Today’s Lima Climate Action High-Level Meeting is the place for Parties to explain how they will start closing the mitigation gap. While that gap is huge, closing it is not as hard as it may sound. Here are a few easy pointers for developed countries, who should take the lead in the pre-2020 period: Obviously, you should start with fully implementing what you’ve already committed to do. This is particularly relevant for those who are backtracking on their 2020 commitments. But you will have to go beyond that. There are a few things you should simply stop doing – end all fossil fuel subsidies and block off the dirty fossil fuel pipeline – and others you should start doing, The EIA says that 80% of additional measures needed to close the pre-2020 mitigation gap would not impact GDP, and there are multiple co-benefits from reducing fossil fuel pollution (and everyone likes clean air and water). To help, here ECO has compiled a convenient list of a few of the big Don’t’s – things you simply must not do – in order to help save the climate. Even better, ECO has also identified many good Do’s that you can start implementing now. No more excuses.
United States: Stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure projects! Reject the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all. Reverse the illegal scheme allowing the Alberta Clipper pipeline to double its capacity. End the $21+ billion per year in subsidies for the production of fossil fuels, and stop the $6.5 billion in public support for expanding fossil fuel reserves. And, whatever you do, certainly don’t relax regulations such as the crude oil export ban and the restriction on financing overseas coal stations.
Australia: Don’t expand the coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. Don’t turn the Great Barrier Reef into a coal export terminal (seriously!?)! And don’t backtrack on your Renewable Energy Target. Finally, don’t repeal progressive policies like the emissions trading scheme.
European Union: Just a few of many key items:
● EU: Don’t spend the new “investment package” proposed by the President of the European Commission on new coal and gas power plants.
● Germany: Stop supporting coal projects in other countries through export credits and state guarantees by your national agencies (IPEX and Hermes).
● Spain: Stop Repsol’s crazy offshore oil exploration in Canary Islands waters that is not only detrimental to the climate but also to biodiversity, and is opposed by local people.
Japan: Stop building new coal-fired power plants. The planned 35 coal stations, amounting to 14 GW are a terrible and short-sighted idea.
Russia: Don’t allow your main gas company, Gazprom, to build a new gas pipeline to China through a World Heritage Site and a sacred place for Indigenous Peoples.
Canada: Stop permitting the on-going extraction of fossil fuels from tar sands and their associated pipelines. Don’t permit British Columbia to go ahead with a whole new LNG sector, which could undercut renewable energies. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels to allow fair economic access to renewable energy producers.
United States: Replicate the examples of cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and New York that are actively reducing emissions. Take a close look at all the successful renewable energy and energy efficiency policies in many states and scale them up.
Australia: Support and replicate positive actions by cities like Sydney and local councils targeting carbon neutrality by 2020 or 2030, and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency supporting innovative community energy projects. Increase the renewable energy target and retire old, inefficient coal-fired power plants. Enact regulations that phases down HFCs in line with amendments proposed by US and others to the Montreal Protocol. Strengthen efficiency measures.
European Union: There are many actions that EU can do and that Member States can do themselves as well:
● EU: Fully implement the Energy Efficiency Directive (rather than just ignoring the 2020 energy efficiency target), which will reduce emissions and create massive local jobs. Cancel the over 2 billion surplus allowances in the EU ETS, and take that as a starting point for a fundamental reform of the ETS.
● UK: Aim for a coal phase out by mid-2020, generating health co-benefits. Prioritise energy efficiency and start a big programme retrofitting households.
● France: Accelerate the deployment of RE, in particular solar PV and wind. Reinstate and enhance the tax on pollution and road damage by trucks that just got cancelled. Finally, introduce a strong, wider carbon and energy tax that increases between 2015 and 2020 in a predictable manner.
● Germany: Fully implement and strengthen the new Climate Plan that will lead the phase out 22+Mt CO2 from dirty coal power plants, Reform the land use sector. Finally, increase targets on the deployment of renewables.
● Poland: Take bold steps to transform your coal-addicted energy system to renewables. Use the solidarity mechanisms provided by the EU climate and energy framework to develop renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency measures.
● Spain: Create an electricity market that favours small-scale photovoltaic electricity on a massive scale, instead of creating a market which has almost stopped photovoltaic solar in its tracks.
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Japan: In the process of developing an energy strategy for 2030, put strong constraints on carbon in general (e.g. a price on carbon).
Norway: Allow your gargantuan fossil fuel-based sovereign wealth fund to invest 5% of its portfolio directly in infrastructure for production and distributions of renewable energy. Rapidly reduce the share of fossil fuels in the portfolio, starting with the most polluting sources like coal and tar sands.
Canada: Finally make good on the promise to regulate the oil and gas sector (see Wednesday’s ECO) and restore federal renewable energy funding and the federal residential energy efficiency retrofit program. Encourage other states to follow Ontario and phase out coal within 6 years.