Tag: Finance

Renewables in 7, 6, 5, 4, …

To truly kickstart the transition towards 100% renewables by 2050 (at the latest), governments will need to increase global annual renewable energy investments four-fold. That means US$1.3 trillion by 2030, according to IRENA.

You might be thinking: “Whoa, that’s a lot, too much!”. But really, it’s fine — especially when the alternative is taken into account.  The annual costs of climate damages and deadly air pollution from fossil fuels would amount to $4 trillion — costs that mainly would impact the poor.

Similar investment growth is needed for energy efficiency, in all sectors. During the same period, investments in fossil fuels and nuclear need to decline by more than 50% from the present figure of almost $1 trillion. This is twice the size of the combined financing of renewables and energy efficiency.

To grow renewables to 100%, we need to start a few key things both simultaneously and immediately, well before 2020. Without further adieu, ECO presents The 7 Steps Towards The Renewable Future:

1) Governments need to regulate, legislate and incentivise the massive shift to renewables. This requires targets, steering and legislation in the financial sector.

2) Rich countries must significantly increase the support to poor countries for their own “Energiewende”. This should come from public and private sources.

3) Countries will need to rely on a range of renewable energy sources to realise a renewable-powered future. Wind and solar will dominate, but other sources such as geothermal, select hydropower and biomass, have a role to play too. It’s important to note that hydropower and biomass should only be deployed in a responsible and sustainable manner with respect to human rights. We have an obligation to leverage our renewable energy sources wisely and consider more than just the climate benefits of a particular source in order to reduce the risk of harmful impacts and unintended consequences.

4) Countries cannot rely on erratic markets, roller-coasting energy costs and fuel prices to get renewables in the system. Not only do countries need to stop new coal use, but they also need to start phasing out existing coal plants and avoid a lock-in into new natural gas – irrespective of the short-term economics.

5) Countries need to speed up alternatives to oil use, particularly in the transport and heating sector, such as renewable-based vehicle electrification and expansion of electrified public transport.

6) Policy regulation needs to include significant enhancement of energy efficiency and conservation across all consumption sectors and products. It is inconceivable to reach a fully renewable-based energy and industry system if the world does not harvest the many options and technologies already available on the market.

7) Advocacy and planning on the move to 100% renewables needs to include the many non-climate benefits of doing so. Avoiding deadly air pollution and health damage as well as erratic fuel import prices, while reducing manufacturing costs, enhancing water conservation and providing many more jobs than fossil fuels or nuclear, are all additional drivers for investing in renewables. And it all has to happen at a record speed if we want to limit irreversible climate damage.

ECO invites everyone to work together to make this happen. The Paris Agreement provides an excellent platform, but it is not a silver bullet. Actions have to happen everywhere by everyone.

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1.5°C to Stay Alive: the Paris Call for Action

ECO would like to express its solidarity with the tens of millions of people around the world presently suffering from a super strong El Niño, on top of record breaking temperatures. These circumstances paint a bleak future for many, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised peoples. Let us not forget, they are the least responsible for climate change.

A recent report highlights how, even at the current level of temperature increases, heat stress undermines well-being, the productivity of labour and sustaining health. And further, a growing number of nations are reaching the limits of what adaptation can do. In light of this, the reference to a 1.5°C limit, made by many Parties in their opening statements, sends a positive signal. It is also consistent with the decision made in Paris to bid farewell to the 2°C limit. The 1.5°C provision in the Paris Agreement helps the world better understand what the “well below 2 degrees” means.

Here in Bonn, governments have several opportunities to respond:

  1. Make the ambition, action and support required for a 1.5°C pathway key parameters of both the 2018 preliminary -stocktake and the fullstocktake in 2023.
  2. Start reviewing financial flows and scale them for a 1.5°C perspective, including phasing out subsidies for harmful fossil fuels.
  3. Accelerate pre-2020 action on mitigation in light of the COP 22 facilitative dialogue, adaptation TEMs, and the 100bn roadmap,
  4. Kick off the next periodic review and use the SBSTA research dialogue to improve understanding of the necessary actions.

It’s time that all Parties immediately shift away from emission intensive practices and come back with enhanced NDCs by 2018, or 2020 at the latest for countries with less capacity.

A 1.5°C world is possible thanks to global trends such as the falling cost of renewable energies. The affordability of these technologies will only increase if aided by further political commitment to a 100% renewable world.  The necessary changes are not constrained by technology but by political will. Last week’s global actions to “break free” from fossil fuels demonstrate that a growing number of citizens aspire to a post-fossil and climate resilient world. It’s now time for governments to live up to the ambition they committed to in Paris.

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Civil society experts set expectations on first day of UN climate negotiations in Bonn

May 16, Bonn, Germany - This UN climate negotiations, kicking off today in Bonn, represent the first time governments have formally met since the Paris Agreement was agreed last December, and with over 170 countries meeting in New York in April to sign the agreement political momentum on climate change continues on a high. Today countries are giving their opening statements in a plenary session as negotiators set out their stalls ahead of two weeks of negotiations, focused on rule-making for the new global climate regime and efforts to ramp up short-term ambition to tackle climate change. There is no time to lose.

