Economics, not policy, are likely to drive the low carbon future

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Friends of Europe’s 2015 Climate and Energy Summit was held just weeks before the crucial UN climate change conference in Paris.

According to the panellists, the prospects for a deal on climate finance in Paris are good, with governments and the private sector both keen to see an agreement. However, this is only likely if developed countries meet their commitment to provide $100bn of climate finance per year by 2020.

At the same time, there must be a solid framework with robust rules and a reliable trajectory to a decarbonised economy that encourages investors to put their money into the right areas. For investors, the key is stable and predictable policy regimes which have so far been absent in many countries.

The global energy technology landscape is changing fast: in 2014, for the first time, 50% of new electricity generating capacity came from renewables. The cost of renewable technologies is falling so fast that assumptions that fossil fuels will continue to play a leading role in the years to come are not necessarily justified.

The imperative to decarbonise will create important business opportunities, but there is also a need to prioritise the lowest-cost options.

If Europe is to successfully decarbonise and integrate all the renewable energy capacity that is being developed, a single European energy market is crucial. Sharing energy resources between countries and developing cross-border interconnections can reduce the total amount of capacity needed, enable that capacity to work more efficiently and reduce the need for capacity mechanisms.

A successful energy system requires the trust of citizens as well as trust between nations. However, national governments remain reluctant to cede any sovereignty in this strategic area. This has to change and EU member states need to better co-ordinate their energy strategies.

Read the full report from the summit here.

Visit the event page to see the photo gallery and videos from the summit. You may also listen to podcasts from the event below.

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