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NCE Update: February 2016
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Sharan Burrow on the challenge of a green industrial transformation.


On 15 March, Global Commissioner Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, delivered a keynote speech at The Economist Sustainability Summit, titled “Sustainability is possible, it is within our reach but the leadership deficit is a serious hurdle.” The speech called on policy and business leaders to choose a sustainable growth path that is built around a just transition for workers, warning that if leaders don’t pick up the pace of reforms, climate change will exacerbate today’s social divisions. See the excerpt below or click here for the full speech:

The challenge of industrial transformation is both an imperative and an opportunity. 

We know there are jobs in action on climate, millions of jobs. With infrastructure investment projected to be US$90 trillion in next 15 years to 2030. This means jobs.
 
There are more jobs in construction, manufacturing, transport and services as we green every industry and build the mega cities that will accommodate population growth. There are more jobs in agriculture and reforestation.
 
Already the U.S. solar industry is creating jobs twenty times faster than the overall economy while the world's largest renewable energy job market is in China, with 3.4 million working in the industry. And in Germany, 370,000 people are employed in renewable energy, the largest number in Europe.

FlightPath 1.5 Takes Off


In mid-March, members of the International Coalition for Sustainable Aviation (ICSA) launched FlightPath 1.5 to address the urgent and growing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the airline industry through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the United Nations (UN) decision-making body charged with regulating aviation emissions. ICAO is planning to adopt an agreement in 2016 that puts international aviation on a path to cutting its climate pollution in line with stabilizing the increase in global temperature to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels.

NCE’s 2015 working paper Raising Ambition to Reduce International Aviation and Maritime Emissions found that if ICAO fails to take bold steps aviation emissions are projected to triple by 2050. Already a top-ten global polluter, the airline industry accounts for more emissions than either South Korea or Canada, ranking seventh as a source of overall emissions just below Germany. Despite aviation’s significant contribution to global greenhouse gases emissions, the industry was not directly accounted for in the landmark COP21 Paris climate agreement adopted in December 2015. 2016 is a critical year for demanding that world leaders act on aviation emissions. ICAO and its 191 Member States have committed to a deadline of finalizing, for adoption at its October 2016 General Assembly, a global market-based measure (MBM) to limit international aviation’s carbon dioxide pollution. 

Good reads for a new climate economy

 

Phase 1 Report of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures 


The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has released its Phase 1 public report to the Financial Stability Board (FSB). The TCFD is a high-level review to promote alignment across the existing 400 regimes and clarify what may constitute material and relevant climate-related risks. The intention is that more effective disclosures will support informed investment, credit, and insurance-underwriting decisions about reporting companies, and enable a variety of financial market participants to better understand the concentrations of carbon-related assets in the financial sector and the financial system’s exposures to climate-related risks. The Phase I report lays out the Task Force’s proposed objectives and scope, as well as identifying 7 fundamental, common sense principles for effective financial disclosure. Initial recommendations for financial reporters include: present relevant information; be specific and complete; be clear, balanced, and understandable; be consistent over time; be comparable among companies within a sector, industry, or portfolio; be reliable, verifiable, and objective; be provided on a timely basis. Each principle is elaborated in the report.

Later this year, the second and final TCFD report (due December 2016) will address the following:
  • Needs of users of climate-related disclosures;
  • Potential gaps in disclosures, the types of entities that could provide disclosures to fill these gaps, and challenges to providing high-quality information;
  • Specific recommendations for voluntary-disclosure principles and leading practices that promote climate-related disclosures;
  • Strategies to promote adoption and implementation; and
  • A methodology for measuring progress in adopting the Task Force’s recommended disclosures.
 


