French, German energy experts have low expectations of Paris summit -surveys

Published 18:28 on September 18, 2015  /  Last updated at 18:28 on September 18, 2015  /  Climate Talks, EMEA, EU ETS, International  /  No Comments

The UN climate summit in Paris is unlikely to lead to a legally binding international agreement but failure to strike a deal would not water down national climate policies, two surveys found.

The UN climate summit in Paris is unlikely to lead to a legally binding international agreement but failure to strike a deal would not water down national climate policies, two surveys found.

According to the ZEW and GEM Energy Market Barometers, twice-yearly surveys of German and French energy experts, more than 70% of the German experts and 60% of French ones believe Paris will not lead to a legally binding international treaty.

Yet for both countries, about 80% of the experts believe that the national climate targets will remain unchanged even if the Paris Climate Summit fails to produce.

“In Germany and France, citizens have very strong preferences towards climate change. As a result, national climate policy is rather independent of the outcome of international negotiations,” said Joachim Schleich, Professor of Energy Economics at Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM).

About 75% of the French experts and 50% of German ones believe a mandatory climate agreement would have a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ effect on the investment climate in the energy and electrical engineering sectors in their respective countries.

Below are the key survey findings:

  • 62% of the French energy experts do not expect a legally binding agreement to emerge in Paris – this share was 77% among the German experts.
  • A majority of the French energy experts think that failing to reach a legally binding agreement in Paris would not change the French climate policy targets.
  • A legally binding agreement would have positive effects on investment in the energy sector and, in particular, the electrical industry.
  • Two-thirds of the French energy experts believe that an agreement in Paris would generate a momentum for climate innovation in OECD countries, but less so in non-OECD countries.
  • Carbon allowance prices rise only in the medium-to-long-term, but levels remain rather low.
  • The announced intention of the G7 to phase out all fossil fuels by the end of this century did not affect the experts’ expectations about carbon allowance prices or medium-term fuel prices.
  • Electricity and coal prices are expected to remain stable over the next six months.
  • The majority of the experts consider the current low oil and gas prices to be a rather temporary phenomenon.

Germany’s ZEW Energy Market Barometer had 200 responses in May. France’s GEM Energy Market Barometer is based on 135 responses in early June 2015.

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