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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

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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