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Key figures in policy, research, and civil society come together to debate what it takes to make the Clean Energy Transition a reality

Brussels – The Clean Energy Transition requires innovative ideas for new technologies but also for transforming our societal model and economy. With the launch of its flagship White Paper on the topic, EERA brings a ground-breaking approach to policymaking and the urgent shift to a net-zero society.

On October 20, the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) organised a high-level policy event “The Clean Energy Transition: From Vision to Reality”. About 200 researchers, academic experts, policymakers, and other relevant stakeholders gathered, both online and in-person, to discuss ideas on driving forward and speedily the Clean Energy Transition at a European level.

EERA’s timely event takes place as numerous scientific reports converge on the closing window and extreme urgency to drastically reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. In Europe, energy represents about 75% of anthropogenic emissions, making it a key piece in addressing climate challenges. Notwithstanding governmental pledges to decarbonise and an unprecedented deployment of clean technologies, global emissions are still relentlessly growing. Ultimately, technologies alone cannot drive the green transition, but are rather one key enabling factor of a broader societal transformation.

This message resonated in the speech of the keynote speakers:

Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, former IPCC Vice-Chair and professor at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve“Humanity still has a choice to stay on a trajectory of rising global temperatures or shoot for a scenario that limits global temperature increasing by 2 degrees Celsius, which is a scenario that is possible to adapt to.”

Philippe Close, Mayor of the City of Brussels“Europe has a role to play on the just transition. Across all Member States, social welfare has significantly improved.  My message is quite simple: we should not have a debate between climate and growth, but we need a different growth – that is based on redistribution of resources.”

A holistic approach to the Clean Energy transition

The conference marked the launch of EERA’s White Paper on the Clean Energy Transition, a landmark contribution to advancing the understanding of the profound implications the transition will have on our economy and society, beyond the deployment of clean energy technologies.

The White Paper is a proposal for breaking existing governance and policy silos calling for an interdisciplinary, holistic, and cross-sectoral transition approach towards climate neutrality. Thus, it presents a conceptual framework for the “Clean Energy Transition” to support policymakers in defining robust, actionable, and efficient pathways towards a just, sustainable, competitive, and climate-neutral society.

Nils Røkke, EERA President“Being a European Research Alliance, our imperative is the European ecosystem and narrative, but the overall narrative works for the planet as such. A key message of the White Paper is synergies and working together from a holistic point of view. It falls within the thinking of Missions and partnerships – as pioneered by the European Commission, and it provides a blueprint for how to tackle the issue at hand in an integrated manner.”

Policymakers, scientists, industries, and civil society all bear an essential responsibility in this race towards net-zero, with research and innovation as key enablers and policymaking as the main driver for change. Only through radical transformation and decisive actions may society sustain a model that upholds fairness within the planetary boundaries.

Adel El Gammal, EERA Secretary-General“Reaching Net Zero in less than 3 decades is clearly a daunting challenge. Not only will we need to multiply current RI&D investment levels for designing and deploying a new clean energy infrastructure; we will also need to create the boundary conditions of a new economy supporting a fair, clean, and sustainable societal model as a whole.”

Watch the full recording of the event.

Download here the White Paper.