June 2017

By Pero Jolevski

Last Friday, a few hours after President Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Burisma Group, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Adam Smith Conferences, held a forum in Monaco on Energy Security for the Future: New Vision, Strategy, and Innovation.

Featured participants at the conference included HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Kistion, former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, and former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt. Those attending the conference included European and American leaders from both the private and government sectors, ambassadors, and several global “thought leaders” from nongovernmental organizations.

The discussion ranged from European energy security and global challenges, to innovation in new renewable energy sources. Other presentations addressed investment in a clean energy supply, how best to share knowledge and insights within the transatlantic community, and the many challenges the globe is facing, including China’s growing role in global geopolitics and President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Should President Trump’s withdrawal be ratified, the U.S. would become the third country, along with Syria and Nicaragua, to withhold support for this global effort. Participants expressed hope that the U.S. is able to renegotiate terms and rejoin the accord, considered crucial for combatting climate change and key to the success of the initiative.

The forum's participants noted Europe's own challenges too. While acknowledgement was paid to the significance of Russia as a supplier of gas, participants discussed the opportunities to decrease dependence through investment in natural gas production. One example that was highlighted is the fact that the Mediterranean Sea around Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, and Turkey has the same amount of gas deposits as Norway. In countries such as Ukraine that have deep reserves, the capacity for domestic production should be encouraged using tax incentives to stimulate exploration and production rather than expanding tax and other financial burdens on private sector producers.

In the EU, participants noted a critical need for common energy legislation to boost investment in green energy in all member states. Investment in high capacity batteries was seen as the future for renewables due to energy storage needs. Development and investment in new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals was also noted as an immediate option for the diversification of energy supplies. Finally, participants extolled policies such as tax breaks and financial incentives for the development and use of clean energy sources to stimulate the switch to clean power.

Overall, leaders at the conference agreed that establishing priorities and a long-term vision, with possible short term impacts, is crucial for ensuring a sustainable future for the planet.