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China to launch nationwide carbon market. #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

China is launching the biggest carbon market in the world, which will require power plants to hold emissions permits (Pic: Flickr/V.T. Polywoda)

By Li Jing in Beijing

China’s long-awaited nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) will be officially launched on 19 December, starting with the power sector only, according to a document from National Development Reform Commission (NDRC).

It represents a scaling back from the original plan for eight economic sectors to take part in the carbon market: petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, paper, power and aviation.

Nonetheless, it will instantly overtake the EU’s carbon market to become the world’s largest. The power sector accounts for 46% of China’s carbon dioxide emissions, of which an estimated 39% will be covered by the ETS, according to data from World Resource Institute.

Explaining the change, Chinese officials said some industrial sectors did not have strong statistical foundations, and the system would involve constant testing and continuous adjustments.

Carbon futures trading will not be available at the launch stage of the scheme, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, said during the UN climate conference in Bonn last month. It is intended to create a cost for emitting carbon, not a platform for market speculation, he said.

An official at NDRC who asked not to be named said the conservative approach reflected the importance leaders attached to the overall stability of the country’s financial markets.

Liu Shuang, a program director with Energy Foundation China, said the power sector was the most suitable sector for China to start its national emission trading scheme, as it had the most credible and transparent emissions data.

Advocates of emissions trading say it creates an efficient system for cutting greenhouse gases where it is cheapest to do so. Polluting plants must hold permits for every tonne of CO2 they emit and can sell surplus allowances if they clean up their operations.

In existing systems, however, industry has lobbied for free allowances and policies resulting in low carbon prices. Critics say that gives little incentive to invest in cleaner technology for the long term.

Press link for more: Climate Change News

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Cleaner air benefits human health #ClimateChange #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Europe’s air quality has improved considerably since the European Union and its Member States introduced policies and measures concerning air quality in the 1970s.

Air pollutant emissions from many of the major sources including transport, industry, and power generation are now regulated and are generally declining, but not always to the extent envisaged.

High concentrations of air pollution still have significant impacts on Europeans’ health, with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide  causing the biggest harm.

The European Environment Agency’s latest annual air quality report shows that most people living in Europe’s cities are still exposed to levels of air pollution deemed harmful by the World Health Organization. According to the report, fine particulate matter concentrations were responsible for an estimated 428 000 premature deaths in 41 European countries in 2014, of which around 399 000 were in the EU-28.

Poor air quality also has considerable economic impacts, increasing medical costs, reducing workers’ productivity, and damaging soil, crops, forests, lakes and rivers. Although air pollution is often associated with pollution peaks and episodes, long-term exposure to lower doses constitutes an even more serious threat to human health and to nature.

Reducing air pollution helps tackle climate change

Carbon dioxide may be the largest driver of global warming and climate change but it is not the only one. Many other gaseous or particulate compounds, known as ‘climate forcers’, have an influence on the amount of solar energy (including heat) the Earth retains.

For example, methane is a very powerful climate forcer as well as an air pollutant linked to agricultural activities, closely linked to livestock production and meat consumption. Particulate matter is another pollutant, impacting both climate change and air quality. Depending upon its composition, it may have a cooling or warming effect on the local and the global climate. For example, black carbon, one of the constituents of fine particulate matter and a result of incomplete burning of fuels, absorbs solar and infrared radiation in the atmosphere and thus has a warming effect.

Measures to cut emissions of short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon, methane, ozone or ozone precursors benefit both human health and the climate. Greenhouse gases and air pollutants share the same emission sources. Therefore there are potential benefits, including cost savings, that can be obtained by limiting emissions of one or the other.

However, in the past certain measures have been promoted to benefit, among others, climate change but which have had unintended negative impacts on air quality. For example, many countries  promoted diesel vehicles but which have turned out to emit high levels of air pollutants. Similarly, the promotion of renewable wood burning in some areas of Europe has unfortunately led to high levels of particulate matter in the local air. We must learn from such examples and make sure the consequences of the measures we choose to implement are properly understood and factored in.

The links between climate change and air quality are not limited to common pollutants released into the atmosphere from the same sources. Climate change can also aggravate air pollution problems. In many regions across the world, climate change is expected to affect local weather, including the frequency of heat waves and stagnant air episodes. More sunlight and warmer temperatures might not only prolong the periods of time in which ozone levels are elevated, it may also exacerbate peak ozone concentrations further. This is certainly not good news for parts of Europe, experiencing frequent episodes of excessive ground-level ozone.

Taking coherent action from local to global

Air pollution is not the same everywhere. Different pollutants are released into the atmosphere from a wide range of sources. Road transport, agriculture, power plants, industry and households are the biggest emitters of air pollutants in Europe. Once in the atmosphere, these pollutants can transform into new pollutants and spread. Designing and implementing policies to address this complexity are not easy tasks.

Given the diversity of sources both in terms of geographical distribution and economic activity, action must be taken at different levels from local to international. International conventions can aim to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere, but without local action — such as information campaigns, removing highly polluting vehicles from cities  or urban zoning decisions — we would fall short of reaping the full benefits of our efforts. This diversity also means that there is no one-size-fits all solution to air pollution. To reduce exposure and subsequent harm further, authorities need to adapt their measures to account for local factors such as sources, demographics, transport infrastructure and local economy.

To enhance the cohesion between actions taken at local, national, European and global level, the European Commission brought together different stakeholders from across Europe at the Clean Air Forum in November. The Forum, held in Paris, not only focused on improving air quality in cities, but also on air pollution from agricultural activities. It also highlighted innovation and business opportunities linked to clean air actions.

Information key to minimise exposure

The European Environment Agency works with its member countries to gather comparable air quality information over time. Based on the data collected, we measure progress, analyse trends and look for links between sources such as road transport and actual measurements of air quality.

