Technologies for the energy transition
To address the challenge of using the energy transition as a means to decarbonize the economy, we must rely on low-carbon technologies.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere are increasing primarily due to human action and our consumption of fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy is the largest contributing factor to climate change, making up around 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Ninety per cent of those emissions are CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, and 9% are methane (CH4) emissions from the extraction, transformation, and distribution of oil and gas.
The energy sector must play an essential role in addressing the global challenge of climate change as it contributes the greatest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, but it's not alone. The industrial, transport, agriculture, and livestock sectors also make up a large part of those emissions. Therefore, if we want to reach sustainability goals for contributing to the fight against climate change, we must take on an important transformation process to decarbonize the economy, that is, seek new forms of energy that have low or null-CO2 emissions, the primary greenhouse gas.
In recent years, we've observed that the energy mix – where the energy we consume comes from – has experienced a significant change, primarily due to environmental commitments taken on by several countries. We moved from an energy mix where renewable energy contributed relatively little to one where these energy sources become fundamental for the energy transition by progressively replacing fossil fuels.
The strong penetration of renewable energy sources can be explained thanks to recent advances in technology and innovation. Photovoltaic energy that takes advantage of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources is already a part of our daily life but it can be further developed considerably.
We have a great challenge before us and we must commit to all low-emissions technologies in fields such as:
What is technological neutrality?
In this innovative process to develop new, more sustainable technologies, there isn't a single solution but rather many that complement each other; and we must make way so that each economic sector has the freedom to develop the most appropriate technology to meet the decarbonization challenges it faces.
For this, it will be necessary to implement solutions depending on the needs of each economic sector: industry, transport, agriculture, and electricity, and these areas must commit to developing low-carbon technologies without affecting competitiveness in the global economy.
Likewise, governments must encourage important partnerships based on science and technology, including businesses, investors, and citizens. And, most importantly, they must remain technologically neutral. That is to say, they should back those options that allow us to reduce the most tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest cost for society and citizens and that have the greatest positive impact on industry and job creation.
All of the technologies should be able to compete on equal playing grounds so that sectors have the freedom of offering the most suitable solutions to decarbonization for their economic sector.