I would make, John, is the transition is not just going to happen by shifting towards wind and solar. Wind and solar primarily contribute towards the electricity side of the energy system, which today is at somewhere between 20-25% of the overall energy system. You need a range of technology: you hydrogen, you need sustainable fuels, you need carbon capture. And if you look at any of those technologies, they've been there for multiple decades. And the extent of progress that's been made has been very limited.

Long-term thinking

John Defterios: Is there a huge gap here between ambition and action, to Muqsit's point, though, Jesse? Because I think consumers don't expect to pay a price for the transition, at least in the developed world, and they may get a sticker shock and they're getting a shock now because of rising energy prices and inflation. And number two, it just seems like it's a very slow pace that they cannot believe in. Is that a fair comment?

Jesse Scott: I think it is. I went to COP26. It was a very mixed experience. We had these fantastic headlines. Pretty much everybody is now saying they've a long term net zero commitment. Great. But I spent time with climate scientists. They were very much in the glass is half empty mindset. Fine. Big words. Where's the action plan? Where's the actual real world impact on the emissions that we're tracking?


I think we're facing, you're absolutely right, a bunch of pain points ahead. And in Europe, we've been discussing, in the context of the war. the virtue of crisis as a way of focussing on transition. And I think we've learnt a few things from what a crisis can do to help us and not help us.

The positive is it shows that energy is an issue that heads of government need to think about. This is not an issue you can just leave to energy ministers and markets.

The second thing is it's reminded us indeed that the only thing you can do quickly is efficiency through consumption reduction, and that has macroeconomic effects.

We know that everything else needs a bit of forward planning. Building out new energy infrastructures for pretty much any kind of fuel is something that takes 5 to 10 years. That planning concept is crucial because if we're going to accelerate, we need equipment manufacturers to be confident in planning to scale up - times three, times five with some of the renewable technologies. And I'm not sure they're fully convinced yet in the whole set of supply chain issues attached to that.

We also need clarity. People have been using the word pathways. And it's true there are several different potential pathways because the future is very, very heterogeneous. So Dev sitting in a company is having to make judgement calls about the companies he does business with, the people he buys from, the people he sells to, the equipment that he uses, and whether they see the same pathway that he sees. There's an uncertainty which needs, I think, a little more guidance from the policy community.

That brings me finally to thinking about some of the things we're not doing. I fully agree it's not just a wind and solar story. We can do a lot of wind and a lot of solar. We can electrify a lot of loads directly, indirectly using the Power-to-X hydrogen I've mentioned. But we underuse geothermal technologies. That's absolutely a finance issue. They're incredibly cheap to run, but you have to build them. And that's a CapEx issue. And we have that supply chain problem again there where we need to have an enormous increase in drilling rigs and a change to business models around how you have those drilling rigs operate.

So it's great to have the commitments. It's great to have a discussion about pathways. But then we get into the nitty gritty and there's a lot of work ahead there for policymakers, for business.

Partnerships for energy transition

John Defterios: Yes, indeed. Roberto, we have to triple capacity by 2050 to hit the commitments in the Paris Climate agreement. That seems like a very steep hill. And you've got your head in this transition 100% of your time today. Are you frustrated by the snail's pace.

In the next 10 years we want to do radical changes. So we need all the elements, the funding, the legislation, etc. We also need one other element - a paradigm shift in partnerships.

Roberto Bocca, Head of Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy, Materials, and Infrastructure, World Economic Forum

Roberto Bocca: That's one of the outcomes of our report. There is progress, but it's too slow. And to your point, there is a huge gap between statement and action. Maybe counter-intuitively there is one element that can help address this. And if you think of our energy systems and our industrial systems, they've been built, and improved, rationalised, over decades and decades, 70 years or more, to improve how chemical plants work, how refineries works, and so on and so forth.

Now we are saying in the next 10 years we want to do radical changes. So we need all the elements we discussed, the funding, the legislation, etc. We also need one other element - a paradigm shift in partnerships. We have to accept that part of that pain is to accept that we need to have a partnership that will challenge maybe antitrust element or other elements that are impeding the speed. Because here we are talking about accelerating. So we need more cooperation between customers and suppliers. We need more collaboration within industry, across industry and across stakeholders.

There is initiative that we are supporting here at the Forum called the First Movers Coalition where effectively the demand sector is giving clear signals - we commit to buying green products - and that will help the production side, the supplier side to reduce the cost that will green the element so that you can accelerate the reduction in costs for those solutions that today that are uneconomical.

So I think this paradigm shift in collaboration, even if we are in the phase in which we we talk about the challenges about collaboration, there is a need to really step that up across industry and across sectors.


John Defterios: Dev, I'd love to get your thoughts on the lack of mapping and the overdependence, for example, on Russia for natural gas coming in to Europe. You know, both governments and industry seem to be lacking medium and longer term planning that I talked about a bit earlier. Was it somewhat foolish not to harvest the potential natural gas from Eastern Europe? I talked about the natural gas in Africa as transition fuels. I'm not saying we have this over dependency on it, but did we really think it was a wise idea to not diversify sources of energy for the security of supply?

