CAFFEET’15: "Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time"
CaFFEET (California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies) is an annual conference organized by the Office for Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the United States, EDF, PRIME and French Tech Hub. Its aim is to promote the exchange of technical and scientific knowledge in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency between two major low-carbon economies: France and California.
Opening keynote by Pauline Carmona, Consul General of France in San Francisco
"Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge of our time.
We know the devastating effects of global warming. We know not only the climate effects but also those on public health, development, security and peace. We also know the very positive effects that successful action in moving towards a new, lower-carbon economy will have on sustainable growth.
In just a month from now, the COP 21 will begin in Paris. France and California have continuously reaffirmed their commitment to reach a legally binding, universal and ambitious agreement, in order to effectively limit global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade.
The significant damages if greenhouse gas emissions are not curbed make it crucial to transform the energy sector. This transformation will entail developing entirely new industries and making major changes in the way energy is produced, distributed and used.
France and California understood it long time ago. Both can play a leadership role in these efforts and become world leaders in clean energy technologies.
California is now officially aiming to generate half of electricity supply with renewable energy, and to double the energy efficiency of buildings, by 2030.
France for its part committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, increase the share of renewable energy to more than 30% of final energy consumption by 2030, and reduce the share of nuclear energy to 50% by 2025.
The fight against global warming implies the mobilization of all territories and sectors. What we call the Agenda of Solutions is everything territories, business and non-state actors are going to put forward to combat climate disruption. France encourages countries, states and cities to step up their efforts and mobilize public and private funding.
These financial efforts will only be effective if they are based on national and local economic policies that take climate risks into consideration, notably through the widespread use of carbon pricing, the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and increased incentives for investment in resilient, low carbon infrastructure.
Our priority is to shift the focus of global efforts away from an approach of burden-sharing and onto one of solution-sharing. We know we will only meet the challenge of climate change if we see it also as an opportunity: to innovate; to create jobs and growth; to improve competitiveness.
I am amazed at the collaborative work I have witnessed between France and California in the last year.
Scientists, entrepreneurs and policy makers are working to develop long-term pathways at the scale of cities, economic sectors and national economies, with strong focus on making solutions operational.
In this respect, the California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies is a key instrument of soft diplomacy. I would like to thank Electricité de France, the Office for Science and Technology at the French Embassy, PRIME and the French Tech Hub to make this annual event possible, as well as all event sponsors.
Today and tomorrow the CaFFEET’15 speakers are going to address the challenges and opportunities related to the integration of an increasing share of renewable electricity sources in the energy mix.
I would like to conclude this speech by mentioning that France and California have decided to step up their cooperation on climate change by encouraging the establishment of strategic alliances fostering the transfer of clean technologies and scientific knowledge.
We are currently working on a joint framework and declaration around the climate challenges. The purpose will be to promote and carry out cooperative activities including sustainable urban development, smart infrastructure and resiliency.
France and California are also home to world-class institutions of higher education, especially in the sectors of energy and environmental research. Both will work together to frame applied research programs concerning green technologies and policy development.
We are all in this together.
My warmest thanks again to each and everyone of you. It is going to be an exciting day and a half of conference and in-depth French-US panel discussions.
Thank you very much."