Tuesday 17 November 2015, 18:30

Geneva Energy Conversations: Fossil Fuels in Sustainable Energy Systems

In collaboration with UNECE

High-level panel of experts


  • Adrian Dellecker, Head, Policy and Research, WWF
  • Barry K. Worthington, Executive Director, United States Energy Association (U.S. Member Committee of the World Energy Council)
  • Nick Belinger, President, Swisscleantech
  • Mats Fredriksson, Director, International Gas Union
  • Joëlle Noailly,  Head of Research, Centre for International Environmental Studies, Graduate Institute

Moderated by Scott Foster, Director, Sustainable Energy Division, UNECE

See Event Registration link, below

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time.  Equally important, however is the need to ensure access to energy for quality of life and for economic development.

Fossil fuels comprise 80% of current global primary energy demand, and the energy system is the source of approximately 2/3 of global CO2 emissions.  In as much as methane and other short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) emissions are believed to be severely underestimated, it is likely that energy production and use are the sources of an even greater share of emissions.  If current trends continue - in other words: maintaining the current share of fossil fuels and nearly doubling energy demand to 2050 - emissions will greatly surpass the amount of carbon that could be emitted if the global average temperature rise is to be limited to 2 degree Celcius.  That level of emissions would have disastrous climate consequences for the planet.

The need to reduce emissions does not preclude the use of fossil fuels, but it does require a significant change in direction.  Fossil fuels will be part of the global energy system for decades to come – whether we like it or not. Energy efficiency and renewables are often positioned as key solutions needed to meet climate goals in the energy system, but they are not enough.

From that perspective it is essential that we have an open and transparent discussion on the role of fossil fuels in sustainable energy systems globally in the creation of practical climate strategies. It is especially important to engage emerging economies and developing countries in the context of COP21 and the years beyond.

This event will explore global energy challenges and how fossil fuels can move from being only a problem to becoming part of the solution.  Our panel will address questions such as:

  • Are fossil fuels really needed in the future energy system?
  • Can fossil fuels be “sustainable”?
  • Why is progress so slow (if any)?

17 November 2015
18:30 - 20:00
Auditorium Ivan Pictet
Maison de la paix, Geneva


More About Geneva Energy Conversations

This event is the third in a series of energy conversations that bring together Geneva-based and international energy experts to discuss persistent questions related to sustainable energy and climate change from another angle.

The aim is to propose innovative approaches or introduce elements for practical solutions with a view to share ideas that are inspirational, can change attitudes and contribute to a real energy revolution.

Developed in partnership with the Graduate Institute Geneva, this third event will be held in the context of UNECE's 24th Session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy Meeting:  Pathways to Sustainable Energy, from 18-20 November 2015.

In collaboration with:

unece1.jpg             CIES 2 box logo.jpg