When needed, measurements from monitoring stations can be complemented by satellite observations. Under its Copernicus Earth Observation programme, the EU launched in October a new satellite tasked to monitor air pollution, which has already started delivering images. This information is then regularly shared with the public and the policy makers. It is important to note that the Agency deals only with outdoor air quality, and not with the quality of the air we breathe at home or at work, which also has direct impacts on our health.

As part of our efforts to provide the most updated information, we developed together with the European Commission a new online service: the European Air Quality Index. Presented at the Clean Air Forum, the Index provides information on the current air quality situation based on measurements from more than 2 000 air quality monitoring stations across Europe. The Index allows citizens to use an interactive map to check the air quality at station level, based on five key pollutants that harm people’s health and the environment: namely particulate matter (both PM2.5 and PM10), ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. This tool allows us to share this information with all Europeans interested in addressing air pollution. We can all check air quality where we are and take precautionary measures to reduce our exposure to pollution.

Information is certainly essential to address air pollution and to reduce its harmful impacts. However, to  improve air quality and to meet the EU’s longer-term low carbon goals, we need to address emissions from all economic sectors and systems like mobility, energy or food, and understand production and consumption patterns that generate these emissions. This is the only way forward. The EEA stands ready, as a knowledge partner, to help achieve these long term goals.

Hans Bruyninckx

EEA Executive Director

The editorial published in EEA Newsletter, Issue 2017/4, 15 December 2017

Press link for more: EEA.Europa.EU

The Oceans make the Earth a habitable planet. #auspol #qldpol #StopAdani

The oceans make the planet habitable, if we continue to use the oceans as a garbage dump we will quickly make our planet uninhabitable.

Plastics & carbon pollution are real threats to marine life and ultimately to humanity.

Coral bleaching is inevitable as the oceans are heated by global warming.

The science is clear, we know what must be done.

We must demand political leadership.

We have the technology, we must become active it is the challenge for our generation.

First put a price on Pollution. Both carbon & plastic.

We can no longer be complacent.

Time is running out.

Australia quick to action in war has been slow to act on reducing pollution. Future generations will pay an enormous price.

Our carbon emissions per capita are among the highest in the world.

We are amongst the world’s worst when it comes to climate action.

We are literally stealing the future from our children and future generations.

Cities have the power to lead #ClimateChange #auspol #qldpol #OnePlanet #StopAdani

Cities have the power to lead climate change

Cities, as hubs of innovation, now stand at the forefront of climate action

By CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, VICE-CHAIR OF THE GLOBAL COVENANT OF MAYORS 12/13/17, 9:38 AM CET

Christiana Figueres, vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors | via Global Covenant of Mayors

Negotiating the Paris Agreement was a monumental achievement.

Nations rallied together and subnational actors, especially cities and local governments, afforded confidence that targets could be met, leading to swift approval and ratification.

As we lean into implementation, leaders in every corner of the world, in cities large and small, are taking bold climate action to ensure we are able to meet these commitments — and, importantly, take even more ambitious action.

However, for some local leaders, implementation of the Agreement comes with challenges. This is especially pertinent when it comes to obtaining the financial support needed to turn ideas into action and make the changes necessary to ensure they can help meet the goals set forth in Paris.

Luckily, one of the many successes of the Paris Agreement was the establishment of mechanisms to increase climate-friendly ideas and investment.

Cities, as hubs of innovation, now stand at the forefront of climate action, ready to accept these investments.

I am proud to serve as the vice-chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, an initiative that supports city leaders in meeting these commitments.

Together with our partner city networks both globally and locally, cities in this alliance are developing cutting-edge solutions to the challenges of climate finance.

They are providing critical leadership and support as national governments move towards a greener future.

The power these cities have to tackle climate change cannot be understated.

Mayors and local leaders often have greater influence over the sectors that most impact carbon emissions.

Buildings, transportation, water and waste are all complex systems, and city leaders’ in-depth knowledge of regional environmental landscapes means they are uniquely suited to pinpoint which areas need the most attention to reduce emissions while increasing sustainability and economic efficiency.

“We must see climate in every facet of the economy, from green buildings and infrastructure to sustainable agriculture, so that our growth will be climate neutral.”

Central to scaling timely global climate action is financing the development of modernized low carbon infrastructure.

We must see climate in every facet of the economy, from green buildings and infrastructure to sustainable agriculture, so that our growth will be climate neutral.

Investments in these priorities now will build the tomorrow we want our children to live in.

As cities work to accelerate the collective impact of their actions, improving city-level access to finance will increase investment flows into cities and other urban areas. It will unlock the potential of cities to be a fundamental part of the global climate solution. It will re-shape the economics of development and reinforce sustainable infrastructure as a stronger investment over high-carbon polluting options.

In Cape Town, this philosophy has been taken to heart as a number of new strategies are pursued to increase investments in our green future. Many climate and resilience solutions, such as renewable energy, green transportation and net-zero buildings, are less expensive to operate than they are to build, meaning it takes partnerships between governments and the private sector to finance them.

“Cape Town is poised to become the first city in Africa to install an electric bus system.”

For example, Cape Town is poised to become the first city in Africa to install an electric bus system. The MyCiTi bus system is an ambitious project and will be made possible by a public-private investment partnership and pay dividends to the city in the future. The strategic partnership goes beyond just buying buses: the buses, currently made by Chinese green energy firm BYD, will soon be manufactured at a new plant in Cape Town in 2018. The implementation of the MyCiTi bus system is not only increasing sustainability and helping to reduce carbon emissions, it is boosting the city’s economy and creating hundreds of jobs. This project will help Cape Town save money with reduced maintenance and operating costs while supporting the city’s ongoing journey to build a strong and prosperous green economy.

The city is also collaborating with the private sector to mitigate the dire effects of drought on Cape Town’s water supply. To accelerate emergency water projects, the city is issuing tax-exempt green bonds to private sector developers to incentivize developments that will enhance sustainability and improve water security. Thanks to the investment spurred by green bonds and other innovative strategies, a platform of climate security is being created from which the city’s future is wide open.

