NCE Update: December 2017
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One Planet Summit

In December, on the two year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, French President, Emmanuel Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, hosted the One Planet Summit in Paris to accelerate the global fight against climate change. The summit included the third annual Climate Finance Day, bringing together local, regional and national leaders, as well as those working in public and private finance, to discuss how they can support these efforts.

During the summit, the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) announced growing support, with 237 companies with a combined market capitalization of over $6.3 trillion now publicly committed to support the TCFD recommendations. Mexico, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile and various American and Canadian states and provinces signed a Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas, which is aimed at creating harmonised intra-regional carbon markets. The World Bank announced that it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.  


The 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in November in Bonn, Germany. Presided over by the Government of Fiji, international climate negotiators made headway on the rules and procedures underpinning the Paris Agreement. After intensive consultations, the Fiji Presidency also unveiled a roadmap for the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue, a year-long process to assess collective progress and identify opportunities for countries to strengthen climate action.

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and partners met to discuss the NCE program of work and how to achieve economic growth while taking climate action. A number of Global Commissioners and NCE partners also engaged in events on the sidelines of the COP. 

Various events, announcements and initiatives during COP23 showcased the transition to a low carbon economy. The world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, based in Norway, put forward a proposal to divest from oil and gas holdings, which could have significant ripple effects. The UK and Canada launched the “Powering Past Coal Alliance,” uniting a number of governments, businesses and organisations which aim to lead the action in tackling climate change by committing to phase out unabated coal power. In contrast to the Trump administration’s stated intention to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, more than 2,500 non-federal actors representing more than half the U.S. economy — including cities, counties, states, businesses and more —  gave a full-throated endorsement of climate action. Companies like HP, Mars and Walmart were among the more than 320 major companies that have committed to or already set science-based emissions reduction targets.
Indonesia’s Low Carbon Development Plan
Indonesia recently announced that its next five-year development plan (2020-2024) will be it’s first Low Carbon Development Plan. At COP23, NCE hosted an event, “Supporting Indonesia’s Leadership Path to Low Carbon Development,” that brought together Minister Brodjonegoro with other high-level representatives of the Indonesian government, bilateral country partners and key international institutions supporting Indonesia to leverage its national development planning processes in ways that accelerate investment into a low-carbon economy.

To learn more about Indonesia’s Low Carbon Development Initiative, read the press release here.

Indonesian Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro meets with Global Commission Co-Chair Nicholas Stern,
World Resources Institute President & CEO Andrew Steer and NCE Programme Director Helen Mountford

Coalition for Urban Transitions
The Coalition for Urban Transitions, NCE’s special initiative on cities, launched it’s Urban Leadership Council at the high-level Climate Summit of Local and Regional Leaders. The Council draws from the world’s prominent urban, development, and climate focused organisations, networks, and institutions to help unlock the full potential of cities to deliver on the climate, development and growth agendas. Its members include Sheela Patel, Chair of Slum/Shack Dwellers International; Gino van Begin, Secretary-General of ICLEI; and Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director of Climate Action Network International, among others.
Coalition for Urban Transitions Global Programme Lead and Senior Economist Sarah Colenbrander
speaks about urban transportation at COP23

New mobility services, such as ride-hailing systems, car- and bicycle-sharing networks, and trip-planning apps, are changing the way people move in urban centers. At COP23, the Coalition for Urban Transitions hosted an event on transportation to discuss how governments can work with new mobility services, particularly in low and middle income countries, to reduce emissions while achieving wider social, economic and environmental goals. The conversation featured keynote speaker Shannon Bouton, Chief Operating Officer at McKinsey & Co., and panelists from the governments of South Africa and Ethiopia, World Resources Institute, and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).  

Gender Action Plan
Women are already disproportionately feeling the impacts of climate change, and the large gender gap in employment and wages makes women less able to respond. However, since many women are the primary providers of energy, water and other resources for their families, women have a central role to play in climate action. The first ever Gender Action Plan to the UNFCCC was adopted at COP23. Its overall goal is to support and enhance the implementation of the gender-related decisions and mandates adopted in the UNFCCC process through a set of specific activities to be conducted within the next two years.

To learn more about the intersection of gender, development, and climate action, check out NCE’s Gender Fact Sheet here.

