Previous Fora / 2011


Director, Global Energy Assessment

Nebojsa Nakicenovic is Deputy Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Professor of Energy Economics at the Vienna University of Technology, and Director of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA).
Among other positions, Prof. Nakicenovic is member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change; Member of the Advisory Council of the German Government on Global Change (WBGU); Member of the Advisory Board of the World Bank Development Report 2010: Climate Change; Member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Committee on Scientific Planning and Review, and Member of the Global Carbon Project; Member of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) Expert Panel on Sustainable Energy Supply, Poverty Reduction and Climate Change; Member of the Panel on Socioeconomic Scenarios for Climate Change Impact and Response Assessments; Lead Author of Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC; Member of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) Steering Committee; Member of the International Advisory Board of the Helmholtz Programme on Technology, and Chair of the Advisory Board of OMV Future Energy Fund (Austrian oil company).
He is also Editorial Board Member of the following journals: International Journal of Technological Forecasting and Social Change, International Journal on Climate Policy, the International Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, the International Journal of Energy Sector Management, and the Journal of Energy Strategy Reviews.
Prof. Nakicenovic was a Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Fourth Assessment Report, 2002 to 2007, Coordinating Lead Author of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2001–2005, Director, Global Energy Perspectives, World Energy Council, 1993 to 1998, Convening Lead Author of the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1993 to 1995, Convening Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, 1997 to 2000, Lead Author of Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, 1999 to 2001, Convening Lead Author of the World Energy Assessment: Energy and the Challenge of Sustainability, 1999 to 2000, Member of the International Science Panel on Renewable Energies (ISPRE), 2006 to 2008, and Guest Professor at the Technical University of Graz, 1993–2003.
Prof. Nakicenovic holds bachelors and masters degrees in economics and computer science from Princeton University, New Jersey, USA and the University of Vienna, where he also completed his Ph.D. He also holds Honoris Causa PhD degree in engineering from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Among Prof. Nakicenovic's research interests are the long-term patterns of technological change, economic development and response to climate change and, in particular, the evolution of energy, mobility, and information and communication technologies.



17:00-19:00 18 NOVEMBER
THEMATIC SESSION III. ICSU: “Foresight Scenarios: What will international science be like in 2031?”

World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability: Global Energy Transformations

Humankind has become a dominant factor of the Earth System. Indeed, the notion of the Anthropocene (‘The Age of Man’) was proposed to denote the human interference with the planetary processes. We are rapidly approaching dangerous interference with trends such as climate change and the destruction of biological diversity that jeopardize our natural life support systems. Nonetheless, there are also some positive developments, such as the shift in values towards greater environmental awareness which can be observed worldwide, as well as democratization and a modest decrease in poverty. A major, game-changing, grand transformation towards sustainable futures is both necessary and feasible. A key element of a “social contract” for transformative change toward a low-carbon and sustainable global economic system is the ‘proactive democracy with greatly extended participation by citizens.
By significant investment in new technologies and decarbonization as well as more sustainable lifestyles, multiple co-benefits can be achieved – from provision of affordable and clean energy services to creation of new business opportunities and mitigation of dangerous climate change. In the energy area, this implies a shift from traditional energy sources, in the case of those who are excluded from access today, to clean fossils and modern renewable energy, and in the more developed parts of the world, a shift from fossil energy sources to carbon-free and carbon neutral energy services. Thus, the emergence of new energy systems and infrastructures require two complementary co-evolutions – one is technological and the other institutional. The third one may be behavioral. With new technologies and systems, new business models and institutional arrangements will emerge. All of these complementary and co-evolving transformations will require market, regulatory and behavioral changes.
The cumulative nature of technological, institutional and behavioral change, all compounded by deep uncertainties, require innovations to be adopted as early as possible in order to lead through experimentation and evolutionary changes to lower costs and wider diffusion of niew systems in the following decades. The longer we wait to introduce these advanced technologies, the higher the required costs and emissions reduction will be as well as the “lock-in” into the old structures. The transformational change toward more sustainable futures requires enhanced research, development and deployment (public and private) efforts as well as early investments to achieve accelerated diffusion and adoption of advanced low-carbon technologies and systems.
The ever more evident crisis of the “old” development patterns is an opportunity for the “new” ones to emerge.