“The implementation of the MyCiTi bus system is not only increasing sustainability and helping to reduce carbon emissions, it is boosting the city’s economy and creating hundreds of jobs.”

Cities like Cape Town are helping to spur the global transformation that spells success for the Paris Agreement. By investing in sustainability and resilience now, we can guarantee not only stable returns for our private sector partners, but a stable future for our cities and the world.

Unlocking a sustainable path for cities allows them to accelerate their impact. By 2050, implementing sustainable urban infrastructure choices could save $17 trillion on energy costs alone.

Through initiatives like the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, over 7,400 cities around the world — 9.35 percent of the population — are showing their potential and making real progress to greatly accelerate the world’s achievements towards the legally binding global commitment to create a carbon neutral world this century.

Authors:

Christiana Figueres, Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors

One Planet 🌍 #auspol #qldpol #climatechange #StopAdani

Climate Change is our greatest challenge it’s a race against time, and we’re losing.

Australia & the United States should be leading the world.

Instead we continue to invest in fossil fuels and refuse to put a price on carbon pollution.

Corporations have corrupted our democracies.

Our children & future generations will pay for our greed & negligence.

Why UK banks are falling behind French #ClimateChange #auspol #StopAdani

Why UK banks are falling behind French in response to climate change

A new ranking by responsible investment NGO ShareAction shows that French banks outperform their European peers on climate-related issues.

ShareAction’s Sonia Hierzig argues that the UK should follow France in making disclosures on climate-related risks and opportunities mandatory

Banks are affected by climate change in many ways.

As financial intermediaries with ties to every industry sector, they face climate-related risks and opportunities.

On the one hand, they are exposed to the physical, transitional and liability risks linked to climate change via the clients they lend to and do business with.

On the other hand, banks are also able to make a positive contribution to tackling climate change by mobilising the capital required for a successful low-carbon transition.

ShareAction has ranked the 15 largest European banks based on their responses to climate-related risks and opportunities.

The three French banks surveyed all came out in the top five, while three of the UK banks ranked in the bottom five banks.

This is partly down to the introduction of Article 173 in France, which requires that all listed companies, including banks, disclose (1) information about the financial risks related to the effects of climate change; (2) the measures adopted by the company to reduce them and; (3) the consequences of climate change on the company’s activities and on the use of goods and services it produces.

For banks, it additionally requests the disclosure of the risk of excessive leverage (not carbon-specific) and the risks exposed by regular stress tests.

Sonia Hierzig, ShareAction

As regulation appears to be a key driver encouraging banks to manage climate-related risks and opportunities, other countries might benefit from introducing similar legislation to ensure banks headquartered there do not fall behind.

For instance, if the UK government wants to succeed in its ambition of promoting the UK as a global centre for green finance post-Brexit, it should consider introducing similar mandatory requirements on disclosure and stress testing.

This is particularly relevant considering the poor performance of several UK banks in this survey, and the fact that the European Banking Authority will move from London to Paris. Banks’ institutional investors should also support necessary changes by engaging with policymakers and regulators.

While the French banks have scored relatively well, it is noticeable that several of the UK banks appear to be lagging behind, including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Standard Chartered.

This is not only due to the lack of similar innovative legislation in the UK, but also because many of the UK banks have weaker policies compared to their European peers on the sectors highly exposed to climate-related risks, including fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

For example, Lloyds Banking Group’s policy on coal mining and power merely takes into account breaches of relevant greenhouse gas emission regulations, while other banks have committed to not financing certain coal-related projects and/or companies linked to the sector.

To meet the goal of limiting global temperature rises to below 2°C, there can be no new fossil fuel-related exploration or infrastructure developments, and it is also essential that some fields and mines are closed before they have been fully exploited. UK banks in particular still have a long way to go to align their sector policies with these needs of a successful low-carbon transition, and currently none of the UK banks is fully aligned yet.

BNP Paribas (credit: Tupungato/Shutterstock Inc)

While legislative and regulatory action is important, it is also crucial that shareholders in banks request better management of climate-related risks and opportunities within the institutions they are invested in. ShareAction also provides a number of recommendations for institutional investors to support them in their climate-related engagements with banks.

As the surveyed banks generally performed the poorest on the topic of climate-related risk management, it is recommended that shareholders focus their efforts in this area until there are marked improvements.

For example, banks should be encouraged to place increased emphasis on developing methodologies for scenario analysis, strengthen policies on coal mining and thermal coal power generation, oil and gas, deforestation and peatland exploitation in line with below 2°C scenarios, and introduce more stringent below 2°C engagement policies to guide dialogues with clients active in sectors highly exposed to climate-related risks.

Once shareholders note significant improvements in those areas, they might consider also asking banks about climate-related opportunities, their engagement with external actors, such as policymakers, and the governance structures they have in place to ensure climate-related issues are managed appropriately.

ShareAction hopes that this report will encourage action on behalf of institutional investors, policymakers and regulators to ensure the European banking sector acts in support of the low-carbon transition, rather than obstructing it.

Sonia Hierzig is project manager at responsible investment NGO ShareAction.

Main image credit: Peresanz/Shutterstock Inc

Press link for more: Ethical Corp.com

Top economists call for an end to fossil fuel investment! #StopAdani #Auspol #BeatPollution

Declaration on Climate Finance

In advance of French President Macron’s climate and finance summit, we call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy.

DECLARATION

We the undersigned, call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy.

We are issuing this call to action in the lead up to the climate summit hosted by President Macron in Paris this December. President Macron and other world leaders, have already spoken out about the need for an increase in finance for climate solutions, but they have remained largely silent about the other, dirtier side of the equation: the ongoing finance of new coal, oil and gas production and infrastructure.

Ongoing global climate change and environmental destructions are happening at an unprecedented scale, and it will take unprecedented actions to limit the worst consequences of our dependence on oil, coal, and gas.

