SCALING CLIMATE ACTION TO DELIVER 2030 GOALS AND DRIVE GLOBAL GROWTH
6 & 7 September 2016
SCALING CLIMATE ACTION TO DELIVER 2030 GOALS AND DRIVE GLOBAL GROWTH
6 & 7 September 2016
SCALING CLIMATE ACTION TO DELIVER 2030 GOALS AND DRIVE GLOBAL GROWTH
6 -7 September 2016
B4E, the Business for Environment Global Summit, is the world's leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. The summit addresses the most urgent environmental challenges facing the world today. Important topics on the agenda include resource efficiency, renewable energies, new business models and climate policy and strategies. CEOs and senior executives join leaders from government, international agencies, NGOs and media to discuss environmental issues, forge partnerships and explore innovative solutions for a greener future.
Guy has been involved in the energy sector since 1984 working initially in the oil and gas industry as an exploration geologist for Amoco before joining the newly formed PowerGen in 1990. At PowerGen Guy worked initially in the UK core business before transferring to be part of the International expansion of developing conventional power stations in Portugal, Germany and Eastern Europe.
Pete is the Programme Director for Transport at the European Climate Foundation, where he has worked since 2011. Prior to that, he spent 10 years analysing and reporting on politics, business and markets for the international newswire Reuters. Since 2008, he has been living in Brussels, focusing on the European politics of climate and energy. He has published several books and papers on ecology, travel and communications.
By Lloyd Wright
This article originally appeared in Asian Development Blog and is republished with permission.
The Indian capital of Delhi has long suffered some of the most intractable air pollution in Asia. Ever-growing car and motorcycle use has been the principal culprit.
A 2014 survey by the World Health Organization ranked the city’s air quality as the world’s worst. Air pollution is estimated to kill over 600,000 persons each year in India. The economic impacts from congestion and lost productivity are likewise staggering.
Help may be on the way.
Officials experimented last month with an odd-even license plate scheme that intended to remove half of the motorized vehicle fleet from the roads each day. Odd and even plate numbers alternated the days on which cars could be used.
The program did include a long list of exemptions that could have nullified any vehicle reductions: women were exempted so they could avoid possible violence and harassment on public transport, Likewise, additional exemptions were granted to senior government officials, motorcycles, disabled drivers, emergency services, and vehicles using natural gas.
Despite these exemptions the Delhi experiment did appear to reduce congestion at certain times. Unfortunately however, due to lingering exhaust fumes and pollution from other sources, the air quality did not markedly improve during the test period, which concluded on 15 January. With the conclusion of the 15-day trial scheme, officials will now assess whether or not to take the program forward.
Historically, license plate restrictions have been employed in various cities of Latin America with varying results in Mexico City, Bogota, Quito, Santiago, and Sao Paulo, as well as in Paris, Manila, and Beijing. The simpler even-odd numbering schemes have tended to merely encourage households to purchase second cars with a different number plate to bypass the restrictions, and most of those second cars tend to be older, used vehicles that ultimately make air quality even worse.
In Bogota, though, a smarter structure has been employed, with four plate numbers restricted on a daily basis. These numbers are then rotated on an annual basis to discourage second car purchases. Other effective measures include ensuring households are given the same ending number on plates for any additional vehicle purchases. Strict vehicle emissions testing and fuel standards likewise help.
License plate restrictions are part of a larger set of tools known as transportation demand management, which attempts to discourage private vehicle use in favor of public transport and non-polluting modes. Other tools include congestion charging, like those implemented in cities such as Singapore, London, Stockholm, and Oslo, as well as car ownership rationing and parking restrictions. Parking levies are particularly effective, as they charge a daily fee to the owner of each non-residential parking space, regardless of whether the parking space is used. As such, parking levies not only discourage car use but also raise funding which can be used for more sustainable options such as public transport and pedestrian facilities.
The core issue, though, for Delhi and other growing cities in developing Asia is the insatiable demand for car ownership. Each day approximately 1,400 new cars are registered in the Indian capital, meaning a new lane of peak hour traffic is added about each 1.5 days. No amount of road building could ever keep up with such numbers.
