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Donors’ Mitigation Agenda Topped By Preserving Forest Carbon Sinks

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Jeans Run Gorge by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Good governance and large carbon sinks in developing countries are likely to be the principal destination for major green donors’ climate mitigation funding, new research has found.

The study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) compared the factors used to allocate climate mitigation finance to 180 developing countries by the five largest donors – Japan, Germany, France, Norway and the United States. Ways of addressing the global need for reducing greenhouse gas emissions vary from promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy to preserving forest carbon sinks and tackling deforestation.

The research, published in the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment, found that while the determinants that donors used to allocate mitigation finance across countries are diverse, as usually found in the case of development aid more broadly, their responses to global needs are almost the same: preserving forest carbon sinks appears to be at the top of donors’ climate agenda.

Several developed countries have increasingly allocated a large share of their official development assistance (ODA) to climate mitigation finance. In this study, mitigation finance was ODA allocated with the aim set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) decisions to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees by the end of the century. Although not part of the research, the UK recently also pledged £5.8 billion in climate related funding as part of its ODA between April 2016 and March 2021 through the International Climate Fund.

The commitments of the five largest green donors to providing ODA as mitigation finance make up more than 85 per cent of total bilateral ODA for projects with climate mitigation as principal objectives. These countries’ contributions increased from US$450.7 million in 1998 to almost US$11.5 billion in 2014, with Japan the largest contributor and India, Indonesia and China among the countries receiving the most finance. However, little is known about the factors taken into account when donors allocate the money.

The study’s author Dr Aidy Halimanjaya, a research associate with UEA’s School of International Development, said: “Overall, mitigation finance from the five major green donors benefits rich developing countries and overlooks the least-developed countries. They allocate less than 20 per cent of their mitigation finance to least-developed and other low-income countries.

A lack of balance in allocation to mitigation and adaptation finance can further divert public finance from poor countries and accelerate global inequality.

“However, almost all countries do well, to varying degrees, in taking into account multiple objectives when allocating their mitigation finance across developing countries. While a large amount of mitigation finance is spent on large developing countries, this study finds no evidence that developing countries which host such projects are selected to receive a large amount of mitigation finance due to their large CO2 emissions.”

Some donors exploit mitigation finance as a geopolitical and trade instrument to improve or maintain their relationships with neighbouring countries, for example Japan, Germany and France choose developing countries that are close by as their recipients. Dr Halimanjaya says this may divert it from its principal objective of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, although the donors’ financial allocation shows a concerted response to global needs via their protection of carbon sinks. Norway is the most altruistic of the five donors, as it exhibits the lowest geopolitical and trade interests.

Japan, Germany, France and Norway were found to have an emerging interest in allocating mitigation finance to their Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) host countries, where public finance can play a role in stimulating large private-sector investment in green projects. While this risks overcrowding these countries and promoting global inequality, the study suggests that supporting small to medium businesses can balance this risk to some extent.

Using data on mitigation finance the research analysed four determinants – global needs, recipients’ institutional performance, recipients’ needs, and donors’ interests – for each donor’s two-step financial distribution procedure. This consists of the selection stage, when a donor chooses which developing countries are to receive its mitigation finance, and the allocation stage, when the donor allocates money to the selected countries.

Of the five major donors all except the US consider good governance a determinant of their mitigation finance at the selection stage. The study suggests that such a stringent policy, especially at the allocation stage, raises the concern that the criteria may hinder the global progress of emission mitigation, as countries with weak governance urgently need technical support to improve their land and forest governance in order to join global emission reduction programmes, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). However, it could also be argued that good governance can serve as a financial safeguard against misconduct such as corruption.

When selecting developing countries to receive their mitigation finance, Japan and Norway in particular, but also Germany and the US, have consistently used forest area as a positive determinant. These four donors have committed more mitigation finance to densely-forested developing countries than to other developing countries. France’s mitigation finance though responds negatively to global needs, with its commitment leaning towards supporting developing countries with lower forest cover.

Another finding is the use of mitigation finance as a political instrument to strengthen relationships with ex-colonies. For example, France tends to choose its ex-colonies, such as Morocco, as recipients of its mitigation finance.

The study ‘Allocating climate mitigation finance: a comparative analysis of five major donors’, Aidy Halimanjaya, is due to be published in the Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment on July 8, 2016.

Environment

How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener

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green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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