Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen are opening the seventh Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD) today. Ministers and high-level delegations from more than 50 countries will hold discussions with representatives from the business community, academia and civil society at the conference, which is entitled “Towards Climate Neutrality”. The focus is on strategies for the intelligent transformation of energy systems around the world with a view to continuing to pursue the energy transition with all due resolve.
The new US Administration’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm will be joining the BETD for the first time. Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier, US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson will sound out opportunities for a new transatlantic cooperative partnership in the energy transition in a joint panel. Shortly after President Joe Biden took office, the US rejoined the Paris climate agreement and proclaimed its goal of achieving a CO2-free electricity supply by 2035.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas: “The energy transition must succeed in order for our planet to have a future. Support for this has never been greater around the world. The US is back on board in the area of climate policy. China, South Korea and Japan have also committed to achieving climate neutrality. We must seize this momentum. With the energy transition and the end of the fossil fuel era, which is drawing nearer, the world will change dramatically in the coming decades. We must adapt to this situation. New dynamics will emerge that will also give rise to tensions. That is why we need a forward-looking external energy policy that can promote cooperation while preventing conflicts.”
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier: “The energy transition and climate protection, if we approach them intelligently, do not stand in the way of prosperity or the competitiveness of our economies. On the contrary, they have the potential to be a driver of innovation and sustainable growth. The constantly growing alliance of countries committed to climate neutrality by 2050 increases our scope for tackling this Herculean task together in close cooperation at the international level.”
President of the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) Dr Simone Peter: “Renewable technologies are ready to meet national and international energy needs across the board in all sectors. Thanks to massive cost reductions, they are now, in many cases, more cost-effective than conventional energy sources and are therefore the key to a sustainable, clean and secure energy system. In terms of the nexus between climate protection and industry and trade, these technologies are also providing an enormous economic stimulus in the coronavirus crisis. The priority now is to continue to drive forward their expansion globally and align energy systems to 100 percent renewable sources.”
In keeping with the BETD’s tradition as a global forum for the energy transition, this year’s event will once again feature speeches and discussions with Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Francesco La Camera and Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Fatih Birol.
Since 2015, the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue has been hosted by the Federal Government and co-organised with the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), the German Energy Agency (dena) and the consultancy firm eclareon.
A total of more than 2700 guests almost 100 countries are expected to join the BETD over a two-day period.