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The Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation (iCET) was invited as a non-governmental participant to the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27). As part of iCET’s ongoing mission to strengthen global collaboration in providing innovative solutions for the energy, environment, and climate crises, continuing the informative conversations of week 1, iCET held two press conferences during the second week of COP27 to discuss future energy outlooks and the decarbonization of the most intensive emission hubs.

November 15: 2022 China Energy Outlook

In dissecting China’s energy outlook and restructuring its energy generation, Dan Wetzel, International Energy Agency (IEA) and Dr. Nan Zhou, senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory came together for an in-depth discussion moderated by Dr. Feng An, director of iCET.

Mr. Wetzel started off the conversation by going through major findings of the 2022 World Energy Outlook, a research project by the IEA. He highlighted the major contextual factor as the world enters the first energy crisis as skyrocketing energy prices disproportionately affect those in Europe and the developing world, and dissects three scenarios — stated policy scenario, announced pledges scenario, and net-zero scenario — that the world is facing in its pathway toward carbon neutrality and meeting the line of 1.5°C.

Dr. Zhou then zooms into a China-specific report titled China Energy Outlook 2022 and outlines the findings of this timely and vital report. It is difficult to achieve net zero emissions according to China’s current nationally-determined contributions without utilizing clean technologies, stressing the importance of new technical solutions to renewable energy generation in China’s energy outlook.

November 16: Decarbonizing Transportation in Global Megacities

To discuss transportation decarbonization in the world’s largest cities and mega-polluters, Dr. Feng An, director of iCET, and Binyam Reja, Global Practice Manager and Acting Global Director for Transport at the World Bank, explored possible solutions in a dialogue moderated by Dr. Jessica Gordon, climate policy fellow at the China-California Climate Insititute at University of California, Berekely.

Dr. An began with a presentation titled Carbon hotspots from global top 100 metropolitan areas: Present and future trends, in which he explored the carbon footprint of 100 megacities, analyzed their trends, and projected an outlook for their emissions by mid-century while offering solutions for their decarbonization. He concluded that, despite wealthier cities will electrify their vehicles first, megacities will continue to emerge in the Global South and there is a need to develop a clear roadmap that promotes decarbonization in these newly emerged, populous, though economically less-developed areas.

Mr. Reja agreed on and stressed the importance of decarbonizing megacities, which account for 70% of global carbon emissions, and echoed Dr. An’s point on the shifting center of decarbonization efforts to the Global South. Instead of focusing on the municipal level, Mr. Reja pointed out that private funding from international financial institutions often goes to the national level, and argued that more emphasis should be placed on the city level, increase their appeal to financing opportunities, and create solutions tailored to their needs.

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