Equally as critical as drastically curbing the carbon intensity of our economic systems is the need for immediate and ambitious actions to stop exploration and expansion of fossil fuel projects and manage the decline of existing production in line with what is necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals.

Research shows that the carbon embedded in existing fossil fuel production will take us far beyond safe climate limits. Thus, not only are new exploration and new production incompatible with limiting global warming to well below 2ºC (and as close to 1.5ºC as possible), but many existing projects will need to be phased-out faster than their natural decline. Simply put: there is no more room for new fossil fuel infrastructure and therefore no case for ongoing investment.

It is time for the community of global economic actors to fully embrace, safe, and renewable energies and phase out fossil fuels. This letter affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of public and private investors and development institutions to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development.

A global transition to a low carbon future is already well underway and we recognize that a full transition away from fossil fuels is an opportunity for a new economic paradigm of prosperity and equity. Continued expansion of oil, coal, and gas is only serving to hinder the inevitable transition while at the same time exacerbating conflicts, fuelling corruption, threatening biodiversity, clean water and air, and infringing on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable countries and communities.

Energy access and demand can and must now be met fully through the renewable energies of the 21st century. Assertions that new fossil fuels, such the current push for gas, are needed for this transformation are not only inaccurate; they also undermine the speed and penetration of renewable energy.

The global investment community has the power to create the conditions under which this shift is possible. Current and future investments in fossil fuel production are at odds with a safe and equitable transition away from ever stronger climate disasters.

Global investor and international development actors and institutions must recognize that continued investments in fossil fuel production supply-side is irreconcilable with meaningful climate action. Instead, let us all prioritize the tremendous investment opportunities for a 100% renewable future that support healthy economies while protecting workers, communities, and the ecological limits of a finite planet.

Signers of the Declaration on Climate Finance:

• Alain Grandjean

• Economist, Scientific advisor to the Foundation for Nature and Mankind

• Alain Karsenty

• Research Director at CIRAD, Montpellier

• Ann Pettifor

• Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics, Prime

• Anu Muhammad

• Professor of Economics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

• Aurore Lalucq

• Economist and Director of the Veblen Institute

Camilla Toulmin
Professor, Dr

• Carolina Burle Schmidt Dubeux

• Environemental Economist, PhD and teacher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro · COPPE/Centro Clima

• Cédric Durand

• Maître de conférences en Économie, université Paris 13

• Claudia Kemfert

• Head of the department of energy, transportation and environment at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin

• Co-Pierre Georg

• Associate Professor, University of Cape Town. Research Economist – Deutsche Bundesbank , Policy Associate – Economic Research Southern Africa

Denis Dupré
Professor of finance and ethics

• Dominique Plihon

• Professor Emeritus of Economics, Paris-Nord University Director, Center of Economics of the University of Paris Nord

• Dr Ben Groom

• Associate Professor of Environment & Development Economics, LSE

• Dr Michael Mason

• Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment, LSE

Dr. Alaa Al Khourdajie
Teaching Fellow in Environmental Economics, School of Economics, University of Edinburgh

• Dr. Ashok Khosla

• Chairman, Development Alternatives

• Dr. Charles Palmer

• Associate Professor of Environment and Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE),

• Dr. Ron Milcarek

• UMASS Economics Department

• Dr. Simplice Asongu

• Lead Research Economist, African Governance and Development Institute

• Emilio Padilla Rosa

• Associate Professor, Department of Applied Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona

• Frank Ackerman

• Principal Economist, Synapse Energy Economics

• Gail Whiteman

• Professor

• Gautam Sethi

• Associate Professor of Economics and Econometrics, Bard Center for Environmental Policy

• Helene Ollivier

• Research fellow of the CNRS and Associate Professor at Paris School of Economics

• Herman Daly

• Emeritus Professor, University of Maryland

• Ian Kinniburgh

• Former Director of Department of Policy and Analysis Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

• Ilan Noy

• Chair in the Economics of Disasters, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

• Ivar Ekeland

• Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Former President, the University of Paris-Dauphine

• Jaime De Melo

• Scientific Director at Ferdi (Emeritus Professor, University of Geneva)

• James Kenneth Galbraith

• Economist

• Jean Gadrey

• Jean Gadrey, former Professor of economics, University of Lille

• Jean-Pierre Ponssard,

• Senior Research Fellow CNRS France

• Jeffrey Sachs

• Economist, Senior UN Advisor

• John C. Quiggin

• Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and professor at the School of Economics, University of Queensland

• John Hewson

• Former Leader of the Federal Opposition, Australia

Jon D. Erickson
David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy

• José Almeida de Souza Jr.

• Economist

• Jusen Asuka

• Professor Tohoku University

• Kate Pickett

• Professor, University of York Research Champion for Justice & Equality

• Kate Raworth

• Senior Visiting Research Associate, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University

• Katheline Schubert

• Associate Professor at the Paris School of Economics and researcher at the Sorbonne Center for Economics.

• Katrin Millock

• Associate Professor, Paris School of Economics & Research Fellow at CNRS

• Lionel Fontagné

• Professor of Economics at the Paris School of Economics – University Paris 1

• Maria rosa ravelli abreu

• Prof. Universidade Brasilia

• Mariana Mazzucato

• Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, Director, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

• Mark Campanale

• Founder & Executive Director, Carbon Tracker Initiative

• Marzio Galeotti, Ph.D.

• Professor of Environmental and Energy Economics, University of Milan – Milan, Italy

• Maxime Combes

• Maxime Combes, economist for ATTAC

• Michael Jacobs

• Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, University College London

• Michael Pirson

• Professor, Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University

• Mohammad A Jabbar

• Agricultural Economist, International Livestock Research Institute

• Mouez FODHA

• Professor of Economics, Paris School of Economics & University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne.