Global trends in Renewably Energy Investment 2016


The new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report Global Trends in Renewable Energy 2016 found that in 2015, renewable energy set new records for investment and new capacity added. Investments reached nearly US$286 billion, more than six times more than in 2004, and, for the first time, more than half of all added power generation capacity (not just investments) was in renewables. The biggest components of this investment were asset finance of utility-scale projects such as wind farms and solar parks, up 6% from the previous year, and spending on small distributed capacity (for example, rooftop solar) projects of less than 1MW capacity – which was up 12% at US$67.4 billion. Renewable energy investments in China, India and the US were up markedly, as well as in Middle East and Africa countries. Renewables are attracting more investment than ff in power capacity by a ration of almost 2:1

A more sobering finding is that European investment dropped sharply, down 21% to US$48.8 billion. The report attributes this drop to retroactive cuts in support for existing projects in Spain, Romania and several other countries, the economic downturn in southern Europe that made electricity bills more of a political issue, the fading of solar booms in Germany and Italy, and the big drop in the cost of PV panels over recent years.

 


Taking Stock of International Contributions to Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Land Use in Indonesia


Indonesia has a key role to play in meeting climate stabilization targets. This study by Climate Policy Initiative discusses the role of international development partners in financing mitigation and adaptation actions in the land use sectors in Indonesia. It finds that these partners are funding climate actions in land use, but their support is dwarfed by domestic funds for these sectors; that most international finance is bilateral and channeled by a small group of international entities; and that adjustment and coordination will be necessary to strengthen efforts going forward.
 


Weather Conditions and Air Pollution: Impact of Odd-Even Policy in Delhi


In India’s Economic and Political Weekly, authors Saon Ray and Nandini Kumar highlight the benefits of Delhi’s odd-even day policy, in which cars with odd- or even-ending license plates are restricted access to Delhi’s roads on alternating days. The most visible impact of this scheme has been on road congestion, with noticeable declines at major intersections. However air pollution may still have gone up during this period due to pollution circulating into the city from other regions. This led some to question the efficacy of the policy. While Delhi may not have complete control over its air quality, the scheme still has the benefits of raising awareness on air pollution and greater city access for commuters from less congestion.

Global Commissioners at the China Development Forum


A number of Global Commissioners participated in key events at the China Development Forum in Beijing (19-21 March) and drew on the NCE message of growth and climate action for their engagements. In the sidelines of the forum, an informal Global Commission meeting was held. A similar, informal gathering will be convened with those who are attending the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings in Washington, DC (15-17 April).

New Climate Economy in the media


Member of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Paul Polman published an op-ed on the role of businesses in facilitating a global low-carbon transition. An op-ed by Global Commissioner Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was published on the steps Africa must take to pursue sustainable development. NCE Programme Director Helen Mountford wrote a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald about the need to discuss climate change in the US Presidential candidate debates. The letter was published both online and in print before the Republican and Democratic debates in Florida on March 9 and 10. Former US Mayor of Portland, Oregon, Sam Adams also wrote an op-ed calling for more climate change discussion in the March debates citing NCE research on the economic opportunities for acting on climate. His op-ed was posted in The Hill. Senior NCE Advisor Michael Jacobs wrote an op-ed for The Guardian on the need for UK climate action. Other media hits:

Upcoming Events


13-18 April: Global Commissioners and NCE partners will participate in the WB-IMF Spring Meetings in Washington DC. Some of the relevant events include: 18-19 April: Amar Bhattacharya will participate in the UN Economic and Social Council’s High-Level Event “Financing for Sustainable Development: Follow-up to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,” in New York.

21-22 April: Nicholas Stern will lead the roundtable on climate at the President of the UN General Assembly’s 21 April Roundtable on the SDGs and will also speak at the UN Secretary General’s Special Session on the Paris Agreement on 22 April, in New York.

26-27 September 2016: International Conference on Fossil Fuel Supply and Climate Policy

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) is inviting proposals for papers, thematic sessions, and special sessions for the International Conference on Fossil Fuels and Climate Policy to be held 26-27 September 2016 at Queen’s College, Oxford, UK. The conference will bring together researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to discuss how to enable policies, plans and investment decisions on further fossil fuel extraction and trade to be more consistent with long-term global climate and sustainability goals.


To learn more and submit a proposal, visit http://fossilfuelsandclimate.org. Registration is not yet open, but to be notified when it begins, and receive other conference updates, please sign up for SEI’s email list by writing to 2016conf@sei-international.org.
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