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Companies Will Save The World (Fringe Stories From COP24)

Companies Will Save The World (Fringe Stories From COP24)


Revealed on January 2nd, 2019 |
by Jacek Fior

January 2nd, 2019 by Jacek Fior 

COP24 is behind us and I’m nonetheless deep in supplies, interviews, and reflections after the occasion. And belief me, reflections usually are not straightforward when you’re Polish. I guess you all keep in mind the well-known phrase: “Life is Stranger than Fiction.” That’s principally what I felt listening and watching to our authorities in motion. Having stated that, I’ll say virtually no extra concerning the Polish contribution to local weather change and can give attention to what I learnt and didn’t study in the course of the 2018 Sustainable Innovation Discussion board held in Katowice, Poland, alongside COP24 itself.

CleanTechnica readers want no reminder that we’re fairly off monitor with our local weather actions, and following COP24 gave me little hope that may change a lot, no less than not inside the political area. I’ve just lately began believing, nevertheless, that it is going to be corporations that may save the world. I’ll ignore Tesla right here, since its position is clear, however wanting round and choosing up the proper items of stories, we will see the company world turning to inexperienced power and corporations noticing nice alternatives renewable power and clear transport might supply.

From Apple globally to Rawicom regionally in Poland, corporations are pushing the change. Attending SIF18 as a CleanTechnica author I loved all the advantages – smiles and handshakes from our readers (feels nice) plus entry to prime executives who have been joyful to speak to me (I hope, and so it appeared). Let me inform you briefly what I learnt.

I need to admit, all the interviews have been accomplished comfy with none push for time. It allowed for an open dialog fairly than a brief query and reply session. The one query I requested my interviewees to start out with was about COP24 — what they might think about a hit and whether or not any success is feasible in any respect.

My first interview was with Andreas Klugescheid, Head of Steering Authorities, Exterior Affairs and Sustainability Communications at BMW Group. Andreas identified two issues in response to my core query. First, that we should always not anticipate every COP to be as spectacular as Paris, for instance. That isn’t the purpose, clearly, and it someway anticipated what COP24 would ship, which means fairly little.

Secondly, we mentioned the good potential of the occasion for elevating consciousness amongst individuals. In depth media protection might do extra good than the perfect declaration agreed upon throughout a COP. That labored fairly nicely even in Poland, the place public media, closely managed by the federal government, appeared a bit indifferent from actuality and compelled the coal future and local weather denial narrative. This authorities communication provoked debate and helped many see the manipulations behind it. Thanks, COP24! ?

Proper after that, I might make my apparent declare — it is going to be corporations that may drive the change. Andreas nodded in settlement and gave examples of what BMW is doing in that respect, from the apparent change to electrified transport (nevertheless sluggish it might seem), via DriveNow carsharing options, and on to Cost Ahead, a sensible charging program.

Apparently, the power transformation is the important thing to a sustainable future and supply of ample alternatives, and that’s what we’re seeing throughout many industries and automotive producers. Cost Ahead is only one instance of BMW efforts to be a participant in that sector.

Once I requested about the way forward for BMW’s core enterprise — automobiles — Andreas was very assured that it appeared vibrant – BMW’s PHEV fashions are promoting properly, present and soon-to-come EV fashions are or are anticipated to be leaders in Europe, and BMW feels it will probably compete with anyone. Sure, I needed to ask about Tesla and its gross sales within the US to see if an identical state of affairs could possibly be anticipated in Europe. As soon as once more, Andreas was at peace with that and reiterated that BMW believed competitors was good they usually have been prepared for that.

“I do not fear for the future of BMW when it comes to electric vehicles. (…) I honestly trust that people who spend 40, 50, 60 thousand euro plus for an EV, they will probably go for the manufacturer whom they know, whom they trust — in our case, 102 years already.”

Since I revealed what automotive the chief editor of CleanTechnica is driving nowadays*, I didn’t query his perception within the historic benefit of huge corporations over youthful rivals. I felt the Nokia instance was misplaced. ? I did, nevertheless, ask the place BMW and the automotive business can be at this time if Elon Musk and Tesla had by no means appeared. Judging by an extended silence earlier than Andreas provided his reply, the query had benefit and we each agreed the business would have been the place it was 7–eight years in the past, no less than with regards to EVs.

Later that day, I had an opportunity to talk to Louis Shaffer, Distributed Power Administration Phase Supervisor at Eaton, who shared with me his views on COP24, politics, and the way forward for our planet. As earlier than, we began with our expectations with regard to COP24. Louis was very frank right here and identified little had been achieved because the massive Paris settlement. As he put it, politicians are waking up in the present day to see how declarations by no means turned actions, how plans by no means left the planning part, and the way local weather is altering TODAY.

“All the recent reports are saying the same — climate change is here and it’s affecting us now, it’s not the future. (…) What would be significant for me is that people walk away [after COP24] knowing we don’t have as much time as we thought and it’s the people who are going to vote for this.”

With out essentially naming the politicians right here, we agreed plenty of these in energy in the present day are merely fallacious. Meaning new leaders, sensible politicians, will come and earn factors for merely being proper, as individuals are forward of politicians with their considerations concerning the future and local weather change.

Figuring out that politicians are good at following individuals, it have to be another person displaying the best way to behave, and that’s corporations, in fact. Louis says all of it clearly — electrical energy is a enterprise, whether or not it’s Poland, France, or the US. Since photo voltaic and wind are getting cheaper and cheaper, beating different sources, why would anybody need to pay extra for a similar? In fact, the giants of Apple, Google, and so forth. declare they’re going inexperienced and making nice PR information out of it, however on the finish of the day, they’re making sensible monetary selections.