• Mutsuyoshi Nishimura

• Former Ambassador of Japan to the UNFCCC negotiations Research Fellow, The Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIAA)

• Neva Rockefeller Goodwin

• Co-Director, Global Development And Environment Institute, Tufts University

• Nicolas Bouleau

• Mathematician, Economist

• Oliver Sartor, PhD

• Senior Research Fellow Climate and Energy, IDDRI

• Patrick Criqui

• Research Director, CNRS

• Peter A. Victor Ph.D.,FRSC

• Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

• Pierre-Richard Agenor

• Professor of International Macroeconomics and Development Economics, University of Manchester

pirax didier
Econnomist

• Prof Ross Garnaut

• Professorial Research Fellow in Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne

• Prof. James Renwick (Victoria University of Wellington

• Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

• Prof. Michael Finus

• Chair in Environmental Economics

• Prof. Phoebe Koundouri

• Athens University of Economics and Business, Director of International Center for Research on the Environment and the Economy, Chair Sustainable Development SOlutions Network Greece

• Prof. Simone Borghesi

• President Elect IAERE – Italian Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

• Ramon E. Lopez

• Professor at the University of Chile , Santiago · Departamento de Economía

• Ramón López

• Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, University of Chile, Santiago, Chile

• RENOUARD Cécile

• Professor, Centre Sèvres-Jesuit University of Paris and researcher, ESSEC Business School

• Reyer Gerlagh

• Professor of Economics, Tilburg University, Netherlands

• Richard Denniss

• Chief Economist, The Australia Institute

• Richard Wilkinson

• Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology University of Nottingham.

• Rick Van der Ploeg

• Professor of Economics and Research Director of the Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies at Oxford University, former Chief Financial Spokesperson in the Dutch Parliament

• Robert Costanza

• VC’s Chair in Public Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University

• Robert M. Freund

• Theresa Seley Professor in Management Science, Sloan School of Management, MIT

• Serge Reliant

• Economiste

• Seyhun Orcan Sakalli

• Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Economics, University of Lausanne

• Shahriar Shahida

• Co-Chief Investment Officer Constellation Capital Management LLC

• Shuzo Nishioka

• Counsellor, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

• Slim Ben Youssef

• Professor, ESC de Tunis

• Suzi Kerr

• Senior Fellow, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

• Takeshi Mizuguchi

• Professor Takasaki City University Of Economics

• Terra Lawson-Remer

• Fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences

• Thomas Porcher

• Associate Professor, Paris School of Business, member of “Les économistes attérrés

• Thomas Sterner

• Chair LOC World Conference of Environmental Economics

• Tim Jackson

• Professor, University of Surrey, UK

• Tom Sanzillo

• Director of Finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

• Tom Steyer

• Founder and former co-senior managing partner of Farallon Capital and the co-founder of OneCalifornia Bank

• Valentina Bosetti

• Associate professor at the Department of Economics, Bocconi University, President of the Italian Association of Environmental Economists

• Véronique Seltz

• PhD in Economics

• Yanis Varoufakis

• Greek Economist, Academic and Politician

• Yifat Reuveni

• Head of social-finance innovation JDC College of Management business school, Faculty of Management – Tel Aviv University

Press link for more: Not a penny more

Erik Solheim: My vision for a pollution-free planet #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

By Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

For too long, the relationship between prosperity and environment has been seen as a trade-off. Tackling pollution was considered an unwelcome cost on industry and a handicap to economic growth.

But global trends are demonstrating that this is no longer the case. It’s now clear that sustainable development is the only form of development that makes sense, including in financial and economic terms. The drive towards a pollution-free planet provides an opportunity to innovate and become more competitive.

With the UN Environment Assembly just over a month away, we now have the opportunity to dramatically step up our ambitions.

The energy revolution currently unfolding is a game changer, as is the increased mobilization around climate. The rapidly falling cost of energy from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, means that the countries leading the shift away from fossil fuels will reap the greatest benefits to their economies, as well as their environments. These countries will have better, faster transport networks and more flexible power grids.

With the transition to green and sustainable development under way, we now need to focus on how to intensify and accelerate these trends in order to protect the environment, combat climate change and curb pollution. As I see it, there are five critical pieces to this puzzle:

We need political leadership and partnerships. A global compact on pollution would ensure sustained engagement at the highest level and make prevention a priority for all. It would also encourage policymakers and other key partners, including the private sector, to integrate prevention into national and local planning, development processes, and business and finance strategies.

We need the right policies. Environmental governance needs to be strengthened – with targeted action on “hard-hitting” pollutants through risk assessments and enhanced implementation of environmental legislation, including multilateral environmental agreements, and other measures.

We need a new approach to managing our lives and economies. Sustainable consumption and production, through improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes, should be promoted. Waste reduction and management must be prioritized.

We need to invest big. Mobilizing finance and investment in low-carbon opportunities and cleaner production and consumption will drive innovation and help to counter pollution. Increased funding is also needed for research, pollution monitoring, infrastructure, management and control.

We need advocacy for action. Citizens need to be informed and inspired to reduce their own pollution footprint and advocate for bold pollution-beating commitments from the public and private sectors.

With the UN Environment Assembly just over a month away, we now have the opportunity to dramatically step up our ambitions. Science is delivering great advances in our understanding of pollution and its impacts on people, economies and the environment. Citizens are more aware than ever before of how pollution affects their lives and they are demanding action on what has become a critical public health issue. At the same time, experts and businesses are developing the technology to tackle these problems at all scales, from local to global. Financiers are increasingly ready to support them, while international bodies and forums, including the United Nations, stand ready to help to channel this momentum and turn it into firm action.

The responsibility for driving change on this broad front is shared among and within nations. Government policies and programmes will play a central role, both nationally and internationally. Businesses, consumers, investors, community groups and thought leaders must also be fully involved if we are to succeed. Technology and economic innovation are key, as is mobilizing finance at scale. Investments need to be harnessed to address climate and pollution challenges.