Dev Sanyal: I've been in industry for a while, as you can see by the colour of my hair. And this is my fifth price shock and this one is actually a supply driven shock. And the reality, of course, is that this is a story of effectively a supply dislocation that has been caused not by just the events of the last few months, the tragic events the last few months, but also, frankly, by the lack of diversification in the many, many years before. So I think when you look back, there are clearly lessons to be learnt because we would not be in this position had we had a more diversified energy mix.

The question really is how do you move forward? And one thing, as someone once said, you know, there are many ways to move forward, only one way to stand still. So we cannot standstill. The question is going to be how do we forward? And I think there has to be a narrative around how do you create the infrastructure for imported gas? Because there has been an overreliance on Russian gas, but also overreliance on piped gas. So therefore, that is one key dimension, not as an end state, but as a means to an end. And I actually think there's a massive opportunity, hydrogen.

The priorities for COP27 and COP28

John Defterios: I want to ask this one question to all five of us here together around the table. And that is the expectations or the demands at COP27 and 28. What sort of signals do we need to have come out of these COPS that the consumer buys into it, but industry gets a very clear indication where we're going?

Jesse Scott: I think there's two signals. The first is we still have a lot of economic models, even models about decarbonisation, where we refer to something called the 'business as usual' scenario. Under climate change, if we do not decarbonise, it's so disruptive there is no business as usual. We see enormous impacts, particularly on water. Too much. Too little. Wrong time. Wrong place. Floods and droughts. That has impacts on food. That has impacts on everything else.

If we can get away from this concept that there is a status quo business as usual, that will help us focus on the fact that the future, as been said in the discussion earlier, is very, very different from the past. I think we're not completely there yet despite the discussions about targets.

The second thing is we need commitments to be delivered on that have been talked about for the last 10 years from the rich economies to help developing economies financially. Frankly, trust in that process is now quite low in most developing economies. A big announcement just before COP26 with an energy transition partnership with South Africa. Now there's lots of work going on with that, but there isn't yet the money committed, there isn't yet the plan. I hope we'll see it for COP27 because that was treated as a fantastic precedent, not just in Pretoria but around the world. Now we need to see that it doesn't become a negative precedent because it didn't deliver.

John Defterios: Muqsit, what are you looking for from your vantage point at Accenture?

Muqsit Ashraf: First and foremost, I think the lessons from COP26, one of them was that all of the key stakeholders need to be at the table. Having all of the key stakeholders at the table is extremely important to have the productive dialogue that needs to happen.

The second aspect is there wasn't a lot of discussion, as I said before, around the map. I think there are a lot of innovations in play that have to be re-emphasised including simple ones around efficiency, which I would regard as a low hanging fruit, which did not take place as much in the last year, which need to happen much more so in in the next two COPs.

The third aspect is, as Roberto said, around collaboration for emerging frontier technologies. What was encouraging in COP26 was the extent of innovation that was showcased, but there wasn't really a mechanism to bring together a lot of disparate parties and entities that were working on these collaborations, whether they are in the negative emission space or in the generation development of new fuels. And how do you actually foster those collaboration, not just think about investment, but how do you bring those communities together?

And then the last thing I think we all have to realise is there is a significant risk that we may overshoot the 1.5 degrees Celsius at least in the short to medium term. So there has to be a dialogue around adaptation. And I think that's a topic that should be also part of the next two COPs, how does the world adapt to potentially a temperature increase, at least in the medium term, which may exceed what we all want it to be to stay below?

John Defterios: Dev, can you do it in a minute? What would you like to see from industry coming up at Sharm el-Sheikh and thereafter in Abu Dhabi?

Dev Sanyal: I think there are four dimensions one has to look at. One is what I call transactions. How do we make the current system better? Which is reduce costs, reduce carbon.

The second is transition. How do we actually invest and businesses on the pathway towards the future?

The third dimension is transformation. So from gas to hydrogen would be transformation.

And the fourth thing, which is very important, which is societal narrative - how do you make it tangibly good for people - affordability, access. These are very important dimensions. Just having the economic factors without the social I don't think creates the right narrative. And so you can get these four Ts I think we would be on a very different path for the ones we've been on hitherto.

John Defterios: Very interesting, because the net zero language doesn't seem to resonate with anyone out there, so the consumer doesn't understand it. Roberto, what are your thoughts here? I know you're looking for collaboration and you're pushing the envelope at the World Economic Forum. What are your expectations here for the next two COPs?

Roberto Bocca: Let me just talk one aspect, because many have been covered. This element of public-private commitments and clear plans for investment where most of the demand is and will grow - emerging markets, the industrial system, and in the city ecosystems. If we can get the public and the private with clear plans to invest in those ecosystems and in those region, I believe we'll go a long way to address this paradigm shift that we are talking about in terms of the energy transition.

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