Will climate change stay below the 2 degree target in the 21st century on the basis of the COP 21 results? Looking into challenges and opportunities, this paper answers: To stay below the global 2dt is neither a real choice for the world society nor for businesses and civil societies in specific countries. It is a global guideline, scientifically developed for global negotiations, which should be broken down to national interests and actors. Key questions concerning the energy sector from the perspective of national interests are how to create and sustain a momentum for the inevitable energy transition, how to encourage disruptive innovations, avoid lock in effects, enable rapid deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energies etc. Or in other words: how to get to a competitive, economically benign, inclusive, low carbon and risk minimising energy system. With this background the paper argues that "burden sharing" is a misleading perception of strong climate mitigation strategies. It is more realistic to talk about "benefit sharing", using the monetary benefits and co-benefits of climate mitigation (e.g. energy cost savings, revenues from CO2-tax or emission trading systems) to help vulnerable national and international actors to adapt to the unavoidable climate risks. It has to be demonstrated on country level that the technologies and policy mix of strong climate mitigation and risk-minimising actions are indeed "benefit sharing" strategies which should be chosen anyhow, even if there was no climate change. For China and Germany this paper includes basic findings supporting this view.
Peter Hennicke, Manfred Fischedick, Katharina Knoop, Jochen Luhmann, Thomas Fink:
COP 21 Can Become a Turning Point towards Sustainable Energy Systems
Paper on behalf of the Secretariat of the Club of Rome preparing for COP 21
Wuppertal Paper no. 189 (February 2016)