by Rachel Holmes
“Play back assumptions we get sent, if you don’t like them – change them”
On the 30th January 2014, Miriam Maes and collaborators at the Solar Trade Association and German Marshall Fund undertook a ‘thinking’ workshop among a select group of high network and highly eclectic key influences. Participants included:
James Adams (Alexa Capital), Peter Ainsworth (Environmental Agency), Alissa Burger (Climate Interactive), Robbie Campbell (Veolia Environmental Services UK Plc), Gareth Davies (Pöyry Management Consulting Ltd), Yvonne Deng (Ecofys bv), Paul Drummond (University College London), Steve Fawkes (Energy advisor), Leonie Greene (Solar Trade Association), Rachel Holmes (Foresee), Christopher Huhne (Zilkhabiomass), Vahid Jalili (Sabien Tech), David Joffe (Committee on Climate Change), Drew Jones (Climate Interactive), Sally Jones (Foresee), Miriam Maes (Foresee), Elena Marro (Solar Trade Association), Doug Parr (Greenpeace), Ivo Spreeuwenberg (National Grid), Tim Vink (Honeywell), Andrew Warren (Association for the Conservation of Energy), Caroline Watson (Global Action Plan)
Andrew Jones of Climate Interactive presented the MIT developed technology En-Roads, a simulation capable of predicting climate conditions arising from various scenario’s of energy use. Informed by lengthy research and qualified by the science community as ‘fit for its purpose’, En-Roads postulates with some authority, how much an immediate decrease in the use of fossil fuels is required and equally an increase in energy efficiency, renewable energies, and a carbon tax or price is needed to stay within the maximum of a 2°C global temperature rise. Its calculation is equally inclusive of adjustable considerations ranging from population density to carbon price to global GDP, unearthing surprises for professionals and novices alike. Importantly, En-Roads reveals how intricately interwoven the energy and climate physical system is, emphasising that there is no single solution for a very present climate crisis.
This holistic approach is reflected in GMF’s commitment to transforming not only what is discussed around tables, but also the personal mentalities both shaped by and shaping our cultural habits in relation to energy and climate. As such, an atmosphere of communication and community distinguished the En-Roads workshop; encouraging real dialogue and making space for disagreement as an important aspect of learning and progress. By identifying the synthesis of action required for change, the En-Roads workshop reframed the climate problem as an opportunity for transformation and collaboration.