What will be the role of the media in ”Green Deal”?
Aynur Tattersal- KGK Deputy Secretary General
Mehmet Öğütçü warned the government and business community: “If we do not prepare urgently for the Green Deal, the economic and political cost will be heavy. The media, playing a vital role in this process, will continue to play.”
The imposition of climate change, ecological balances and life have put us in the process of “greening” in almost all areas. After that, the effort to turn green will continue. Green agriculture, green energy, green environment, green technology, green cities, green generation, greeb education, green finance…
Furthermore green revival packages and green growth targets are at the top of our agenda to repair the devastation caused by Covid-19 and to heal the wounds.
The Chairman of the Global Resources Partnership, headquartered in London, and the Chief Executive Officer of the London Energy Club, we met with Mehmet Öğütçü, one of the world’s leading energy, investment and geopolitical authorities, on this very critical issue.
He gave early warning signals to the government and business world by sharing his advice on the urgent needs to be taken in the public and private sectors, including the media, from the point of view of Turkey.
Aynur: You are one of the international authorities who is most concerned about this brand new issue. I guess this Green passion is not a new development. Why do you think it’s suddenly become so important now?
Mehmet: you’re right, it’s not new. Do not doubt that when the Green criteria are inevitably introduced, they will fundamentally affect our business life, government policies, and us as individuals.
For him, we must try to comply with “Green Deal” now, which will be the credo of the global order until carbon neutralization targets are met in 2050.
Otherwise, the cost of the delay will be heavy for all of us, both economically and politically.
A: When we say Green Deal, only the European Union comes to mind, but you describe this phenomenon as a global dynamic?
M: Currently, most of the talk is in the EU, but the “Green Deal” has three main pillars in the global order. The Green Deal of the European Union was put forward by the European Commission in December 2019. As Joe Biden sits in the White House, he is expected to take global leadership in climate change initiatives again and enact the “New Energy Accord” in the United States. The latest is the “green recovery” strategy, launched under the leadership of Chinese Green President Xi Jinping.
All three initiatives launched by the world’s largest economic giants will fundamentally affect our trade, access to financial resources, environmental standards, manufacturing industry, services sector in a few years; and those who do not comply with the criteria imposed by them will be subject to criminal sanctions.
It can even become a political yardstick, just like the EU’s Copenhagen political and Maastricht economic yardstick. We will not have the power to resist them or to put forward our own conditions. It’s not just us, no country will.
A: How do you think Biden is designing a green deal in America?
M: The “new Green Deal”, announced in America to stimulate and stabilize the economy after Covid-19, is considered a federal program. It aims to meet all of the country’s electricity needs from clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources within a decade.
The New Energy Deal is not just about climate change. At the same time, the 10-year mobilization in the effort to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions, millions of good, high-paying jobs create economic security to ensure sustainable investment in infrastructure and industry to meet the challenges of the 21st century, clean air and water, climate and society, resilience, healthy food, access to nature, the environment and sustainable targeting should also be seen in this context.
However, the problem is that green deal leaders prefer to remain silent on how to complete the transformation towards the world reaching zero emissions by 2050, especially on how to finance these efforts.
This requires tremendous mobilization. It is difficult for countries to make progress alone, so it is being transformed into a global struggle.
A: In the face of this situation, I think China, on its way to becoming the world’s largest economy, also needs to green rapidly?
M: It certainly is. This process of change has already begun, it continues successfully. China has taken on that role since Trump withdrew from his leadership on global climate change. Now Biden, I think, will reclaim that role, appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry as special representative to him.
If we want to root out the problem of climate change, we need to shut down all the coal-fired power plants in China and move on to clean energy. But this won’t be easy, of course. Because 80 percent of this country’s economy is still based on coal. China’s energy economy looks like a giant ship, its maneuverability is limited, it takes a lot of trouble and time to change direction.
