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Rae Kwon Chung: “The modern world needs a new energy paradigm”

The world is about to usher in a new industrial revolution, which is different in scale and complexity from all previous ones. Obviously, the coming reality requires a revision of the main spheres of public life. “Humanity needs a transition to a new energy paradigm,” said Rae Kwon Chung, Chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, Member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He presented his report on this topic at the recent HPAIR Harvard Project on Asia and International Relations Conference in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan).

The first industrial revolution began with the invention of the steam engine, the second took place on the basis of the use of electricity and conveyor production, the third revolution was accompanied by a widespread transition to information and communication technologies. Many experts call the current time transitional. The large-scale operation of the fourth industrial revolution, which is characterized by fully automated digital production, has not yet occurred, but the technology of the third has reached a peak.

According to Rae Kwon Chung, on the way to the fourth industrial revolution, the world can no longer rely on cheap fossil fuels, a new energy paradigm is needed that will not only meet global climate challenges, but also become a driver of economic growth. The transition to a new paradigm will not occur naturally, it must be accompanied by the development of innovative technologies and the removal of political barriers. In some countries, the cost of energy from ‘clean’ sources today can compete with the price of energy from fossil resources. However, for complex transformations, changes are needed in the economic and social systems, starting from reorganizations of legal acts regulating the electric power industry, ending with new urban planning, building design, and vehicles’ substitute.

The expert believes that a country like Kazakhstan has every opportunity to build a new energy paradigm. Especially given the country's ambitions to reduce harmful emissions by 15% and the strategy towards the development of clean energy. To achieve success along this path, Kazakhstan should develop its energy policy, according to Rae Kwon Chung.

In particular, it is necessary to invest fossil fuel export revenues in a new energy paradigm, which in turn will stimulate innovation and  industrial growth. Secondly, a number of measures should be taken to stimulate green energy. For example, lay on a CO2 imposition introduce . Thirdly, to begin the construction of eco-cities adapted to the climatic conditions of Central Asia, with a compact urban planning system, energy-efficient buildings, and ‘clean’ public service vehicle. Fourth, take advantage of the potential of ‘super grids’ in order to export surplus of renewable energy. And fifth, implement the ‘Green Bridge’ partnership program to realize investment opportunities. Recall that the goal of the program is to unite the efforts of states, international organizations, public and business sectors in the region of Europe, Asia and the Pacific for transition to a ‘green economy’.

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