COP26: The Climate Has No Borders
Climate change is accelerating globally. Californians experience its effects with increased drought and wildfires, which are now more intense, frequent and unpredictable.
As international leaders gather in Glasgow, Scotland for the UN Climate Change Conference, Edison International executives are delivering the company’s plans for a clean energy future to nations facing the urgent threat of climate change, as well as promoting the accomplishments of California’s investor-owned utilities in implementing the state’s transformative policies.
“Societies around the world must reduce emissions at a much faster rate than ever before to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “We must pursue carbon neutrality with unprecedented urgency and commitment.”
“We have over the last five years or so spent a lot of time looking at fundamental analysis not only for our sector within the walls of our industry but looking at what it will take to decarbonize the entire California economy. We think it’s affordable and we think it’s a model that can be used in other places.”
Addressing a UN conference panel titled “Aiming for Net Zero,” Pizarro said in California alone, Edison estimates $250 billion is needed statewide for renewable energy resources, storage and grid investment. During another panel, energy industry leaders emphasized that clean electricity is inherently cheaper than fossil fuels for consumers in the long run, which will lead to a solid return on investment for those who switch to all-electric appliances. But they need a way to reduce the initial expense of purchasing electric water heaters, stoves and furnaces. “We need government to help monetize that pot of gold through incentives,” Pizarro said.
Edison International executives will exchange ideas, learn from successes of other countries and companies in reducing climate-damaging emissions — and share the many ways California utilities are leading the transformation toward a clean energy future. One point Edison International delegates are making in Glasgow: the transition to a clean energy future will be successful only if it is affordable and reliable for everyone, including the most vulnerable communities. The right policies and funding to enable economywide emissions reductions will reduce the cost of adopting clean technologies and help the broadest range of customers attain the economic, environmental and health benefits of decarbonization.
In fact, the electric sector, with a 40% reduction in emissions since 2005, has been primarily responsible for California’s overall emissions-reduction progress.
Even so, “if California is to meet its 2030 and 2045 climate change goals, the state must quadruple its annual rate of greenhouse gas reductions by adopting market-transforming policies and incentives that address historical inequities within the next one to two years,” Pizarro added.
Edison is playing a pivotal role in helping California achieve its environmental goals.
A recent example: Southern California Edison will add 535 megawatts of battery energy storage at three strategically located substations, bringing SCE’s total amount of installed and procured storage capacity to about 2,810 megawatts. The batteries will be charged when electricity demand is lower and used during periods of peak demand. They will also decrease the electric grid’s dependence on natural gas power plants as California transitions to a clean energy future.
Meanwhile, Edison Energy, Edison International’s competitive business, is working with business and industrial clients (including 20 of the Fortune 100) to transform their energy use.
An economywide approach is essential because future investments to reduce carbon emissions will have a bigger impact when spent on an electric vehicle or heat pump instead of on eliminating the last CO2 molecule from the power sector.
“As a company, we are acting on our commitment to achieving net-zero GHG emissions by 2045 in alignment with economywide actions planned by the state of California as part of its climate and carbon neutrality goals. We’ve been encouraged by what we have heard and seen in Glasgow,” Pizarro said.