However, let’s face it, China is greening faster than our estimates. Especially for the last 10 years. Beijing has signed the Paris climate agreement after a long time of foot-dragging. It will build 800 GW of new plants to increase its renewable capacity to 1000 GW by 2030. Which is a capacity equal to the entire electrical system of the United States. 1.3 billion people live in China and 325 million in the United States. Although it is unlikely to meet this goal, it is developing new technologies to reduce local air pollution and climate emissions.
A: But the EU’s “Green Deal”seems more effective than all of them. What do you think?
M: I agree with you. I think that the European Commission’s new energy transformation, called the ‘European Green Deal’, adopted in December 2019, will come into force at the earliest and will directly affect us. It aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieve its zero carbon emissions target by 2050.
It aims to gradually implement new sectoral criteria, taxes and business models, and to completely change the fossil fuel-based economic model by trying to spread these criteria globally to the countries in which it has trade relations.
He clearly emphasizes in the agreement that trading partners and neighbors can resort to their influence, expertise, financial resources to take the necessary measures when it comes to it.
It is also considering using a variety of coercive and market instruments, including sanctions, carbon taxes and limits, to protect the competitiveness of companies targeting low carbon emissions, even if other countries do not meet the criteria.
A: Is the carbon tax and carbon cap at the top of these instruments?
M: What is actually targeted with the carbon tax is the ability to increase sustainable private and public sector investment by changing consumer and business behavior.
The driving force of this new approach is the change in energy use preferences. Considering the cost of fossil fuels to the environment, renewable energy is projected to replace oil and coal in the future, approaching zero marginal cost.
According to the”Green Deal”, sustainability and cost-effectiveness will stand out in the EU’s new business model, leasing and sharing, rather than ownership, will shape the economy.
An additional $ 260 billion is needed to achieve the 2030 targets alone, a figure of 1.5 percent of EU GDP. Many investor groups are very sensitive about the companies they invest in meeting certain climate criteria, and there is no investment if you don’t.
A: You have underlined their reflections on Turkey. So what areas do we need to prepare in particular?
M: It’s not clear yet when you look at it with your bare eyes, but we’re among the countries where the green deal will affect the most. Turkey is a country that consumes energy at a higher cost than the world and Europe.
The effects of the “Green Deal” will be felt across all sectors, not just the energy sector. Sectors, businesses, especially those exporting to the EU, will face trade restrictions or sanctions, unless the necessary alignment steps are taken immediately.
Funding from multilateral or commercial financing institutions will become impossible. Efforts to modernise the Customs Union with the EU will be disrupted by the blockades.
It will no longer be a political and economic choice but a necessity for us to pass the “Climate Change Convention”, which we signed in Paris but Parliament has not ratified, through the ratification process without delay.
Beyond abstract information, we have to identify the risks and opportunities that green deal transformation in energy will create for our business world first-hand, and put the impact on the policy and business strategies of both the government and companies on the table.
Therefore, if we cannot take the right steps and implement the right policies to adapt to this change with the government, local governments, industry, the contracting sector, agriculture, services and energy, we may be late when the global transformation is complete.
Determining the right strategy is not enough alone, but it is also critical that the transformation is carried out, funded, and does not contradict international good practice.
A: So how do you think there can be a connection between the Green Deal and the media?
M: The “Green Deal” should also be seen as a social contract that will establish the foundation of a sustainable economy. The media plays two vital roles in this process; it will continue to play.
First, paper-based, electronic or video media should reduce their own carbon emissions, carbon footprint, minimize the environmental impact of their activities. If it does not adapt in these areas, the media will lose customers, its access to funding sources will be limited, and no progress will be made in its internationalization.
Second, the independent media, climate change, carbon emissions, environmental destruction, government, and municipal policies and decisions on companies failing stimulating, informative, inquisitive, intellectual, a follower of the line of broadcast, trace, transparent and accountable practices to support dialogue and cooperation, encouragement, is of great importance.
Taking the right stance will make the media a key actor in the green deal process.