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The role of Governments after international climate change agreements are signed


I was recently asked to review the progression of international climate change agreements from the point of view of Governments. While the task was initially daunting, it also provided a reminder that the implementation of integrated policies in relation to energy and climate change relies heavily on governance structures and that energy security should also play a significant part of government policies. The 2016 Paris agreement tried to resolve potential conflicts arising from energy security by granting country parties more flexibility in achieving emissions reductions, but as we have seen from subsequent meetings and COPS there are still significant operational details to be agreed and the 2050 net zero target is under considerable pressure. Not only should Governments implement clear policies supporting renewables and carbon reduction, but Government investment in upgrading energy infrastructure would send very strong messages to the investment community that they are creating a new long-term vision that promotes a new type of sustainable economy. Clear policies and government investment in sustainable infrastructure provide wider benefits beyond reducing greenhouse gases - they also begin to positively impact areas such as health, new technologies, new job opportunities and supporting increased GDP. Moreover, clear policies and government investment provide a high degree of comfort to investors as lifecycle assessments become more quantifiable, thereby encouraging investors to take a longer view of investment returns and support large scale projects such as building new power grids, geothermal plants, etc. With current events highlighting energy security, it is time for Governments to up their game and execute clear and viable renewable strategies that improve energy security and encourage investor participation.