In 2004, the Supreme Court of India mandated the use of natural gas in public transport and auto-rickshaws in Delhi. For a time, this move produced cleaner air. However, these health gains were eventually wiped out with the ever-growing motor vehicle fleet. Without more fundamental changes, the same result may well happen to any odd-even scheme.
The Delhi license plate scheme has been a bold experiment, and city officials deserve much credit for making it happen. If they were to make the scheme permanent, including features to discourage second-car purchases would certainly be advisable. More fundamentally, though, reapportioning road space and investment toward public transport, pedestrians, and cyclists would be the pivotal game-changer.
Delhi’s force to counter car dominance is indeed awakening. Will the Jedi of sustainable transport find a way to counter the dark side of rampant motorization? We will have to wait until the next episode, but the recent experiment may give new hope to the world’s most polluted metropolis.
This article originally appeared in Alliance to Save Energy and is republished with permission.
Building energy codes are a critical means for improving the energy performance of our homes and commercial buildings, which collectively make up our country’s largest energy-consuming sector. When a state or local government adopts an updated building energy code, a minimum level of efficiency is established for new buildings to achieve. Codes, historically, have been agnostic with respect to the generation of energy. Rather, codes have been focused exclusively on energy conservation in buildings.
Unfortunately, some recent actions and initiatives could undermine building energy codes by allowing trade-offs that would displace energy efficiency and conservation in favor of renewable energy (e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop panels). The Alliance to Save Energy sees these developments as troubling. There ought not to be any permissible substitute for energy efficiency in building energy codes duly adopted by state or local governments.
Let us take a moment to be perfectly clear—the Alliance is neutral when it comes to fuels. Our slogan—“Using less. Doing more.”—applies whether it involves solar, wind, hydro, nuclear or fossil fuels. Renewable energy generation technologies, like solar, can be good for local economies, national energy independence and the environment.
But, it is always better to deploy low-cost and cost-effective energy efficiency first. And there are few better ways to “use less” than state and local implementation of updated building energy codes. It is therefore critical that we keep codes strong and encourage state and local adoption of the latest version. For the Alliance, this commitment involves resisting any attempts to supplant or replace energy efficiency in code compliance with renewable energy generation.
Building energy codes should not enable over-investment in generation, which could happen if efficiency is ignored. It is a far better idea, for example, to take steps to minimize a home’s energy consumption to avoid costs before installing an unnecessarily large solar PV array. Energy efficiency is literally built into buildings. Efficiency measures in building technologies and systems improve overall comfort and livability, and can last as long as the structure stands. A good thermal envelope, for instance, does not rely on weather, time of day, or progressive net-metering policies—all of which are out of the typical homeowner’s control—to lower demand, reduce consumption and deliver savings. The same principles apply to commercial buildings.
Attempts to substitute renewable energy generation for energy efficiency may be grounded in good intentions, but it simply does not make sense. And it is not supported by the wording or intent of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (which applies to homes) and will certainly lead to negative unintended consequences. Reliance on renewable energy generation to achieve code compliance equates to a significant shortcut that would affect homeowners most of all.
Many homeowners and commercial building owners are choosing to install renewable energy generation systems. Those who opt to “go solar” choose from many attractive offers, facilitated by technology advancements and affordable financing. These technologies certainly can bring benefits. But renewable energy generation should not be allowed to push aside cost-effective energy efficiency that we know generates benefits for homeowners and businesses.
Building energy codes lead directly to savings from energy efficiency worth billions of dollars every year. And that is the way it should continue to be.
This article originally appeared in Eco-business and is republished with permission.
The Paris climate change agreement adopted at the end of 2015 has put renewable energy at the heart of global energy system with investments expected to grow further even amidst the decline in fossil fuels.
This was observed by delegates to the sixth International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) assembly held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The IRENA Assembly, the first international event to take place after the climate talks in Paris, has attracted governments, the private sectors and parliamentarians to elaborate on how they plan to achieve their emission reduction targets, in part through renewable energy.
Adnan Z Amin, Irena Director General said “The Paris COP21 was an extraordinary political success. Global leaders committed themselves to a target of below two degrees Celsius temperature increase, with even greater ambition of 1.5 degrees Celsius target. This will have far reaching implications for our future.”
