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Germany’s G20 Presidency Must Focus On Climate Change And Sustainability

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Germany's G20 Presidency Must Focus On Climate Change And Sustainability

The German Presidency must use the G20 platform to mobilise international cooperation and action on climate change according to Climate Action Network.

Decisive action on climate change is vital to strengthening global stability, and achieving sustainable development, two pillars of the 2017 G20 agenda.

The G20 countries account for approximately 80 percent of global emissions. They have a responsibility to lead on several actions to ensure that climate change does not further endanger global stability.

By making climate-risk disclosure mandatory, the G20 can ensure that new investment in infrastructure is climate-resilient and low carbon. This is vital to avoid the serious risk of stranded assets, that threaten financial stability and economic growth.

Inefficient fossil fuel subsidies skew markets in favour of energy sources that are not environmentally sustainable and which fail to deliver long-term energy security.
G20 governments must unlock the potential in renewable energy sources that are now cost-competitive in many parts of the world. They must further commit to halt fossil-fuel based development and infrastructure investments. Green finance will be an essential enabling element in the necessary global energy transition to 100% renewable energy.

Mitigating and adapting to climate change will be key to global security, as the scale and frequency of extreme weather events threaten vulnerable communities and exacerbate the scarcity of natural resources.

In 2015, all G20 governments adopted the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030-the Sustainable Development Goals. During COP 22 in Marrakech last month, 48 of the most vulnerable countries committed to transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Now the world’s largest economies must ensure that their economic decisions are compatible with the commitments they made in Paris, and in line with the direction in which the global economy is moving.

Developing mid-century strategies for sustainable development and decarbonisation is a key step in ensuring stable and resilient national economies. Such long-term planning will send clear signals to the private sector, and build a framework for investments in line with development goals and those of the Paris Agreement.

Germany, at the helm of the G20 must reaffirm commitments to avoid irreversible climate change. It must through its G20 leadership, work to ensure a progressive outcome on global climate action.

We can’t afford to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, and we certainly can’t afford to waste even one more cent of public money on it

CAN members comment on the start of the German G20 Presidency

“Climate science tells us that the responsible thing to do is to stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure now. Germany should push the G20 in this direction, and at the very least, should advance the 2009 G20 promise to end fossil fuel subsidies. We can’t afford to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, and we certainly can’t afford to waste even one more cent of public money on it.” Alex Doukas, Senior Campaigner, Oil Change International

“As the G20 Presidency enters Europe for the next 12 months, Germany and the whole European Union should get behind an ambitious work plan that moves the world’s largest economies further away from fossil fuels and closer towards being fully renewables based and energy efficient. Germany together with the rest of the EU now have the opportunity to solidify their alleged climate leadership. This includes phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, increasing near-term climate action and getting down to business with the EU’s long-term decarbonisation strategy.” Wendel Trio, Director, Climate Action Network Europe

“As the world’s largest emitters and strongest economies, the G20 have a responsibility to act on climate change. The Paris Agreement has set a globally agreed framework for responding to the climate crisis, but we can only achieve the Paris objectives if the G20 now acts decisively on implementation. We welcome the emphasis the German presidency has announced to put on this issue. We expect chancellor Merkel to make it very clear that climate change has to be a priority, also vis-a-vis the incoming U.S. administration. All G20 countries need to agree to develop their mid-century decarbonization plans by 2018.” Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch

Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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