Francesco Starace: The future is closer than we think
by Francesco Starace, CEO Enel, @EnelGroup
So here we are - coming towards the end of the Paris climate summit, one of the most important COPs we have had so far. And as we wait for the final agreement to be signed and the negotiations to come to a close, I am confident Paris has already given a strong positive signal to the world markets.
The transition to the low-carbon economy has already become inevitable: businesses and investors are embracing this direction, and they are acting now to make the most of this revolution.
There is no shortage of evidence that this signal has clearly been heard here at the COP over the last week. The various business alliance announcements show that businesses are already taking a leading role in climate action. Depending on the final outcome in Paris, investors could further accelerate a decarbonized economy, provided that they receive clear, long-term regulatory and market signals that will reduce uncertainty and risk in low-carbon investment choices.
At Enel, we believe that what is happening in Paris closely reflects the huge shift in business practices that is, and will continue to, unfold over the coming months and years. We are reshaping our own business and remain committed to doing so in order to respond to this changing environment. We have put green energy production at the center of our business plan in anticipation of the massive increase in global renewable energy demand as the world’s nations decarbonize. We will substantially increase our investments in this area and increase our zero-emission power generation capacity 47%, ensuring we meet our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Of course, decarbonization is not only about investment and market signals; there is still much work to be done to close the emissions gap in a fair and equitable way. Enabling developing countries to power their economic growth while reducing emissions is a fundamental part of reaching an agreement in the next couple of days.
As a member of the UN’s Global Compact and the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, energy access is very much in focus for us at Enel. We are committed to ensuring access to affordable, reliable sustainable and modern energy to 3 million beneficiaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America by 2020, through a series of initiatives that include the development of mini-grids.
Together with carbon neutrality by 2050, clean energy access is an important part of our commitments towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a key driver in our strategic industrial plan.
There is still much to settle in the coming days, but in many ways this agreement will reflect a transformation that is already taking place in the energy sector, and thanks to technology innovation, the future is closer than we think.