A new book on Climate Impacts on Energy Systems, Key Issues for Energy Sector Adaptation was launched by ESMAP and the World Bank’s Global Expert Team on Climate Adaptation in Washington DC on February 28, 2011. The book presents an overview of the impact of climate change on the energy sector and it provides solutions for managing these impacts. It focuses on energy sector adaptation, rather than mitigation that has been a key focus of the energy sector. The book draws on available scientific and peer reviewed literature in the public domain and examines the issues from a developing country perspective.
About 50 energy and climate change experts attended the event, showcasing the growing interest among task teams on how to integrate climate adaptation in the energy sector. Rohit Khanna, ESMAP’sProgram Manager opened the event noting the importance of working across sectors to address climate change and commended the work put forward by various teams and external experts to produce the book and the findings. On behalf of the authors, Walter Vergara presented the key messages:
1. Energy services and resources will be increasingly affected by climate change.
2. All evidence suggests that adaptation is not an optional add-on but an essential reckoning on par with other business risks.
3. Integrated risk based planning processes will be critical to address these impacts and harmonize actions within and across sectors.
4. Awareness, knowledge and capacity impede mainstreaming of climate adaptation into the energy sector.
Discussants, Daniel Kammen, Chief Technical Specialist, and Phillipe Benoit, Energy Sector Manager of the World Bank presented their views on the findings of the book from their vantage point within the World Bank. Benoit noted that this was still a new topic for the energy sector and polled the audience to see how many people have integrated climate considerations into their energy projects and operations. With few hands raised, his point was clear – this is a new arena for the sector and more analysis and research such as this book will continue to inform task teams and clients on climate resiliency and actions that can be taken on the ground. Kammen echoed these points while also noting that as climate impacts are studied further the social dimensions and impacts begin to clearly shine through.
Discussion ensued on how to create space and avenues for rapid transfer of knowledge and to transform the key messages into actionable solutions. The panel and audience seemed to agree that greater strides are needed to bring together the scientific community and decision makers to debate, discuss and digest the impacts of climate change. This book is one more step towards that goal as the authors and experts continue to focus on research, analysis and action on climate change.