On 26-28 October 2021, the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme (TCP) held its fourth biannual Universal Meeting in which about 130 representatives from over 40 international collaborative initiatives held in-depth discussions on the role multilateral platforms for energy innovation can play in advancing governments’ net zero emissions plans after COP26. The online meeting immediately followed a session of the IEA’s Committee on Energy Research and Technology (CERT).
Reaching net zero by 2050 requires international cooperation between governments, businesses, investors and citizens. According to IEA analysis, countries need to speed up the rollout of available clean and efficient technologies immediately while preparing for the widespread adoption of technologies that may not be ready for market before 2030. The latter will only materialise on time if there are major innovation efforts this decade.
At this week’s meeting, the IEA, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and Mission Innovation (MI) encouraged governments to take greater advantage of existing multilateral initiatives to transform their climate ambitions into action. For over 40 years, the TCP network has contributed to advancing clean energy technologies worldwide, and together, the three platforms host over 70 multilateral initiatives covering all technologies and fuels, from research and development to setting policy frameworks for faster market uptake.
“Without effective international collaboration, reaching climate targets will take much more time and be more costly,’’ IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said at the start of the TCP meeting. “TCPs and other multilateral initiatives are of crucial importance.”
Dr Birol called on world leaders meeting at the COP26 Climate Change Conference next week in Glasgow to “push the innovation button,” adding that “international collaboration and innovation will be at the heart of discussions.”
Amanda Wilson, Chair of the CERT, moderated an opening panel with the IEA, CEM and MI. She noted that multilateral initiatives “provide foundational knowledge for governments around the world” to inform policy making. Citing the importance of communication channels, she called on participants to build on the “various levers and audiences that each international initiative has access to – whether policy, regulatory or technical expertise, or access to Ministers, scientists, or diplomats.”
Timur Gül, Head of the IEA Energy Technology Policy Division and Secretary to the IEA CERT, emphasised the critical role collaborative platforms play in “sharing knowledge and reducing transaction costs for national organisations to find partners to learn from and work with”. He called for enhanced cooperation across platforms and strong mandates from governments to ensure collaborative efforts, avoid duplication and ensure that initiatives are geared towards net zero emissions goals. “To reach net zero by 2050, multilateral initiatives …….