The instance from Eaton is the microgrid system put in in its manufacturing plant in Johannesburg, Africa. Outcomes? Sure, 40% discount in power prices. Sounds about proper, doesn’t it? All of it means the longer term is inexperienced, and it’s not as a result of politicians say so — it’s as a result of we’re making it economically potential.

The great thing about it’s that it goes down into the availability chain as properly. Sensible corporations know the worth on CO2 emissions will go up, and so will be sure their suppliers land on the inexperienced, cheaper aspect to assist them keep aggressive.

The problem Louis sees is electrification of warmth. What’s reassuring is the variety of improvements showing one way or the other behind the scenes. As Louis put it, warmth innovation just isn’t as attractive as transportation, so it attracts much less media consideration and is much less globally recognized. Nevertheless, it’s occurring and a brand new Elon Musk of the warmth business is making his or her method ahead someplace on the market within the recesses of startup laboratories.

With my ardour for EVs, I needed to ask Louis about it and I learnt he was going to make his subsequent automotive electrical, after which hesitated to ask himself: “Why do I need a car at all? Why bother if you have carsharing and Uber?” The solely factor Louis suggests is “Uber EV” as an choice within the app, saying he can be comfortable to pay extra and would select this feature. Truly, it’s fascinating Uber hasn’t considered it but, or has it? We undoubtedly did at Tesla Shuttle. All we’d like, then, is shoppers like Louis who’re glad to pay extra. ?

The different factor Louis referred to is how gasoline automobiles will grow to be increasingly more costly to personal. He isn’t into taxing the automotive or fuel, however he sees the financial system being regulated with a carbon emission value. That applies to all and every thing, so your automotive value will one way or the other mirror all of the carbon emission from the availability chain and gasoline. That leaves me as fairly a radical, as I might tax diesels and would tax them excessive.

My subsequent interview passed off on the finish of day two, which means each the interviewer and the interviewee have been a bit drained. So, extra credit score to Dr. Dieter Vollkommer, Company Vice President of Sustainability at Siemens, for partaking in a energetic dialogue. We jumped shortly to speaking concerning the firm’s program of CO2-neutral operations. The process is large and impressive, however the firm appears decided to make it occur, and to do it for actual — not simply offsetting its carbon footprint, however truly aiming to be carbon impartial by 2030. As Dieter put it: “Green energy runs in Siemens DNA so the course of action is clear.” In that method, my query about corporations driving the change obtained answered earlier than it was requested. It’s yet one more nice instance of a giant company believing in corporations’ pioneering position within the battle towards local weather change (quoting virtually actually the Siemens web site).

Two issues led me to ask Dieter a troublesome query. First, I do know a bit about the complete Siemens product portfolio. :-). Second, I learnt, with rising concern, that the Polish authorities is decided to construct new coal models in Ostrołęka regardless of apparent financial and environmental disadvantages. I requested Dieter, then, what would Siemens do if a shopper approached the corporate to request a turbine for a brand new coal plant. The query got here with no illicit intentions and solely to see the place issues have been going. After a bit hesitation, Dieter confirmed they might in all probability go for such a challenge. On the finish of the day, it’s enterprise and it’s higher to have a high-efficiency Siemens turbine than a product of decrease effectivity from one other supply, because it’s merely higher for the setting. I used to be not satisfied by the argument, I need to admit.

I referred to Michael Liebreich’s piece “Two Business Cycles to Prepare for A Low-Carbon World,” which was launched someday earlier than the SIF18 convention and made a robust level to divest from carbon-heavy initiatives. Siemens seems to be beneath comparable strain from buyers, as Dieter identified, who’re intently watching what tasks the corporate will get concerned in. Will that lastly persuade corporations to say no to political crusades just like the one in Ostrołęka, Poland? I actually hope so. Shifting away from coal can’t occur in a single day, however phasing it out ought to imply no extra new coal-fired models.

Ending the interview, I requested Dieter about Siemens’ contribution to the event of e-mobility. It was good to listen to we shared a ardour for EVs and realized the difficulties forward. Siemens is specializing in fixing the problem of charging, or serving to to, however not within the hardware world — in sensible infrastructure. A easy instance is a Siemens parking zone, the place Dieter works, of about 3000 automobiles. It exhibits the potential pressure on the grid in the event you think about all of them being electrical and plugging in at 7:30–eight:30 within the morning. Don’t fear, although — all options for managing the demand and provide are already being developed — from V2G to BMW’s Cost Ahead and extra. Good to have Siemens on board to assist the transition.

It was a busy two days and lots to write down about. SIF18 and all different COP24 fringe occasions made December fairly scorching in Poland. Blame me not for my solely delicate curiosity within the outcomes of the local weather negotiations. Vital as they’re for speaking local weather change challenges, I held little hope they might make a distinction. Speaking to doers is all the time extra inspiring.

*Aspect story from BMW’s government: BMW held a cocktail party for the primary 100 consumers of the i3, lots of which have been the vary extender (REx) fashions. In the course of the celebration, they have been requested what number of occasions that they had used the extender, and the reply from all of the customers was … by no means. A lot for the well-known vary nervousness, at the least amongst early adopters. 

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Tags: BMW, COP24, Eaton, Katowice, Poland, siemens, Sustainable Innovation Discussion board

Concerning the Writer

Jacek Fior Jacek is an entrepreneurial sort who sees alternatives throughout. He runs his personal company language coaching firm and worldwide translation company, Higher Horizons. Considered one of his many passions, in addition to card tips and mixology, is electrical automobiles and their introduction available on the market. He’s presently engaged on launching the Polish platform of CleanTechnica — — within the hopes of serving to individuals to know the revolution we’re witnessing. Jacek can also be a founding companion of Tesla Shuttle.

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