My report to the UN Environment Assembly examines the dimensions of pollution and identifies a way forward through a framework for action. I invite our partners in government, business, and civil society, as well as citizens around the world, to consider the report, act on its recommendations, and join us in the fight to beat pollution around the world.

Press link for more: UN Environment.Org

#BeatPollution

To Save Climate, Stop Investing In Fossil Fuels #StopAdani #auspol #qldpol

Paris (AFP) – The development of oil, gas and coal energy must stop in order to avoid the worst ravages of global warming, 80 top economists said Thursday, days ahead of a climate summit in Paris.

To save climate, stop investing in fossil fuels: economists

“We call for an immediate end to investments in new fossil fuel production and infrastructure, and encourage a dramatic increase in investments in renewable energy,” they wrote in a declaration.

The December 12 One Planet Summit organised by French President Emmanuel Macron — with 100 countries and more than 50 heads of state attending — will focus on marshalling public and private money to speed the transition toward a low-carbon economy, especially in developing countries.

But boosting renewable energy such as solar and wind is not enough, the economists warned.

“President Macron and world leaders have already spoken out about the need for an increase in finance for climate solutions,” they wrote.

“But they have remained largely silent about the other, dirtier side of the equation: the ongoing finance of new coal, oil and gas production.”

Many new fossil fuel projects already in the pipeline “will need to be phased out faster than their natural decline,” they added.

Numerous studies have shown that exhausting already developed oil, gas and coal reserves is incompatible with capping global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the target set down in the 196-nation Paris climate treaty.

“The science is clear: if you look at the known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, you simply can’t burn all that without making a different planet,” said James Hansen, long-time director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The shift from “brown” to “green” energy is further hindered by oil, gas and coal subsidies, which totalled nearly half a trillion dollars (470 billion euros) in 2014, the International Energy Agency has calculated.

In 2015, direct consumer subsidies for fossil fuels topped $333 billion (315 billion euros) worldwide, according to the International Monetary fund.

“It is time to stop wasting public money on dirty fossil fuels and invest it instead in a sustainable future,” said Tim Jackson, a professor at the University of Surrey in Britain.

Signatories of the open letter also included Jeffrey Sachs, a senior UN advisor; James Kenneth Galbraith, an economist at the Texas LBJ School; American billionaire and philanthropist Tom Steyer; and Australian economist Ross Garnaut.

Press link for more: Au.news.yahoo.com

What will it take to get our leaders to act? #ClimateChange #StopAdani #Auspol #Qldpol

Bill McKibben: Winning Slowly Is the Same as Losing

The technology exists to combat climate change – what will it take to get our leaders to act?

A Houston interstate after Hurricane Harvey in August. Richard Carson/Reuters

If we don’t win very quickly on climate change, then we will never win.

That’s the core truth about global warming.

It’s what makes it different from every other problem our political systems have faced.

I wrote the first book for a general audience about climate change in 1989 – back when one had to search for examples to help people understand what the “greenhouse effect” would feel like. We knew it was coming, but not how fast or how hard. And because no one wanted to overestimate – because scientists by their nature are conservative – each of the changes we’ve observed has taken us somewhat by surprise.

The surreal keeps becoming the commonplace: For instance, after Hurricane Harvey set a record for American rainstorms, and Hurricane Irma set a record for sustained wind speeds, and Hurricane Maria knocked Puerto Rico back a quarter-century, something even weirder happened. Hurricane Ophelia formed much farther to the east than any hurricane on record, and proceeded to blow past Southern Europe (whipping up winds that fanned record forest fires in Portugal) before crashing into Ireland. Along the way, it produced an artifact for our age: The warning chart that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency issued shows Ophelia ending in a straight line at 60 degrees north latitude, because the computer program never imagined you’d see a hurricane up there. “When you set up a grid, you define boundaries of that grid,” a slightly red-faced NOAA programmer explained. “That’s a pretty unusual place to have a tropical cyclone.” The agency, he added, might have to “revisit” its mapping software.

In fact, that’s the problem with climate change.

It won’t stand still.

Health care is a grave problem in the U.S. right now too, one that Donald Trump seems set on making steadily worse.

If his administration manages to defund Obamacare, millions of people will suffer. But if, in three years’ time, some new administration takes over with a different resolve, it won’t have become exponentially harder to deal with our health care issues.

That suffering in the interim wouldn’t have changed the fundamental equation.

But with global warming, the fundamental equation is precisely what’s shifting. And the remarkable changes we’ve seen so far – the thawed Arctic that makes the Earth look profoundly different from outer space; the planet’s seawater turning 30 percent more acidic – are just the beginning. “We’re inching ever closer to committing to the melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which will guarantee 20 feet of sea-level rise,” says Penn State’s Michael Mann, one of the planet’s foremost climatologists. “We don’t know where the ice-sheet collapse tipping point is, but we are dangerously close.” The latest models show that with very rapid cuts in emissions, Antarctic ice might remain largely intact for centuries; without them, we might see 11 feet of sea-level rise by century’s end, enough to wipe cities like Shanghai and Mumbai “off the map.”

The warning chart that NOAA issued shows Hurricane Ophelia ending in a straight line at 60 degrees north latitude, because the computer program never anticipated a hurricane so far north.

There are plenty of tipping points like this: The Amazon, for instance, appears to be drying out and starting to burn as temperatures rise and drought deepens, and without a giant rainforest in South America, the world would function very differently.

In the North Atlantic, says Mann, “we’re ahead of schedule with the slowdown and potential collapse” of the giant conveyor belt that circulates warm water toward the North Pole, keeping Western Europe temperate.

It’s tipping points like these that make climate change such a distinct problem: If we don’t act quickly, and on a global scale, then the problem will literally become insoluble.

We’ll simply move into a dramatically different climate regime, and on to a planet abruptly and disastrously altered from the one that underwrote the rise of human civilization. “Every bit of additional warming at this point is perilous,” says Mann.

