Connect with us

Energy

Businesses Call for Bold Reform of Emissions Trading System to Raise Carbon Price

Published

on

Today, heads of some of Europe’s largest businesses called for decisive reform to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), as a vital first step to demonstrate commitment to delivering the ambition enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The European Parliament’s Environment Committee holds a public hearing on 18th February to analyse the proposed reforms to the EU ETS. Today’s event marks the start of the European Parliament’s public discussions on the dossier.

The EU ETS is envisaged as the cornerstone of EU policy on climate change.  It covers 45% of EU CO2 emissions, including power and heavy industry.  However, the scheme has faced criticism including serious concerns regarding the oversupply of allowances, leading to a low carbon price and whether it is consequently proving to be effective.  This year the EU ETS is being reviewed with a view to setting clear arrangements for the next phase (Phase IV).

Business leaders from the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) have consistently called on the European institutions to reform the EU ETS so that the system delivers a stronger signal that can effectively underpin their decarbonisation efforts and provide finance to support the development of new technologies.  They believe that the Commission’s reform proposal will not adequately strengthen the EU ETS to serve as the key tool to deliver Europe’sexisting and future GHG emissions targets or the low carbon economy needed.

Jill Duggan, Senior Associate at Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, who was one of the key officials who worked on the design of the ETS at its original inception, said, ‘’A recent study of ten years of the European Emissions Trading System has shown it can and does work to help businesses become more efficient and more competitive.  It’s not perfect, but now is the time to strengthen the system and make it truly world-leading, not weaken it with exceptions and low expectations.’’

The Parliament’s response to the Commission’s EU ETS proposal will give MEPs an opportunity to help deliver on the promise of the historic COP 21 Paris Agreement by aligning the Emissions Trading System with the level of ambition agreed in Paris.

Philippe Joubert, Chair of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said: “The Paris Agreement was finalised by all nations right here in Europe. Now Europe’s policy makers have the chance to follow through on their commitments by decisively reforming the EU ETS so that it truly plays its role in driving behaviour change, cutting carbon and transforming the EU economy for the future.’’

The purpose of reform should be to learn lessons from the last ten years and ensure that the cap on Europe’s emissions is consistent with the science and with Europe’s own Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The CLG business leaders are not convinced the reform proposal coming before the European Parliament goes far enough to deliver an effective ETS, and call for the following immediate key changes:

  1. Reduce the carbon cap faster.  The European Commission’s proposed 2.2% annual reduction is too slow for Europe’s existing climate commitments – and even further behind the Paris Agreement’s goal of a temperature rise well below 2℃.
  2. All allowances auctioned or allocated during Phase IV should come from within the Phase IV cap.
  3. Base allocations for carbon leakage on real world circumstances.  More countries and regions have taken on a carbon price in the last few years, and after the Paris Agreement it is likely more will follow. Allocations for carbon leakage sectors should take into account increasing carbon policies faced by major competitors internationally.
  4. Adopt a 5 year phase length in line with the review periods of the Paris Agreement, and reflecting the experience of EU ETS to date which has shown that improvements to the workings of the ETS may be needed over time.

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and its business leaders are already investing in a low carbon economy but now they expect Europe’s policy makers to deliver a robust carbon price so as to underpin their current and future investments and truly create a competitive European market for clean energy. A more ambitious, transparent and robust EU ETS will give business the certainty it needs to invest in decarbonisation and prevent European businesses from becoming uncompetitive due to the increasing number of country and regional markets that are putting an accurate price on carbon and have far more efficient emissions trading schemes in place.

Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

Published

on

By

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!

Continue Reading

Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending