IEA Chief Technology Officer Round Table Joint Statement

“Technology will play an indispensable role in solving the energy and climate challenges of tomorrow; bringing together the leaders in this field – all of whom are actively deploying energy technologies around the world – will help identify the policies and pathways needed to overcome the obstacles we face today”, said Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris. He was referring to a roundtable discussion with the business community last week. For the first time, the IEA welcomed Chief Technology Officers of major companies with leading energy technology programmes to review the global energy technology outlook and to discuss international collaboration. The meeting, held under the auspices of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), drew high-level representatives from more than 30 international companies.

Companies participating in the roundtable included ABB, Air Liquide, Alstom, Ansaldo Energia, Areva, Robert Bosch, BP, Centro Ricerche Fiat, DuPont, EDF, Electrolux, Enel, Ford Motor Company, Halliburton, HITACHI, Honda, Hydro-Québec, Iberdrola, Philips, Renault, Royal Dutch Shell, St-Gobain, Sasol, Schlumberger, Sharp, Siemens, Tokyo Electric Power Company, Total, Toyota Motor Europe, United Technologies and Vattenfall.

In a joint statement, the IEA and the technology officers called on governments to act now: "Urgent government action is needed to facilitate the development and deployment of advanced energy-related technology. There is a pressing need to design and implement a range of policy measures that will create clear, predictable, long-term economic incentives for carbon reduction in the market. As technology leaders we represent companies with major commitments to energy RD&D that take their environmental responsibilities seriously and are, through deployment of new technologies and commercial development, taking leading roles in meeting the energy challenge in a responsible way."

"We are delighted by the level of engagement and interest around the table today," said Mr. Tanaka, "and expect industry – working with the IEA – to take a growing role in delivering a more sustainable energy future, through deployment of new technologies and commercial development."

"To attain energy security and climate change objectives, global R&D and deployment of advanced energy technologies are essential and urgent," Mr. Tanaka explained. "The private sector and business community have key roles to play.

Representing companies spending more than USD 40 billion annually on R&D in the fields of fuel and power supply, transport, and efficient energy equipment and infrastructure, the Chief Technology Officers emphasised that energy was at the core of their business and acknowledged their crucial role in this domain.

IEA studies have shown that, if the world continues on its current path, global CO2 emissions from energy production and use are likely to increase by more than 55% to more than 42 billion tonnes per annum by 2030. CO2 emissions have steadily increased in recent years. "The longer we wait, the more difficult the task of mitigating climate change becomes. Governments cannot act alone – the private sector must be involved from the outset," said Mr. Tanaka.

Some of these technologies are already commercial, while others need further R&D effort. While many of them are already available at a relatively small scale, huge investments will be required to enable mass scale substitution for the incumbent energy solutions. These emerging technologies need markets and government-based incentives for more rapid deployment. Action should start with technologies that are already available.