Sunniva, in this episode of #LØRN talks to Senior Researcher for the senter for climate research (CICERO), Glen Peters, about the opportunities as well as challenges about the energy transformation. He has recently expressed passionately on climate change his thoughts in articles he's written such as How changes brought on by coronavirus could help tackle climate change and The past decade of political failure on climate change has cost us. Glen in this dialogue, tells about how CICERO carry out research on energy and emissions trends, for both past and future scenarios, and the possibility/desirability of a 100% renewable future.
Who are you and how did you become interested in EnergyTech?
I research energy and emissions trends, both in the past and in future scenarios. If the world is to meet its climate goals, it is essential to transform the energy system.
What do you do at work?
In addition to research, I try to communicate to a broader audience the challenges and opportunities for an energy system transformation.
What's the matter with EnergyTech?
Size. These days there is more emphasis on small and nimble energy technologies, like solar and batteries. However, at its core, the energy system is about big and complex technologies. I am perhaps biased by growing up in a coal mining district (Newcastle, Australia), but I think it is often under appreciated how big and complex the energy system is, from dragline mining coal in a distant land to making a coffee on the kitchen bench .
Why is it interesting?
Diversity. There are many ways to produce energy, and many different ways to meet our climate goals. We have to take advantage of that diversity.
Are there any controversial issues?
How best to communicate the challenge, optimistic or pessimistic? My sense is that we need to be realistic about the challenges ahead, particularly to business.
Your own best example of EnergyTech?
Let me be controversial and say oil. It is a remarkable, versatile, and dense energy source. You can propel 500 people on a plane to the other side of the world, or drive Oslo to Trondheim on one tank filled in a matter of minutes. It has a carbon dioxide problem, but to replace oil, you have to better it.
Your other favorite examples of EnergyTech internationally and nationally?
Batteries. The ability to store energy is a pretty critical requirement. We do it small scale, every second of the day, with the good old battery. Can we use that same technology to run an entire economy?
What kind of mental model do you use to explain how it works?
In terms of scenarios and future pathways, it is important to remember where we are today and the inertia in the system. It will take literally decades to transition the energy system, and for a multitude of reasons. There is no easy or unique path to transition the energy system.
What do we do uniquely well in Norway from this?
More broadly, Norway has been great at solving problems in the oil and gas sector. The question is whether Norway can transfer that capacity to a new set of technologies.