Achieving SDGs in energy, climate mitigation and business

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The European Commission actively supports the member states efforts both in preparing their long-term SDGs strategies and providing necessary information on energy sectors’ development by: a) the available and modern scientific knowledge in energy sector’s transition, and b) providing best practices and shared knowledge to support progressive measures in the member states’ energy efficiency.  

     The new EU-wide requirements for states’ energy and climate departments provide for combined forces in preparing specialists in such fields as reducing all sorts of emissions, creating resilience policies to adverse effects of climate change and in promotion regional and international energy cooperation. Different national economy sectors’ strategies are directly connected to specific education providers: thus, the EU energy union (being closely connected to climate actions and SDGs) provide rules for the member states sectoral energy policies, which (in their turn) are “forcing” the sector to fill-in the required deficit in qualified labour force and trained specialists. Among the latter, according to the EU’s priorities, are the following are important in e.g. preparing public sectors’ specialists in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, in efficient use of fossil fuels, as well as in energy infrastructures, in low-carbon and clean energy technologies, in nuclear energy, etc.
These specialists shall be prepared in universities and/or re-skilled in vocational training, depending on national energy strategy and socio-economic priorities.

Historically, it was the EU regulation on “energy governance” in the states and European “energy union”, adopted at the end of 2018, which set out a process for the states to prepare the necessary strategies and new approaches to energy on a 10-year basis; besides, national long-term strategies should be consistent with the EU complex energy and climate plans for 2021-30. Numerous EU regulations are provides the necessary legislative foundation for a reliable, inclusive, cost-efficient, transparent and predictable national governance in the “energy union and climate actions” (so-called, governance mechanism), which ensure the achievement of the EU-2030 energy union and long-term objectives (in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). It formed a set of complementary, coherent and ambitious efforts by the EU institutions and the member states governance in limiting administrative complexity.

Besides, the European “energy union” is covering the following five basic “dimensions”: energy security; the internal energy market; energy efficiency; decarbonisation; as well as research, innovation and competitiveness.

     Thus, the EU member states were forced to establish 10-year integrated national energy and climate plans (NECP) for up to 2030, in which they outlined the strategies to address such vital issues as: energy efficiency and renewables, greenhouse gas emissions reductions and energy’s interconnections, as well as research and innovation in the energy sector. This EU-states’ cooperation requires not only a coordination of energy strategies among sectoral government bodies but also closer connection with the education policy in preparing needed specialists; i.e. it provides for a planning structures that will ease public and private investment in preparing the needed specialists to increase efficiency gains.
More on NECPs in: https://energy.ec.europa.eu/topics/energy-strategy/national-energy-and-climate-plans-necps_en

     The European Commission has been assessing the NECPs in all EU states by providing necessary comments for the best implementation model, e.g. Commission issued such an assessment in June 2019 on the Danish draft of National Energy and Climate Plan covering the period 2021-2030, before in turned into a final plan, included a set of recommendation and suggestions on the plan’s most optimal fulfillment.
More on the Danish climate-energy strategy in: https://en.kefm.dk/ and https://kefm.dk/energi-og-raastoffer/energiunionen/

     Most vital for the SDGs implementation in the states is the so-called European “green deal”, which is aimed at practically transforming the member states’ economies and societies along efficient energy and climate policies. The EU-27 are committed to turn to the climate-neutral growth models by 2050 and to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, according to the “fit-for-55” plan.
These targets will create new opportunities for the education sector in innovation and investment to prepare the needed workforce with knowledge and abilities to reduce emissions, create new type of growth models, address energy poverty, as well as reduce external energy dependency and improving peoples’ health and well-being.
Additional information in the Commission’s general web-link at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/european-green-deal/delivering-european-green-deal_en

     New trends have appeared in the business-SDG connections: e.g. sustainability reporting standards that address training and skills development should specify, amongst other things, information to be reported about the proportion and breakdown of workers participating in training. Sustainability reporting standards that address collective bargaining should specify, amongst other things, information to be disclosed about the existence of works councils as well as the existence of collective agreements and the proportion of workers covered by such agreements. Sustainability reporting standards that address participation of workers should specify, amongst other things, information to be disclosed about the participation of workers in administrative and supervisory boards.
Sustainability reporting standards that address diversity should specify, amongst other things, information to be reported on gender diversity at top management and the number of members of different gender on their boards.
More in the Directive: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32022L2464

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