Notes on a talk given by Christiana Figueres (ex-Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) at the Energy Lab 02:
[some extra comments in square brackets]
Technological innovation is happening, and it is happening at a rate which is very promising; much quicker than we expected.
This innovation has five characteristics or needs.
1) Technology is developing exponentially.
Every time the International Energy Agency makes a prediction about the use and price of renewables it is wrong. It underestimates their success. It is not used to dealing with this level of innovation.
The price of offshore wind is now 50% cheaper than it was expected to be by 2030.
Electric cars are taking off [everywhere but Australia were they are taxed as luxury items]
Volvo, Jaguar, Landrover, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen have all said that they will stop making internal combustion engines soon.
China may prohibit internal combustion sales. India aspires to all new cars being electric by 2030
2) However this change is not automatic
Change is intentional. We have to keep asking what do we need to do. We need to help the change happen. This is the space for individual action and policy thinking.
3) Technological change has to be comprehensive.
Everything we do is affected by energy and climate change. So the changes have to affect every sector (food, transport, IT etc). It is everyone’s responsibility. Nothing can be sheltered indefinately.
4) Technological Change is Symbiotic
Innovations in one area relate to changes in another. For example there is a relationship between the grid, renewables and electric vehicles. Cars need batteries, as does the grid. Innovations in batteries make both cars and grid better. Perhaps grid storage could be in distributed car batteries?
5) Technology needs to be restorative
We need to be able to repair damage to land, air and water. Otherwise we are going to find it hard to keep people alive.
[It is cheaper not to damage the environment in the first place. No more mining in agricultural zones, water catchment areas or in artesian basins]