TEAS co-sponsors landmark seminar on sustainable energy with the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the Graduate Institute Geneva

Press Release: On 19 November 2014 in Geneva, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Graduate Institute’s Centre for International Environmental Studies jointly organised a seminar entitled Putting The Genie Back: Two Degrees Will Be Harder Than We Think, sponsored by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) and the German Mission to the office of the UN and other international organisations in Geneva.

Derek Eaton, Executive Director of the Centre for International Environmental Studies, described the event as: “a conversation about how to achieve a sustainable energy future” and went on to acknowledge the role played by the German Mission and TEAS, stating that “tonight’s debate would have been impossible without your sponsorship.” His views were reflected by Scott Foster, Director, Sustainable Energy Division, UNECE. The TEAS Foundation was represented by Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, Head, TEAS France. 

The seminar, attended by more than 150 delegates, was held in the Maison de la paix, the new building of the Graduate Institute. Nazir Ramazanov, Advisor to the Chairman, Azerbaijani State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy, said: “Azerbaijan is a rapidly growing and developing country. It has a primary objective of positively impacting the development and implementation of renewable energy techniques throughout the world in order to address issues related to climate change.”

“My presence here and TEAS’ sponsorship is indicative of the positive impact that Azerbaijan has had, and will continue to have, on the sustainable energy future.”

David Hone, Chief Climate Change Advisor, Shell, and author of the book with the same title as the seminar, kicked off the series, discussing the subject of climate change in a frank and open way. He commented: “In order to consider the future of sustainable energy, it is initially necessary to consider the energy systems that exist. The other dilemma is that there are limitations regarding the rate at which new technologies can be introduced to take the place of hydrocarbons-based systems. The fact that carbon pricing is now back on the agenda is again raising awareness of sustainable energy amongst governments across the world.”

Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE, focused on some of the challenges associated with implementing renewable energy strategies, saying: “Developing standards to increase the rapidity of the adoption of energy-efficiency techniques and renewable energy systems is critical. The development of standards will allow the market for such technologies to become bigger, companies will see clear investment targets and will be able to assess how to innovate.” Tom Murley, Director, Renewable Energy, HgCapital, recognised that there has been confusion in the past: “We’ve seen tremendous instability in renewable energy policy, particularly in Europe.”

The panellists discussed the challenges related to future energy systems that will remain highly dependent on fossil fuels, despite the increased share of renewable energies. They highlighted the pressing need to embrace all technology options, a global carbon price, and to accelerate large-scale deployment of innovative and low-carbon technologies whilst taking account of the constantly increasing energy prices that greatly limit social acceptance of the transition towards a cleaner energy mix.

The seminar was followed by a cocktail reception, sponsored by the TEAS Foundation. This was very well-attended and allowed participants to network with panellists and other high-level representatives from UNECE and its member country representatives. 


For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, Head, TEAS France, at marie-laetitia.gourdin@teas.eu 

For details about the presentation and the book: 

Putting the Genie Back: 2°C Will Be Harder Than We Think, by David Hone 

Seminar organised by the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE) and the Graduate Institute’s Centre for International Environmental Studies in Geneva.