S in ESG
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The numerous top-down roadmaps on climate-related action require humanising – the S in ESG – with more detail about their actual implementation said Dr Angela Wilkinson, Secretary-General and CEO of the World Energy Council (WEC).

Dr Wilkinson, an experienced energy executive, noted that renewables will need other energy “friends” and flexible storage solutions to be widely and readily available.

Speaking at the Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s latest series entitled ‘Humanising Energy’, she said: “There is an increasing proliferation of roadmaps, full of promises about accelerating technology and tipping points and yet empty of details on people, uses and behaviours.”

“The COVID-19 crisis reminds us that the future of energy is a much bigger story than technology. The gaps between energy ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ have grown wider in this crisis and this pattern is evident in all regions and countries.”

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Why the S in ESG is so important

She further stated that better energy solutions are not green, blue or any other colour and net zero or carbon positive solutions must meet the needs of the many, not only the wealthy few.

“That’s why we see the need for capital markets to rethink and rebalance the S in ESG reporting which is impacting investment flows to energy.”

While Yury Sentyurin, the GECF Secretary-General, emphasised how the Forum’s 18 Member Countries are embracing change and developing new pathways for environmentally friendly energy inspired by the cleaner attributes of natural gas.

A ‘green future’ can indeed be realised based on ‘green barrels’

Yury Sentyurin, GECF Secretary-General,

“We believe in accepting change, but we do believe in change that is meaningful and beneficial to the most number of people on this planet. Without a fair energy transition, the world risks leaving many communities behind,” said Sentyurin.

He added: “A ‘green future’ can indeed be realised based on ‘green barrels’ and, more importantly, natural gas is the most suited to be a ‘net positive’ on the road to ‘net zero’.”

Examining all energy sources

In her remarks, guided by WEC’s philosophy of remaining a neutral advocate of energy – all responsible forms of energy – for the greatest number of people, Dr Wilkinson drew parallels between the nearly 100-year-old organisation and the GECF.

“The World Energy Council and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum have always been friends. Like all good friends, it is important to be able to discuss areas for improvement and to celebrate achievements together,” said Dr Wilkinson, whose earliest work as a young physicist was to calculate how gas flaring and pipeline leakage reduced the environmental benefits in switching from coal to gas.  

“Molecules, as well as electrons, will play a key role in the future of energy. Natural gas – in various forms – has an important role to play as a transition bridge to the climate-neutral energy future. Renewables will need other energy friends and mobile and flexible storage solutions to get to scale.”

According to her, WEC’s one-hundred-year heritage in managing energy for peace and prosperity is unique – and the foundation for convening and cultivating the practical know-how and best practices needed in today’s era of energy transitions and transformations for people and the planet.

Redirecting energy policies

In response, the Forum’s head highlighted that the GECF believes in the right of countries, particularly the developing economies, to have access to abundant, affordable and clean sources of energy.

“We don’t condone restriction of energy policies and directing investment resources towards expensive decarbonisation options and technologies, some of which are yet to be proven. This can substantially affect the security of supply and prevent countries from accessing competitive and clean energy sources, such as natural gas, which is compatible with sustainable development,” he said.

Citing figures from the latest iteration of the GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050, Sentyurin asserted that fossil fuels are projected to remain dominant, accounting for 71% in 2050. While natural gas will become the leading source of energy in the world’s primary energy mix, growing from 23% today to 28%.