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Past the tipping point

(10 Jun 07) eceee 2007 Summer Study speakers concluded that public attitude and governmental policies promoting energy efficiency had totally changed and gone through the “tipping point”.

With enlightening and motivational addresses from Jean Lemierre (President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), John Llewellyn (Senior Economic Policy Adviser at the international investment bank Lehman Brothers) and Fiona Hall (Member of European Parliament), the biennial Summer Study of eceee held in June in Southern France concluded that since the last meeting in 2005, public attitude and governmental policies promoting energy efficiency had totally changed. In other words, they had gone through the “tipping point” – the time when ideas such as the need to pursue energy saving measures more aggressively become the accepted norm.

Jean Lemierre said that the Bank’s lending policies were very supportive of energy efficiency and between 15–20 % of the bank’s lending to economies in transition in Europe were now for projects involving energy efficiency. Furthermore, he believed that energy rich countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan were now starting to take energy saving seriously for reasons of economic competitiveness, energy security and the environment.

John Llewellyn’s analysis of the business case for climate change had convinced him that not only was the science on climate change real, but that the economic risks of climate change posed meant that policy decisions on a global scale were inevitable. He believed there was around a 65 % chance that such global policy decisions would happen in the next five years. “Firms that recognise the challenge early, and respond imaginatively and constructively, will create opportunities for themselves and thereby prosper”.

Fiona Hall (MEP), the designate rapporteur for the EU Parliament report on the energy efficiency action plan, confirmed that energy efficiency was now viewed by all parties as the most cost-effective way of tackling climate change.

During the conference, there were many detailed presentations showing how energy saving activities were growing in all sectors of the economy. It was concluded that Europe had the policies, technologies and activities to deliver the 20 % energy saving target by 2020 that is required by EU Member States. Indeed, with more aggressive policies this 20 % energy saving target could be met earlier – the need now was to prosecute the existing activities more rapidly. In the words of the theme of the conference – saving energy, just do it!

The Summer Study attracted more than 350 participants, and the proceedings contain more than 230 peer-reviewed papers.

eceee is very grateful for the support given by its partners and contributors. Without this support the 2007 Summer Study would not take place. THANK YOU!

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