Carbon Pricing for the Low-Carbon Transition
Avoiding the potentially very high costs of climate change requires transitioning to a low carbon economy. What is the role of carbon pricing in driving the low carbon transition? To answer this question, The Government of the Republic of Korea and OECD co-hosted a panel event to discuss how to implement carbon pricing and maximise its impact on low carbon investment. H.E. Eunkyung Kim, Minister of Environment, Korea was a keynote speaker at the event. The panel was chaired by NCE Programme Director Helen Mountford, and featured Stephen Lucas, Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada; Byung-Seong Chun, CEO, Korea Environment Corporation; Anne C. Bolle, Head of Climate Policies, Statkraft; and Kurt Van Dender, Head of Tax and Environment, OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
NCE Programme Director Helen Mountford chairs a panel on carbon pricing
organised by Korea and the OECD at COP23

Commentary from the Global Commission and Partners

If we act on climate change now, the economic prize will be immense (The Guardian)
“Action on climate can certainly be driven by pure pragmatism: the economics of it are clear. However, I believe that when 195 countries held hands in Paris and committed to beat climate change together, it also went beyond self-interest. We did it because the poorest and most vulnerable among us don’t deserve to lose their lives and livelihoods to an increasingly hostile environment.”
--Felipe Calderón  

It’s time to be smart about financing clean development (The Guardian)
“There’s no shortcut or special secret to achieving a low-carbon economy. It will require concerted, consistent and coordinated effort from the public and private sectors, and from governments at all levels. Developed countries and large emerging markets should particularly step up to be good examples, taking the lead in aligning their growth and climate strategies and meeting their financial pledges to support poor countries.”
--Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Transformative change for a new climate economy (OECD)
“At its core, our efforts to secure a safe and sustainable growth path depend on coalitions of governments, investors, businesses and civil society working together to accelerate this transition: the opportunities are there, we just need to seize them.”
--Helen Mountford  

Three new trends that could avert city gridlock (CityMetric)
“City halls and national governments need to prepare regulation that ensures transport systems, as they evolve, are safe, convenient, fair, affordable and sustainable. And they need to consider whether and how public-private collaborations could deliver better services or urban residents. If cities can do this, innovations in mobility services could help liberate our cities from gridlock and air pollution-- rather than compound the problem.”
--Louise Hutchins and Julia Thayne

Good Reads for a New Climate Economy

Roots of Prosperity: The Economics and Finance of Restoring Land
  • Research shows that every $1 invested in restoring degraded land generates an estimated $7-$30 in economic benefits, including improved food production, carbon sequestration, and water quality. This World Resources Institute (WRI) report provides a comprehensive analysis of the benefits and costs of restoring forests and landscapes in countries around the world, demonstrating how smart policies and innovative financing can help governments meet their restoration targets. The authors find that finance, both public and private, for restoration is inadequate for seven reasons, and offers solutions to these financial barriers.
Integrating national policies to deliver compact, connected cities: an overview of transport and housing
  • Realising the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement will require a coherent and self-reinforcing policy programme to deliver compact and connected urban development. In this context, there is a need for effective coordination across the boundaries of established policy sectors: spatial planning, transport, housing, industry and environment. This report from the Coalition for Urban Transitions, OECD and LSE explores the ways in which urban policy sectors are integrated (or fragmented) in ten case study countries: China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
World Energy Outlook 2017
  • World Energy Outlook 2017, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) flagship publication, finds that global energy demand will be 30% higher by 2040, and that over the next two decades the global energy system will be reshaped by four major forces: the United States is set to become the undisputed global oil and gas leader; renewables are being deployed rapidly thanks to falling costs; the share of electricity in the energy mix is growing; and China’s new economic strategy takes on a cleaner growth mode, with implications for global energy markets.
Climate Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets
  • This study from the IFC shows that the historic Paris Agreement helped open up nearly $23 trillion in opportunities for climate-smart investment in emerging markets between now and 2030. The study identifies sectors in each region where the potential for investment is greatest. This includes green buildings in East Asia and the Pacific, sustainable transportation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and climate-resilient infrastructure in South Asia.
America’s Pledge Phase 1 Report
  • The America’s Pledge report is the first communication to the international community specifically addressing the scope and scale of non-federal climate action in the United States following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. It finds that cities, states and businesses representing more than half the U.S. economy have declared their support for the Paris Agreement, including more than 2,500 signatories to the “We Are Still In” declaration.
Can Renewable Energy Jobs Help Reduce Poverty in India?
  • India’s push to generate 160 gigawatts of wind and solar power by 2022 will improve energy security, enhance energy access and help mitigate climate change. This new World Resources Institute (WRI) report finds that India’s clean energy initiatives can also help address poverty in rural communities by providing steady incomes, healthcare benefits and skill-building opportunities to unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
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