To be sure, breaking down silos is never easy. During his two years as a Project Manager at the European Commission, in Brussels, Andres Fernandez, Class of 2016 discovered that even well-meaning projects can have a rocky start. For example, one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Europe is to increase cross-border transmission of renewable energy. But to do that, countries must pay for the infrastructure. “Whether France wants to accept Spanish grids, or the United Kingdom wants to be connected to Europe, these are huge challenges to overcome,” he says.
Fernandez now works for the Carbon Trust in Mexico City, where he helps Latin American governments decarbonize. But lessons learned in Europe remain front of mind. In 2018, France and Spain finally agreed to build a renewable link, but only after the European Union funded the construction. For Fernandez, stories like this illustrate that to move away from fossil fuels the world needs ambitious ideas paired with appropriate policy.