Global challenges for sustainable energy

A new video by the Coppieters Foundation

News / 19.5.20

Following the publication of our book The Future of Sustainable Energy in which we looked at the political obstacles to the transition to renewable energy that are relevant in the context of the European Union, we have created a new animated video to help bring the topic to life.

Why look into sustainable energy?

With widespread environmental concerns across Europe, sustainable energy is a recurring subject in public debates. The production of renewable energy is more environmentally friendly and usually safer, and its development is key to tackling climate change and ensuring energy diversification for European nations.

Nowadays, we already possess the capacity and the know-how to make the green energy transition technologically and economically viable.

Biomass, concentrated solar power, geothermal energy, hydropower, tidal energy, wave energy and wind turbines all have huge potential for Europe. Unfortunately their development remains limited.

How come renewable energies are still so marginally used at a global level?

There are several socio-political factors hindering a green energy transition.

First, the political situation in a country can be detrimental to the development of sustainable energies and industries, particularly where there is a degree of economic and social instability, insecurity, or systemic problems.

Low levels of awareness and public support make the transition towards renewable and carbon-low sources of energy harder to implement.  Lack of public debate and green consciousness often result in lower levels of civil society engagement.

Despite the alarming signs of global warming and climate change, a lack of sense of urgency  is also an element slowing down the green energy transition.  Even when the technology and financial resources are already available Some governments do not express the urgency of transitioning to renewable energy.

Finally, some nations may prefer other energy sources, perhaps because of tradition or because they have been the targets of succesful non-renewable energy sector campaigns. The historical and cultural importance of coal in industrial areas is an obstacle to the transition towards renewable energy.

What can be done about it?

To overcome these obstacles, the global communitys must set ambitious policy targets and create real incentives to encourage the transition to sustainable energy. Ultimately the solution to the green transition is both social and political.

It is about strengthening democracy and political systems, and making the process a truly inclusive and participatory one, allowing all voices and concerns to be heard. So that sustainable energy solutions are found at the local level and adapted to local contexts.

. . .

This video is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the video or the present article.

. . .

Thank you for following our activities over the past few years. We hope our updates have been useful to you. We would like to keep informing you about upcoming events, new publications, summer schools, and job vacancies. Subscribe to our newsletter to hear from us in your inbox.