Another way of saying this: By 2075 the world will be powered by solar panels and windmills – free energy is a hard business proposition to beat. But on current trajectories, they’ll light up a busted planet. The decisions we make in 2075 won’t matter; indeed, the decisions we make in 2025 will matter much less than the ones we make in the next few years.

The leverage is now.

Trump, oddly, is not the central problem here, or at least not the only problem. Yes, he’s abrogated the Paris agreements; true, he’s doing his best to revive the coal mines of Kentucky; of course it’s insane that he thinks climate change is a Chinese hoax.

But we weren’t moving fast enough to catch up with physics before Trump.

In fact, it’s even possible that Trump – by jumping the climate shark so spectacularly – may run some small risk of disrupting the fossil-fuel industry’s careful strategy.

That strategy, we now know, began in the late 1970s. The oil giants, led by Exxon, knew about climate change before almost anyone else. One of Exxon’s chief scientists told senior management in 1978 that the temperature would rise at least four degrees Fahrenheit and that it would be a disaster.

Management believed the findings – as the Los Angeles Times reported, companies like Exxon and Shell began redesigning drill rigs and pipelines to cope with the sea-level rise and tundra thaw.

Yet, year after year, the industry used the review process of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to stress “uncertainty,” which became Big Oil’s byword. In 1997, just as the Kyoto climate treaty was being negotiated, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond told the World Petroleum Congress meeting in Beijing, “It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be significantly affected whether policies are enacted now or 20 years from now.”

In other words: Delay. Go slowly. Do nothing dramatic. As the company put it in a secret 1998 memo helping establish one of the innumerable front groups that spread climate disinformation, “Victory will be achieved when average citizens ‘understand’ (recognize) uncertainties in climate science,” and when “recognition of uncertainty becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’ ”

And it’s not just the oil companies.

As America’s electric utilities began to understand that solar and wind power could undercut their traditional business, they began engaging in the same kind of behavior. In Arizona, whose sole reason for existence is the sun, the local utility helped rig elections for the state’s public-utility commission, which in turn allowed utilities to impose ruinous costs on homeowners who wanted to put solar panels on their roofs. As The New York Times reported in July, the booming U.S. market for new residential solar has come to “a shuddering stop” after “a concerted and well-funded lobbying campaign by traditional utilities, which have been working in state capitals across the country to reverse incentives for homeowners to install solar panels.” It’s not that they think they can keep solar panels at bay forever – every utility website, like every fossil-fuel industry annual report, has pictures of solar panels and spinning windmills.

But as industry analyst Nancy LaPlaca says, “Keeping the current business model just another year is always key for utilities that have a monopoly and want to keep that going.”

The planetary futurist Alex Steffen calls this tactic “predatory delay, the deliberate slowing of needed change to prolong a profitable but unsustainable status quo that will be paid by other people eventually.”

It’s not confined to the moneybags at the oil companies and the utilities – he’s written extensively about the otherwise-liberal urbanites in his home state of California. “A lot of cities are happy to talk about providing their power cleanly, but reducing cars, densifying, spending on bike paths, raising building standards – those things are all so contentious they’re not even discussed.” Ditto the folks who block windmills out of fear of chopping birds, thus helping lock in the next great mass extinction.

Much of the labor movement has grown more outspoken on climate change. They know that a dollar invested in renewable energy generates three times as many jobs as one wasted on fossil fuel, but the union that builds pipelines has fought so tenaciously to avoid change that the AFL-CIO came out for building the Dakota Access Pipeline, even after guards sicced German shepherds on native protesters.

In careful language that might have been written by a team at Exxon, the union said it supported new pipelines “as part of a comprehensive energy policy that creates jobs, makes the United States more competitive and addresses the threat of climate change.” “Comprehensive,” “balanced,” “measured” are the high cards in this rhetorical deck. “Realistic” is the ace in the hole.

There’s a reason this kind of appeal is so persuasive.

In almost every other political fight, a balanced and measured and “realistic” answer makes sense. I think billionaires should be taxed at 90 percent, and you think they contribute so much to society that they should pay no tax at all.

We meet somewhere in the middle, and come back each election cycle to argue it again, depending on how the economy is doing or Where the deficit lies.

Humans and their societies do work best with gradual transitions – it gives everyone some time to adapt. But climate change, sadly, isn’t a classic contest between two groups of people. It’s a negotiation between people on the one hand and physics on the other. And physics doesn’t do compromise.

Precisely because we’ve waited so long to take any significant action, physics now demands we move much faster than we want to.

Political realism and what you might call “reality realism” are in stark opposition. That’s our dilemma.
You could draw it on a graph. The planet’s greenhouse-gas emissions are still rising, though more slowly – let’s say we manage to top out by 2020.

In that case, to meet the planet’s goal of holding temperature increases under two degrees Celsius, we have to cut emissions 4.6 percent annually till they go to zero. If we wait till 2025, we have to cut them seven percent annually. If we wait till 2030 – well, it’s not even worth putting on the chart.

I have to sometimes restrain myself from pointing out how easy it would have been if we’d acted back in the late 1980s, when I was first writing about this – a gradual half a percent a year.

A glide path, not a desperate rappel down a deadly cliff.

The rate at which the world would have to move to zero emissions to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius.

Yes, we’ve waited too long.

But maybe, just maybe, our task is not yet an impossible one.

That’s because the engineers have been doing their jobs much more vigorously than the politicians.

Over the past decade, the price of a solar panel has fallen 80 percent; across most of the U.S., wind is now the least expensive form of power.

In early October, an auction in Saudi Arabia for new electric generation was won by a solar farm pledging to deliver electrons for less than three cents a kilowatt hour, the cheapest price ever paid for electricity from any source in any place.

Danny Kennedy, a longtime solar pioneer who runs California’s Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit connecting investors and startups, says every day brings some new project: “Just this week I’ve had entrepreneurs in here doing crowdfunding by Bitcoin to build microgrids in Southern Africa, and someone using lasers to cut silicon wafers to reduce the cost of solar cells by half.” He’d just come back from a conference in Shanghai – “You should feel the buzz; the Chinese have really realized their self-interest lies in dominating the disruptive technologies.”

