Carbon-intensive states and regions to accelerate net-zero economy through new Energy Transition Platform meeting

Ilario D'Amato
Reading time: 3 minutes
6 December 2016

LONDON: The Climate Group is convening today some of the most highly industrialized states and regions around the world in a two-days, high-level meeting in London. Together, these governments are developing an organic strategy to accelerate the transition to the net-zero economy of the future.

As part of The Climate Group’s Energy Transition Platform, a global initiative designed to facilitate the dialogue between carbon-intensive territories, the seminar will focus on governments’ strategies and policy models to incentivize emissions reductions from energy-intensive industries – as well as challenges and barriers connected to it.

“The Energy Transition Platform helps shaping bold, innovative climate policies where it matters the most – at the heart of energy-intensive industries and at the subnational level,” says Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group.

“COP22 in Marrakech has shown once again how states and regions are crucial to deliver the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. This platform helps them to analyze their experiences and to share best practices to overcome barriers for the transition toward cleaner energy.”


Governments at the meeting will be joined also by a new knowledge partner, the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment, that will help assess and explore governments’ initiatives – bringing in technical knowledge, as well as policy and economic expertise.

The platform is generously funded by Stiftung Mercator, a German foundation who works “to make the ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets of Germany happen,” says Lars Grotewold, Director Centre for Climate Change, Stiftung Mercator, in a Climate TV interview. “This means minus 40% by 2020 and  minus 90-95% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.”

While the work on national policies is important to set the basic energy framework, “it is at the sub-national and regional level where implementation happens, and where much of the much-needed innovation stems from,” he adds.

Lars Grotewold, Director Centre for Climate Change, Stiftung Mercator

“We want to show the world that it is not only feasible, but also advantageous for a major economy like Germany to be very serious about the low carbon transformation,” says Lars Grotewold. “This is why we focus so much on the energy transition in Germany: we believe if successful, that can provide a real reference case for many other countries in the world.

“There are so many regions, so many nations having made experiences in these low carbon transformation processes. We want to take that in and bring it back to Germany – in order to improve, to optimize the implementation of the energy transition.”

“For this to happen, we need platforms for very trustful mutual exchange, mutual learning and joint implementation: and that is where The Climate Group and the Energy Transition Platform really comes into play.”


Launched earlier this year by The Climate Group alongside the initiative’s lead government of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Energy Transition Platform comprises 11 partner regions having a combined GDP of US$4.5 trillion, about the same as Japan. Together, they represent about 12.9% of the GHG emissions of their three world regions – North America, Europe and Australia.

The industrial sector accounts for about 37% of the global energy demand, and in 2013 the use of fossil fuels by the industry was responsible for 28% of global emissions. Steel and iron, aluminum, cement, chemicals and petrochemicals, pulp and paper are the most energy-intensive industries.

This numbers show how the Energy Transition Platform is the ideal place to address emissions reductions from these industries, which account for a big share in the regional energy consumption and GHG emissions of these partner regions.


Addressing these issues has also a strong socio-economic significance, with huge implications on the regions’ economy, employment and identity. For example, North Rhine-Westphalia – the traditional center of Germany’s manufacturing and energy-intensive industries – has seen a decline in employment in these sectors in recent years.

Despite – or even because of – challenges and the economic importance of the industry sector, the state government wants to make industry part of the solution and pursues the vision of an “ecological re-industrialization” unlocking future markets and business fields.

To better understand and solve these important themes, North Rhine-Westphalia’s government has also involved citizens and local stakeholders through a dedicated dialogue platform. Similarly, Minnesota is supporting the expansion of renewables through so-called ‘Community Solar Gardens’, which provide clean electricity to participating subscribers.

Next year, the Energy Transition Platform will move into the Innovation Lab phase – where smaller groups of governments will accelerate the scale-up of impactful policy models worldwide – with the expert supervision of the Grantham Institute.

“We cannot claim victory until we can show a solid pathway for these kind of highly industrialized regions to be part of a low carbon transition,” concludes Lars Grotewold in his Climate TV interview, “and to make use of all the new opportunities that come along with it.”

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon