Q. A recent European summit on climate action ended in what some termed a disappointment. Why?
A. "That's not the way I see it. We agreed on targets for renewables, energy independence, and other targets the commission has proposed. We also moved to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030. That's not low ambition, that's high ambition."
Q. Has the global shale boom taken attention away from climate change?
A. "Shale gas is good as a [bridge] to replace oil and coal, but it should not make you think you should not reduce emissions. There is more energy economy that can save money on energy bills, and renewables are coming down significantly in price. I always say shale should not be used as a "sleeping pillow," so you don't need to reduce fossil fuel dependency.
Q. What can governments do to push a sustainable agenda?
A. We need politicians that can take chances and embrace change. When you set up political targets and the incentives are right to invest…you can stimulate growth. People must understand that business as usual is costly. You will experience more droughts, more severe precipitation and more extreme weather. That comes with huge costs. There are costs to business as usual, and we need to do things in a smarter way."