That is to say, if we wanted to power the planet on sun and wind and water, we could.

It would be extremely hard, at the outer edge of the possible, but it’s mathematically achievable.

Mark Jacobson, who heads Stanford’s Atmosphere/Energy program, has worked to show precisely how it could happen in all 50 U.S. states and 139 foreign countries – how much wind, how much sun, how much hydro it would take to produce 80 percent of our power renewably by 2030. If we did, he notes, we’d not only dramatically slow global warming, we’d also eliminate most of the air pollution that kills 7 million people a year and sickens hundreds of millions more, almost all of them in the poorest places on the planet (pollution now outweighs tuberculosis, malaria, AIDS, hunger and war as a killer). “There’s no way you can be in Houston or Flint or Puerto Rico right now and not feel the urgency,” says Elizabeth Yeampierre, one of America’s leading climate-justice advocates. “Moving quickly can happen, but only if you uplift the work that’s really innovative, that’s already happening on the ground.”

Even much of the money is in place. For $50,000 in insulation, panels and appliances, Mosaic, the biggest solar lender in the country, can make a home run on 100 percent clean energy. “And we can make a zero-down loan, where people save money from Day One,” says the company’s CEO, Billy Parrish. Mosaic raised $300 million for its last round of bond financing, but it was nearly six times oversubscribed – that is, investors were ready to pony up about $1.8 billion. But even that amounts to small change: 36,000 homes in a nation of more than a hundred million dwellings. To go to scale, government is going to have to lead: loan guarantees for poor people, taking subsidies away from fossil fuels, making sure that when homeowners feed lowcarbon energy into the grid they get a good price from utilities. Even in California that kind of change comes hard: As Kennedy says, “The state legislature did not pass key legislation on clean energy this year despite a lot of hot air expended on it, and despite the fact that the Dems have a supermajority. I’m told to be patient and ‘we’ll get it done next year,’ but I find it frightening that folks think we have another year to wait.”

And so the only real question is, how do we suddenly make it happen fast?

That’s where politics comes in.

I said earlier that Trump wasn’t the whole problem – in fact, it’s just possible that in his know-nothing recklessness, he has upset the ever-so-patient apple cart.

You could almost see the oil companies wincing when Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement – for them, the agreement was a pathway to slow and managed change.

The promises it contained didn’t keep the planet from overheating – indeed, even if everyone had kept them, the Earth would still have gotten 3.5 degrees Celsius hotter, enough to collapse every ecosystem you’d like to name.

The accords did ensure that we’d still be burning significant amounts of hydrocarbons by 2050, and that the Exxons of the world would be able to recover most of the reserves they’ve so carefully mapped and explored.

But now some of those bets are off.

Around the rest of the world, most nations rejected Trump’s pullout with diplomatically expressed rage. “To everyone for whom the future of our planet is important, I say let’s continue going down this path,” said Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. (The exception: petro baron Vladimir Putin, whose official remarks concluded, “Don’t worry, be happy.”) In this country, the polling showed that almost nothing Trump had done was less popular. Perhaps, if Trump continues to sink, this particular piece of nonsense will sink with him.

And with Washington effectively gridlocked, the fight has moved elsewhere. When Trump pulled out of the climate accords, for instance, he explained that he’d been elected to govern “Pittsburgh, not Paris.” The next day the mayor of Pittsburgh said his town was now planning on 100 percent renewable energy, a pledge that’s been made by places as diverse as Atlanta, San Diego and Salt Lake City. Next year, representatives of thousands of regions, provinces, cities, parishes, arrondissements, districts and counties will descend on San Francisco for a Paris-like gathering of subnational actors, summoned by California Gov. Jerry Brown. According to Brown (who is as sadly compromised as most other leaders – he continues to allow wide-scale fracking and oil production across the state), Trump’s decision to leave the path of gradualism “is a stimulus … In a way, it’s a rising of … awareness.”

The pressure has also increased on banks and corporations.

In Australia, campaigners have forced the four major banks to refuse financing for what would have been one of the world’s biggest coal mines; BNP Paribas, the world’s eighth-largest lender, just announced it was out of the tar-sands and coal business. Several big California cities just announced they were suing the big oil companies for the damages caused by sea-level rise. The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts have Exxon under investigation for pretending to take climate change seriously. All of that adds up to weaken the spreadsheet and the corporate resolve: “We’re trying to persuade a dying industry to get out of the way,” says Mark Campanale, the head of the NGO Carbon Tracker.

The best chance of forcing the future, of course, lies with movements – with people gathering in large enough numbers to concentrate the minds of CEOs and presidential candidates. Here, too, Trump seems to be upping the ante – nearly a quarter million Americans marched on D.C. for climate action in April, the largest such demonstration in Washington’s history. That activism keeps ramping up: At 350.org, we’re rolling out a vast Fossil Free campaign across the globe this winter, joining organizations like the Sierra Club to pressure governments to sign up for 100 percent renewable energy, blocking new pipelines and frack wells as fast as the industry can propose them, and calling out the banks and hedge funds that underwrite the past. It’s working – just in the last few weeks Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, announced plans to divest from fossil fuels, and the Nebraska Public Service Commission threw yet more roadblocks in front of the Keystone pipeline.

But the question is, is it working fast enough?

Paraphrasing the great abolitionist leader Theodore Parker, Martin Luther King Jr. used to regularly end his speeches with the phrase “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” The line was a favorite of Obama’s too, and for all three men it meant the same thing: “This may take a while, but we’re going to win.” For most political fights, it is the simultaneously frustrating and inspiring truth. But not for climate change. The arc of the physical universe appears to be short, and it bends toward heat.

Win soon or suffer the consequences.

Press link for more: Rolling Stone