“It was announced today that last month was the hottest April ever, which means we have now experienced seven months in a row of months breaking temperature records,” says Teresa Anderson from ActionAid. “As the hottest El Nino ever bites across the world, 60 million people are expected to face its impacts this year in the form of heatwaves, droughts and famine. In Paris, governments agreed to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This number may prove to be the planet's lifeline, but only if we choose to pick up that lifeline, grab it with both hands, and follow it to its necessary conclusion. We need much greater ambition to radically and fairly cut emissions, delivered much faster than the national pledges currently on the table.”

“We are seeing some positive signs”, says Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists. “177 parties have signed the Paris Agreement and 16 have already deposited instruments of ratification. Outside the UN process the renewable energy revolution is unfolding, and financial flows are shifting towards low carbon development - but the question is whether this is happening fast enough to keep pace with changes in the physical environment. Negotiators have an opportunity in Bonn to speed things up by developing the rulebook for the Paris Agreement, working to build capacity for a major increase in both pre- and post-2020 ambition, and putting the spotlight on efforts to ramp up support for adaptation and loss and damage ahead of the COP in Marrakesh.”

“Today the new Moroccan Presidency labelled COP 22 in Marrakesh the ‘COP for action’ which is good a start”, says Anoop Poonia from Climate Action Network South Asia. “This year we need action to develop a roadmap that delivers the long-promised $100 billion in climate finance. In the process negotiators must ensure this finance supports both adaptation and mitigation in order to boost the resilience of the most vulnerable countries already experiencing climate impacts. Right now less than $6 billion per year is available for adaptation - this is not enough. Another important task for governments here in Bonn is to get working on the rules for accounting and transparency so that we develop more accurate ways to measure the cost of complex climate impacts and exactly what support falls under the banner of ‘climate finance’ as we move forwards.”

Contact: Tierney Smith, GCCA, email: tierney.smith@tcktcktck.org, phone: +447545255955

About CAN: Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 950 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org 


What Do We Want? Climate Action! When Do We Want It? NOW!

In Paris, 195 countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C, aiming for 1.5°C. Yet, current INDCs are setting us on a pathway to around 3°C. To make matters worse, the remaining carbon budget even to stay well below 2°C might be used up by the time NDCs really begin to take effect. What we want is greater ambition now.

Parties have agreed that this issue will be high on the agenda at COP22 in Marrakech, with a high-level event on pre-2020 action and the facilitative dialogue on the implementation of pre-2020 commitments. This is all well and good, but we need to go beyond expert meetings, dialogues and events highlighting options if we are to close the mitigation and adaptation gaps. What we want is action now.

Delegates in Bonn must take the following steps:

1) Ensure that the Technical Expert Meetings focus on identifying barriers to more rapid deployment of climate-friendly technologies, as well as the actions needed to overcome those barriers.

2) Mandate the co-champions to spell out, in a scenario note, recommendations for decisions that Parties can take at COP22 to build support for the implementation of these actions.

3) Initiate a process under both the SBI and SBSTA to develop criteria for these actions, to ensure that they deliver real mitigation or adaptation change, respect human rights and food sovereignty, have environmental integrity and fully assess the potential risks associated with new technologies.

4) ECO wants to remind Parties that more action in developing countries will require adequate support, including fully delivering the US$100 billion promise. Developed countries need to come to Marrakech ready to put forward a clear and transparent roadmap on just how they plan to deliver by 2020.

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How Do You Count to 100?

Transparent systems for accounting and tracking climate finance flows are fundamental to the success of the Paris Agreement. ECO notes how some naughty players are including some types projects where the relevancy to climate is, at best, questionable. Some are also relying heavily on reporting non-concessional finance that adds on new debt for developing countries, making their support look bigger. This does not fit with the spirit of Articles 4.3 and 4.4 of the Agreement.

ECO would like to remind Parties of paragraph 57 of Decision 1/CP.21, which calls for the elaboration of “modalities for the accounting of financial resources”. Fulfilment of this mandate can help overcome tensions about what counts and what doesn’t, alongside what kind of financial support has been delivered. ECO sees five fundamental elements of an accounting system:

1) We need to get agreement on what counts. Projects that promote the continued use of coal or non-conventional fossil fuels, such as shale gas, will only undermine credibility and must be excluded. Certain types of financial flows, such as export credits and market-rate loans, cannot be counted as assistance because they do not follow the meaning of Articles 4.3 and 4.4. To better understand the net value of support provided, all financial instruments should be accounted for in grant equivalent terms. The terms “new and additional” should have an internationally agreed definition, too.

2) Information needs to be provided at the project level, and should report on not only the promised money, but also the actual disbursement amount. Otherwise, how can we check the claims of “delivering on promises”?

3) Agreement is needed on what information needs to be supplied for each project (from the description to funding volume or “geo-referencing”, so that we can map projects by location). The information should be up-to-date, complete, and of the highest quality.

4) Information on project plans and outcomes needs to be collected from a variety of perspectives: contributor nations, recipient governments, implementing agencies, as well as community and watchdog groups.

5) Transparent evaluation systems need to be developed so that we can all learn from experience.

The Agreement invited “other parties” to provide information about financial contributions. To facilitate this, Annex I countries must be able to show they are following good practices, including a sound set of accounting modalities that can provide a helpful template for others. ECO notes that some of those “other Parties”, such as Colombia, are already accounting and tracking their financial contributions.

With no time to spare, Parties should agree here to the work programme and its timetable. This should include a call for submissions from Parties in early 2017, followed by a zero order draft at SB46 in mid-2017, before it gets debated and revised at subsequent SB and COP sessions, until CMA1 finally adopts it.

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