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.
Aled has 15 years’ experience in the development of regional sustainability policies and programmes in the UK and Europe. He started his career in local government working on the EU Structural Fund programme for West Wales and the Valleys before moving to the Wales office in Brussels as a policy adviser on regional and environmental policies. He returned to the UK to work for the Regional Development Agency for the West Midlands on its low-carbon development projects.
This article was originally published on Alliance To Save Energy and is republished with permission.
We are at an historic turning point, in so many ways.
The Paris Agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will enter into force on November 4, 2016 after having reached the threshold for enactment on Oct. 5. With 81 countries having ratified the agreement to date, global leaders are looking for tools to implement their clean energy commitments. It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a growing international consensus that energy efficiency is the first and most important step towards achieving international climate goals.
I saw this first-hand last week, when I had the distinct honor of speaking at the International Energy Agency (IEA) First Global Energy Efficiency Conference 2016 in Paris, France on Oct. 12. Convened to celebrate the excellent work of the IEA in producing the Energy Efficiency Market Report 2016, and to discuss strategies, policies and tools available to implement energy efficiency at an accelerated pace, the conference proved to be a fantastic opportunity for experts and leaders from around the world to share best practices and visions for the future.
For those who have not read the latest installment of the Energy Efficiency Market report, a few highlights:
The IEA report, as echoed in our discussions in Paris last week, emphasized key principles that what we already hold dear at the Alliance to Save Energy. In order to meet climate goals of the Paris Agreement, energy efficiency comes first. Energy policy and metrics that measure our progress are important catalysts to increase the pace of deploying energy efficiency, and it is going to take a collective effort of government, industry leaders, utilities and individuals to ensure that energy efficiency is deployed as effectively and quickly as possible.
Here in the US, we are at the precipice of change as well.
We’ve already doubled our energy productivity. Over the past 4 decades, thanks in part to energy efficiency policies adopted with bipartisan support, including appliance and vehicle fuel standards, building energy codes and technological research and development. Doing so again would help us to create jobs, improve energy security, boost GDP growth and reduce GHG emissions in support of the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution, in which the United States has pledged to make a best effort to reduce emissions by 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. With policies like the Clean Power Plan, energy efficiency is sure to be a cornerstone of the U.S. strategies, policies and tools to meet our goal.
We are on the brink of something really good here, but to ensure success, every country must take action to ensure that the right policies and programs are in place. In the United States, this means ensuring that strong efficiency measures, such as those outlined in the Portman-Shaheen energy legislation, are implemented as quickly as possible. Private sector leaders can contribute by ensuring that their own operations are as energy-productive as possible, and should consider pledging to double their corporate energy productivity through the EP100 corporate commitment campaign.
Working together, we can seize the global momentum and make meaningful change that will benefit generations to come.
 Energy productivity is the quantification of the benefits of our energy use determined by dividing economic outcomes by units of energy consumed (for instance GDP divided by total primary energy consumption).
This article was originally published on Asian Development Blog and is republished with permission.
A recent report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) projects that “sustainable cities and communities” (Sustainable Development Goal or SDG 11) and “climate action” (goal 13) are among the four SDGs where achievement of the targets in the Asia and Pacific region by 2030 is unlikely.
This is a rather worrisome projection, given that in 2016 more than half of the 37 megacities in the world were located in Asia, and that the share is expected to rise significantly by 2030. The success of climate action will not only depend heavily on how urbanization issues are dealt with, but also on climate action in Asian countries such as the People’s Republic of China, India, and Japan.
So, is the Asian community engaging in a “mission impossible” when it comes to addressing two of the most pressing issues of our time – urbanization and climate change?
After participating in a recent ADB event focused on localizing global agendas with an emphasis on SDGs 11 and 13, I now feel more optimistic. The new global agendas (Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement, and the soon-to-be-adopted New Urban Agenda) do not only address governments and the public sector – they also call for engagement and contributions from the private sector and civil society, as well as for strong commitment from citizens. Stimulating local action and commitment can make all the difference, and several impressive initiatives are already well underway.
Localizing global agendas does not mean local implementation of programs and strategies decided at a higher level – it requires a two-way approach where national goals and priorities derived from the global agendas are matched with and shaped by local needs and priorities as determined by local stakeholders. If this happens, the agendas do not remain abstract and aloofbut instead become “the DNA of what governments (including local governments) are doing”, as one participant put it. Global associations of local government such as United Cities and Local Governments are working hard to make the voice of local governments heard in the debates about the global agendas, emphasizing the potential energies that can be set in motion by well-designed implementation strategies that involve local governments.
Another major message that emerged from the event is that the global agendas do not call for creating new work streams, but rather need to be woven into the standard processes of government, such as planning, programming and budgeting, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation. For instance, the Government of Tajikistan recently approved a National Development Strategy that covers most of the SDGs relevant to the Tajik development context, including SDGs 11 and 13. Once ratified by parliament, this will provide a firm platform for taking necessary actions forward.
In the context of multi-level government systems, making the global agendas a success requires enabling frameworks for sub-national governments – be it in terms of funding (a key issue mentioned in a number of case studies and in a report by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments), institutional and individual capacity, or clear assignment of responsibilities to different levels of government.
This conclusion came out of several case studies that illustrated initiatives at the sub-national level (often supported by development partners) and indicated the inter-governmental linkages between national and sub-national level.