He said with the agreement in place, there is need for international cooperation at this time of unprecedented focus on renewable energy. “Renewable energy is soaring, growing far more quickly than many predicted and mainstream projections for its future envisage a profound impact on the global energy mix” he said “Renewables today constitute 30 per cent of all installed power capacity, the largest share of any source” said Amin.
Studies by IRENA indicate that in the last five years only, the installed solar power increased seven-fold, while wind power capacity more than doubled. Global investment flows into renewables have increased six-fold in the last decade, which is more than five-times what it was only a decade ago.
Early estimates indicate that 2015 witnessed continued growth with over 280 billion dollars invested in the sector worldwide with developing countries accounting for half of this investment.
European Union Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, in a presentation at: Ministerial Roundtable on “Concerted action towards Renewable Energy Deployment” said the Paris Agreement was more ambitious than many of them expected.
“I was delighted that in Paris Europe threw its weight behind the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative to increase access to clean energy and reduce energy poverty in a region in which 600 million people still have no access to electricity,” he said.
He said the Paris agreement was timely given the emerging evidence that renewables have been proven to reduce emissions.
“In one year alone, renewable energy helped to reduce Europe’s emissions by the equivalent of Spain’s annual emissions. But just like the rest of the world, we now have to step up our efforts to make sure we meet our renewables commitments. For the European Union that means a minimum 27 per cent share of renewables in our energy system by 2030,” he added.
Dr. Rabia Ferroukhi, the Deputy Director of the Knowledge Policy at International Renewable Energy Agency told IPS the deployment of renewable energy technologies and investments is likely to increase given that almost half of the 185 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted before the Paris COP21 had explicit energy targets mainly targeting increased deployment of renewables.
She said there has been a declining price trend of in the cost of solar and wind, saying that will be another factor to see more renewables in economies. Dr. Ferroukhi says the renewable energy investments in India and China have also been on increase despite the fall in fossil prices. The price of Brent crude plunged 67 per cent from 112.36 dollars to 37.28 dollars per barrel.
A report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, tracking clean energy investment globally for more than 10 years, found that renewables had attracted a record 329 billion dollars in global investment in 2015.
The report said 2015 was also the highest ever for installation of renewable power capacity, with 64GW of wind and 57GW of solar PV commissioned during the year, an increase of nearly 30 per cent over 2014.
The investments are said to have surged in China, Africa, the US, Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to its highest ever figure, of 328.9 billion dollars, up 4 per cent from 2014’s revised 315.9 billion dollars and beating the previous record, set in 2011 by 3 per cent.
It had been predicted that the fall of oil and gas prices would undermine investment in renewables, electric vehicles, and other clean technologies but Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said the figures are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices.
Liebreich however says there will need more investments from both private and public sectors in order to push the clean energies further with needed technologies especially in areas where over a billion people don’t have access to electricity.
“This is beyond pump priming monies now, this is large scale financing. A third of a trillion dollars per year that needs to grow to half a trillion and beyond is going to require full spectrum of tools in a tool box both in the destination countries and in the funding countries and throughout the capital markets,” said Liebreich in an interview with IPS.
Paul Simons, Deputy Executive Director of International Energy Agency told IPS that renewable energy technologies were no longer viewed as expensive option reserved for the rich.
“From the perspective of IEA, there shouldn’t be too much competition here but there is little competition with gas prices. In general the factors that push electricity forward should continue to move ahead. The same underlying energy diversification desires by our member states and desire for decarbonisation. So we don’t think long term oil prices will be a major break on renewables growth. However reinforce the need for policy consistency,” he said.
An IRENA report titled “Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics” found that increasing World’s Share of Renewable Energy would boost global GDP up to 1.3 trillion dollars and increase social welfare and employment.
The report released today at the assembly, provides the first global estimate of the macroeconomic impacts of renewable energy deployment.
Specifically, it outlines the benefits that would be achieved under the scenario of doubling the global share of renewable energy by 2030 from 2010 levels.
According to the report employment in the renewable energy sector would also increase from 9.2 million global jobs today, to more than 24 million by 2030.
“Mitigating climate change through the deployment of renewable energy and achieving other socio-economic targets is no longer an either or equation,” said Adnan Z Amin. “Thanks to the growing business case for renewable energy, an investment in one is an investment in both. That is the definition of a win-win scenario.”
Investments in renewable energy help to achieve other socio-economic targets too
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