Letter Oliver Joy, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Brussels: I read with interest the report on power-generating pavements in London. The US pulling out of the Paris deal is a storm in a teacup in this context. The real answer to the global energy transition and delivering beyond the pledges made in Paris lies with our cities and mayors. Cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 per cent of emissions globally. Mayors and local leaders are truly at the “coal face” of the climate challenge. But without electrification of sectors such as heating, cooling and transport, the problem will never be solved. Mitigation and adaptation measures are important, but energy transition is where the climate battle will be won or lost. Electrifying these sectors will not only reduce emissions but also open cities up as new centres of energy demand. In turn, this will mean that more renewables can come online. Currently, wind and solar plants are being switched off to ensure system stability. But what if that excess power could be sent to our cities instead, so that millions of people can charge their cars with cheap kilowatts rather than petrol? This will mean rolling out more transmission capacity and smart grids so that power generated by wind and solar in remote regions can be delivered to the densely populated urban areas. It will also mean consumers thinking consciously about their consumption patterns and when to boil their kettles. On June 27, Maros Sefcovic, European Commission vice-president for energy union, Michael Bloomberg and Christiana Figueres will meet in Brussels with nine local leaders at the first board meeting of the newly formed Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The initiative is an allia nce of more than 7,400 cities and local governments worldwide on climate action. One thing is for sure, if we don’t open up and electrify our cities, it will be like driving the global energy transition with the handbrake on.
FT 13th June 2017 read more »