After being to multiple side events and pavilion events, I can see that we all know about the negative/zero/low emission technologies available that will be able to help us fight the battle with climate change. However, a lot of the countries continuously said that they want to change, but they are going to let the economy move it.
Indonesia – Quite a disappointment in SEA
I went to one of their pavilion talks about “The Future of Renewable Energy”, expecting that they have a plan prepared to move Indonesia forward to renewables. However, what I got from it, was pretty much nonsense, it felt like a very bad sales pitch. They started off the presentation boasting about Indonesia’s economy, giving 3 scenarios, saying Indonesia will be the 4th largest economy in the world by 2100 in the best case scenario and rank 9th in the worst case scenario.
Then in the 2nd presentation, they keep emphasizing that they need more investors to push for renewables, which from my viewpoint, if your economy is going to be doing so well, why can’t you help yourself in pushing for renewables. Additionally, when people were asking questions like “How do you plan to interest private investors?” They gave very standard but stupid answers like “1990 they have issued a law to permit private companies to develop renewable power plants.” That did not answer the question at all, the policy was implemented in 1990, 28 years has passed, that is still the way you are trying to get investors? Wow. Throughout the talk, Indonesia also kept blaming technology, waiting for technology to advance to be efficient and be cheaper.
Poland – Wants to transit, unable to due to $$$.
Poland, which is rank number 2 in coal production in Europe, seems to be trying to move towards renewables, however, the transition is not easy. After sitting in one of their pavilion talks, with Poland’s ministers, Poland’s industry people and EU ambassador, I can see their desire to switch to renewables. They are betting on 2 other energy sources, offshore wind farms (which they will have several huge projects at the Baltic sea) and nuclear power plants. At this moment, the coal companies in Poland spend their funds paying for the carbon tax, which leads to little funds for them to transit to renewable energy. One can view this as a negative feedback loop in energy transition. At the same time, I want to take what the companies with a pinch of salt because that may not be the case as well. The EU ambassador rebutted the companies, saying that the carbon price does not affect the EU last 10% of the low-income state, which Poland is considered as one. Overall, the companies are saying yes to transition, but they require funds and involvement in all the actors to come together to push for it.
I also sat in multiple talks about just energy transitions, nuclear talks (e.g.NICE program), water and energy systems talk, and NDCs. If you want to converse with me about them or my experience, Facebook (Zac Yeow) or telegram(@zacyeow) me.