Life post COP26 and the clean energy transition: Where do we take the conversation now?
On Wednesday, 24th November, VMAGROUP hosted an event called "Life post COP26 and the clean energy transition" - an hour and a half long open discussion for communication leaders from leading companies within the energy sector. Together we explored the key themes that came to the public's attention following COP26 and how communications practitioners can help to make a real difference.
Years of work has gone into delivering the high-profile conference on climate change where the transition towards cleaner, greener energy was centre stage. "The Glasgow Climate Pact", signed at the end of the summit sees energy - reduction in emissions, the use of coal, and other related commitments - as the most significant part of the agreement.
With communications professionals from Orsted, Shell, Ofgem, Energy UK and many more in attendance, we exchanged ideas about effectively engaging stakeholder groups on the topic of the energy transition and discussed challenges faced.
One of the main communications challenges within the energy sector is being able to present and effectively communicate a nuanced message in a world dominated by binary and often oversimplified narratives. For example, the affordability for the consumers is often the most significant aspect, but increasingly people are concerned about the wider environmental implications of their energy use. How can the communicators reach and educate consumers about renewable sources or safety regarding nuclear energy?
This challenge can often present an excellent opportunity for the comms practitioners to play a greater role in the quest towards cleaner energy by encouraging more action.
In the mainstream media, we have recently seen a shift towards solidifying the acceptance of the inevitability of climate change, with dedicated climate or environmental editors across many publications.
However, this open approach also brings new challenges - especially for those working within the renewable energy sector such as the offshore wind industry. While it is important to have the government's backing and develop the public's trust, the media is quick to criticise and question anything from reliability to cost-effectiveness. From the communication's point of view, the main challenge to overcome is to anticipate the difficult questions and be able to present valid and convincing arguments, further aiding the transition towards cleaner energy.
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