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Energy Transition in The Commonwealth: Walking the thin line of De-carbonisation and Growth

Written by Ashutosh Shastri, Director, EnerStrat Consulting, UK |

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement set the stage for a global commitment to curtail carbon emissions and pursue efforts to limit the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees C by end of this century and, as a means of achieving this objective, set the stage for a low carbon economic trajectory. The Glasgow Agreement at COP-26 endorsed the commitment of many developed and developing nations such as China and India to achieve “Net Zero” carbon emissions by mid-century. As the COP-27 progresses this week in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, it is now recognised by policy makers all over the world that refusing to acknowledge the need to pursue such an Energy Transition is increasingly unacceptable.

This article explores the prospects of the Commonwealth nations pursuing energy transition policies to achieve sustainable low carbon economic growth and argues the case for a balanced, just and fair energy transition in the Commonwealth countries that not only includes a role for renewable energy but also for policy prescriptions that do not exclude the role of fossil fuels. The world over, natural gas/LNG – as the cleanest burning and lowest carbon emission intensity fossil fuel - is emerging as fuel vector of choice. This article argues therefore for a case where not only is natural gas utilisation in the Commonwealth is encouraged, it makes the case for continued E&P activity in the Commonwealth countries especially for Natural Gas/LNG.

This article concludes with the idea for exploring the possibility for an intra-Commonwealth Cap-and-Trade based Carbon Emission Trading scheme, like the one which has been working successfully in the European Union for the last 17 years.