The increase of the world’s electricity need is approaching a quick surge due to the spread of mobility electrification, the increase in the global population, and the growing use of air conditioning and electronic systems.
Worldwide, energy prices recently skyrocketed to their absolute highest level in decades, spreading concerns about their ripple effect for consumers, the economic recovery, and energy security.
Europe is at the centre of an economic and geopolitical storm. Since last September, the prices of electricity and natural gas have steadily increased. EU natural gas prices soared to a new record high of €180 per megawatt-hour on the 21st of December, underpinned by a double-whammy of cold weather forecasts in late December and fears of supply disruptions. If compared to an average of €20 per megawatt-hour in mid-June, the December figures represent a 900% increase.
Contemporary energy dynamics suggest we are heading towards years of likely price volatility, with a strong necessity for governmental support schemes to channel the investments required to achieve the green transition. The final destination of this journey, as well as the travelling speed, will ultimately depend on available resources, technology, and consensus. This consensus, in turn, relies on the capability to distribute in a non-regressive way the costs of the transition.
While the outcomes and legacy of COP26 are still up to debate, the lead up to the climate summit—co-hosted by the UK and Italy—marked an unmistakeable shift in global climate ambitions. Numerous countries pledged long-term targets to reach net zero emissions and put forth a patchwork of near-term commitments to get emissions on the right track.
The future of the world will depend on the choices of its inhabitants. Us.
We face once-in-a-generation challenges: from the digital revolution to the protection of our planet, from the fight against inequalities to a rethinking of globalization.
Planet Needs Youth is an initiative launched by ISPI within the framework of the Italian Presidency at the G20 and which leads to the discovery of what each of us can do in the face of future challenges.
Badly affected by the consequences of climate change, sub-Saharan Africa is now facing a severe post-Covid economic crisis, having experienced its first recession in twenty-five years. The climate and socio-economic emergencies collectively represent serious challenges for African countries, which must be addressed by local governments as policy priorities.
Europe and Africa are strategic partners and their relations are built on a comprehensive set of diplomatic, trade, and financial instruments. In the field of the green transition, the EU-Africa partnership is characterized by a high degree of complementarity. Cooperation over renewable energy best exemplifies this. Africa needs the support of the EU both in terms of technical and financial assistance to unlock its renewable energy potential and address its lack of energy access, which remains the main obstacle in the path towards sustainable growth.
The global climate architecture has a significant impact on future geoeconomic and geopolitical trajectories, largely dominated by the interests of advanced economies. The European Union (EU)’s Green Deal is illustrative of this. Countries must develop foreign and trade relations to claim a stake in the investment surge in decarbonised technology innovation and infrastructure. If not, they risk being left behind.
While COVID-19 has presented the world with numerous challenges, it has also generated a conversation about how to reboot the global economy in its aftermath, and how to do so in a sustainable way. It has also highlighted the importance of preparing properly for risks of all kinds and the need for broader societal cooperation on achieving medium- and long-term goals.