Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation analyses the role of businesses in negotiations on climate change

A conference organised in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment highlighted the importance of achieving concrete commitments from the states that make up the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP21).

GAS NATURAL FENOSA CEO Rafael Villaseca calls for priority to be given to industrial competitiveness as the only possible way to make climate and environmental targets sustainable.

La Fundación Gas Natural Fenosa analiza el papel de las empresas en las negociaciones sobre el cambio climático

Secretary of State for the Environment under Spain's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment Pablo Saavedra and Gas Natural Fenosa CEO Rafael Villaseca opened the 14th International Conference on Energy and the Environment: Companies and Climate Change. Just days ahead of the Paris Climate Summit, the meeting addressed the role of companies in the process of achieving important international climate change agreements.

In his speech, GAS NATURAL FENOSA CEO Rafael Villaseca stressed that companies can be a very important and essential part of the solution to climate change through their technological and economic experience and know-how; he also indicated that the energy industry needs to receive a strong and clear signal from the Paris Climate Summit. On this topic, Villaseca stated that the European Union must make a special effort to give priority to business competitiveness as the "only possible way to make climate and environmental targets sustainable”.

The event was attended by over 150 professionals from companies, engineering firms, universities and public authorities. During the conference, experts analysed the challenges posed to the energy sector by reducing emissions of pollutants while maintaining world economic growth, increasing energy security and providing energy to those still in need.

Moreover, throughout the conference it was underlined that the success of the COP21 be measured by its ability to reach an ambitious and binding international climate agreement that holds global temperature increases below 2 ºC over pre-industrial levels.

On this point, the Director General of the Spanish Office on Climate Change under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment Valvanera Ulargui spoke about the differences in climate change negotiations of recent years, and specifically, the differences between the Copenhagen and Paris summits.

The role of companies and technological innovation

Director of Energy and Climate of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) María Mendiluce mentioned that for the first time in climate change negotiations, companies will be presenting their emissions reduction plans and collaboration projects for rolling out low-carbon technologies. She indicated that a recent PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report calculated that the initiative on low-carbon technology developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65% between now and 2030.

The International Energy Agency's Energy Technology Policy Division Program Manager Daniele Poponi explained that with current policies in place, carbon emissions tied to energy would exceed 50 gigatons of CO2 in 2050 (nearly three times above desired levels) and the identified regulation and cooperation strategies that would be necessary to push forward innovation in areas such as renewable energy, carbon sequestration and capture, and improvements to industrial sectors with intensive energy use. She also explained how emerging economies like China could promote the successful transition to low-carbon technology.

Funding and verification

Director of the World Bank Group's International Finance Corporation Stephanie Miller shared the perspective of the World Bank on public and private mechanisms that can enable the development of programmes for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, giving concrete examples in which the Bank has successfully intervened around the world, especially in the poorest countries.

Meanwhile, Climate Strategy & Partners Director General Peter Sweatman described some of the private funding initiatives for climate change mitigation programmes in developing countries.

Finally, International Institute of Rights and the Environment (IIDMA) Director Ana Barreira explained the key role of verification in securing effective and successful financing. It is based on the experience gained in both Clean Development Mechanisms and in other international fields of negotiation unrelated to climate change.

The Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation

The Gas Natural Fenosa Foundation, founded in 1992, targets its activity at the promotion of information, training and increased social awareness on improving energy efficiency and technological innovation in the field of energy while respecting and protecting the environment, and promotes cultural activities through the Gas Museum aimed at preserving and spreading knowledge about the historical and cultural heritage of the sector. It also has a programme to support exports for small and medium-sized enterprises. Its international activities are carried out in Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Morocco, Italy, Moldova and South Africa.

Madrid (Spain), 19 Nov 2015

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