For instance, Uttam Kumar Saha from Practical Aid (Bangladesh) showed that introducing an innovative sludge management system in the city of Faridpur required local discretion for decision-making and access to resources, plus a regulatory environment established at the national level that allowed the municipal’s partnership with the private sector. Anupa Rimal Lamichhane (UNDP Nepal) demonstrated how a set of planning tools for localizing climate change interventions at the sub-national level, and how a vertically integrated planning system connecting the grassroots level (wards) with the national level helped establish the preconditions for a climate change strategy that integrates different levels of government.
Horizontal coordination between sectors is also necessary. For instance, the ADB-supported Third Urban Governance and Infrastructure Improvement Project in Bangladesh combines support on governance issues like citizens’ participation and gender with hardware support in, for instance, urban transport, water and sanitation, and slum improvement.
Local governments play an important role in coordinating stakeholders in ensuring that the contributions from the private sector and civil society are well coordinated and incentivized. If they can be strengthened—and we heard a convincing example how the previous Millennium Development Goals had been localized and mainstreamed in the Philippines, down to the community and individual level—achieving the targets of the agendas is not an unrealistic dream.
This article was originally published on ECOFYS and is republished with permission.
NEW STATE AND TRENDS REPORT OF CARBON PRICING
This year’s State and Trends of Carbon Pricing report, launched recently in Vietnam, includes the first deep dive analysis of the carbon pricing initiatives of countries’ climate plans submitted in Paris last year and looks specifically at how international trading of carbon assets would affect the cost of carbon mitigation. Of 101 countries considering the use of carbon pricing, the vast majority indicate they will use international approaches to emissions trading per their NDC pledges.
What we learned is that without cooperation through carbon markets, the goal of limiting emission reductions to meet a 2°C or lower target will be difficult – if not impossible – to achieve in a cost efficient manner.
The new modelling analysis in the report points to the savings that carbon market cooperation can bring. It shows that an international carbon market or markets could enable large-scale emission reductions at a much lower cost: by 2030, an international market would allow for savings of about 30 percent; by the middle of the century, a market has the potential to reduce global mitigation costs by more than 50 percent. This is an important finding, as it supports the direction of Article 6 in the Paris Agreement, where the mechanisms of an international carbon market or markets are laid out. Such a market allows those who have the financial responsibility for reducing emissions to purchase carbon credits wherever it is most cost-effective. This flexibility can significantly reduce costs, allowing for an increase in ambition.
The report also indicates that some of the poorer regions in the world may be able to generate financial flows from selling carbon credits amounting to 2-5% of GDP by 2050. It is unclear what those carbon assets would look like – this is what discussions by policy makers at COP22 in Marrakesh will tease out – but it is clear that emissions trading can play a crucial role in financing green projects in many developing countries.
The results of the report are further supported by some major developments in the international carbon space in the last couple of weeks. These include: the Paris Agreement poised to enter into force; Washington State adopting carbon pricing legislation in the form of the Clean Air Rule; Canada announcing plans for a federal minimum carbon price level; and ICAO, the international civil aviation organization, agreeing to cap its emissions at 2020 levels, ensuring carbon neutral growth of the aviation sector after 2021. This new momentum makes the possibility of increased global cooperation more real than ever before.
As in previous years, the data for the State and Trends report is collected through interviews with officials in countries and jurisdictions, to make sure the numbers are reliable and vetted. Sometimes this involves discussions on what, in fact, is a carbon pricing initiative, how does it work, and what does it cover? In the report, we define carbon pricing as an initiative that puts an explicit price on carbon in terms of per ton of CO2. Some of the most important carbon pricing initiatives in the past year included a price on liquefied natural gas plants in British Columbia, an ETS in South Korea covering two thirds of the country’s emissions, and a carbon tax in Portugal.
The attitude towards a price on carbon has changed dramatically in the past four years.. Not only are countries and jurisdictions moving ahead, but there is also increased integration between the policies and the practical implementation of carbon pricing, through close collaboration between, on the one hand, high-level political discussions within the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and, on the other hand, technical work in-country through the Partnership for Market Readiness. Overall, the report describes how carbon pricing can be the most effective in changing behaviors when it is aligned with the broader climate mitigation policies in a country, such as a policy on removing fossil fuel subsidies.
We have also seen a greater involvement by the private sector and a dramatic rise in the use of a carbon price by companies, with a tripling since 2014 to 1,200 companies reporting that they are currently using an internal price on carbon or plan to do so within the next two years. The price range is wide, but about 80% of the reported internal carbon prices are ranging between $5 to $50/tCO2e.
We also have seen a growing network of external contributors to the report, which helps ensure quality and accuracy of information, and which contributes to building a carbon pricing community of practice. We are able to “fact check” the figures we receive with a variety of partners and soon there will be a dashboard housed within the World Bank with the latest carbon pricing figures – created as a response to the high demand for the data behind the figures, maps and graphs in the report. This will make up-to-date information easily available in an interactive way, and make the topic even more trackable and tangible for a wider audience.
Today, 13% of global emissions are covered by carbon pricing initiatives, a threefold increase in the last decade, and the number of initiatives implemented or scheduled for implementation jumped from 9 to 42 over the same period. Analysis shows this could double to 20-25% by 2020, if the Chinese ETS goes into effect in 2017 as announced, and world leaders are calling for it to double again in the next decade, given the commitments made in Paris. Other initiatives scheduled to start next year include an ETS in Ontario, a carbon tax in Alberta, as well as carbon taxes in Chile and South Africa. Also, France is planning to introduce a carbon price floor in 2017.
In this fast moving environment, the reliable and current information provided by the report is valuable. And, as focus turns to implementation challenges, the recent addition of complementary analytical chapters serves to make the State and Trends report a crucial resource to policymakers and stakeholders across the world.
© Copyright 2013. B4E Summit by Global Initiatives. All rights reserved.