EBA at COP21 Paris

Jan Štambaský, President of EBA, Agata Przadka, Secretary General and Board members David Collins and Philip Lukas attended the COP21 Conference in Paris on Sunday 6th December.   

A large number of people influential in the renewable energy world were present including Miguel Arias Cañete, EU Commissioner for Climate and Energy, Dominique Ristori, EC Director General of Energy, Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, CEOs of Marks and Spencer and Unilever, Energy Ministers from several countries including oil producers and many other industry leaders.

One of the most charismatic speakers was Bertrand Piccard, initiator and pilot of the Solar Impulse aircraft attempting to circumnavigate the world using only solar power.   Bertrand said that it is extremely important to communicate the achievable benefits of renewables that are within reach by businesses and people today; he doubted whether there would be much appetite for sacrifices which will only benefit future generations.   His other message was that innovation really has no limits and that the example he set with Solar Impulse in achieving “the impossible” should be the benchmark for RE research and development.

It was apparent that on the international stage bioenergy and biogas is less well understood in comparison with wind and solar, with little emphasis on the other elements of RE, including heat, cooling and transport.   Renewable electricity generation was dominated the bulk of the conference.  There was, however considerable support for the concept of carbon accounting, which creates a significant opportunity for biogas when its multiple benefits in terms of fertilisers, diversion from landfill and digestion of wastes are taken into account.  As important also is the “BiogasDoneRight” concept which takes AD out of the arena of food v fuel and into a viable way to increase current and future food production by means of recycling nutrients and improving soil quality.

The most moving moment was a short poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner of the Marshall Islands whose population was expelled from the Bikini Islands to make way for nuclear weapons tests after after World War II, and who are now facing sea level rises that are now less than one metre from inundation.   For these people 2 degrees maximum global warming is too great, only 1.5 degrees can give them some hope.

Actions for the future are to move biogas more to the centre stage in future discussions and towards universal acceptance as an essential part of the control of global warming.

Find more information about anaerobic digestion’s and gasification’s contribution to reduced emissions in EU’s transport, agricultural and energy sectors here.