Stop someone on the street and ask them about climate change and you will likely receive a host of answers. All of the buzz around climate change and COP26 has resulted in an unprecedented amount of information making its way into the public sphere. The public have also been introduced to another concept making its way into our modern Zeitgeist: The energy transition. The term generally refers to moving away from existing fossil fuel energy sources and moving to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydrogen. While this concept is understood, the precise terms of the transition are less clear. 

The governments of Denmark and Costa Rica are spearheading the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) which aims to fix a date to phase out fossil fuel production effectively setting a hard deadline for the energy transition. New member countries of BOGA are expected to be announced in the next few days during COP26; however, it appears the UK will not be joining the alliance. While the UK continues the push to move the energy sector to a low-carbon future, the country still believes there is a need for oil and gas in the years to come. Several energy supply models appear to share this belief. For example, the World Energy Council's World Energy Scenarios to 2050 estimates fossil fuels will make up 59% to 79% of the global energy mix in 2050. While the report indicates significant growth in renewable energy sources, the projected increase in global energy demand will still require fossil fuels.

As fossil fuels are likely to remain part of the energy mix for years to come, the UK is looking to innovate to decarbonize this sector. For example, the North Sea transition deal includes a joint government and industry investment in Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) of £3 billion. Protecting this environmentally innovative technology through intellectual property rights (for example patent, trade mark, design, copyright and trade secret protection) can assist innovators in expanding their business to international markets in order to lessen environmental impacts globally.

"While the U.K.'s reliance on fossil fuels continues to fall, there will continue to be ongoing but diminishing need for oil and gas over the coming years while we ramp up renewable energy capacity."

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