EC announces strategy for EU research and innovation to deliver on COP21 commitments
The European Commission (EC) announced a new Research, Innovation and Competitiveness Strategy of the Energy Union at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21).
The Commission would like COP 21 to make the transition to decarbonisation irreversible and kick-start a low-carbon innovation race. It says that the EU should take the lead in this race through research and innovation (R&I) and is therefore proposing this new strategy. The strategy was announced by Maroš Šefčovič, Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union, and Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, at the COP 21 flagship event on "Research and innovation: Our energy for a low-carbon future".
Commissioner Moedas said: "Limiting the warming of the world's climate to below 2°C from pre-industrial level may be the defining social and scientific endeavour of this century. Our view is that investment in energy research and innovation is still far too low. It is now time for swift and coordinated action. To make low and inconsistent public and private investment in European energy research and innovation is a thing of the past."
According to the EC, the EU is expected to invest at least 35% of its €77 billion Horizon 2020 programme into climate-related activities. The research, innovation and competitiveness strategy is a crucial part of the Energy Union, the EU's key energy policy initiative. It will be launched in 2016, and aims to ensure public support for innovative low-carbon technology as well as support the creation of the right policy environment to stimulate innovation and competition. It will also include an "open science – open innovation" initiative on pathways for decarbonisation by 2050, since the low-carbon transition does not only concern the energy sector, but rather society as a whole.
The strategy initiative will be steered by a High-level Panel, chaired by Commissioner Moedas. Three of the panel's expert members have already been identified: Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, Professor Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
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