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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 be More eco-Responsible in 2018

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eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Environment

5 Tips for Making Your Bakery Greener

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green bakery
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Noppadon stocker | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/noppadon

Bakeries are staple businesses in small towns and urban areas alike. Much like diners and cafes, bakeries are the heartbeat of American society. It’s where people drink their morning coffee and grab a slice of pie after a dinner. But from the perspective of sustainability, what are they doing to stay green?

5 Ways to Make Your Bakery a Little Greener

You might think “green” and “bakery” don’t belong in the same sentence unless St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, but things are changing and there’s actually a huge market for bakeries that use green products and practices. From New York City to Los Angeles and every small town and big city in between, there are bakeries embracing the green movement. Could yours be the next?

As you look to redefine your bakery, here are some green tips you might find helpful:

1. Work With Green Suppliers

Being green isn’t just about making sure the practices inside of your bakery are sustainable and energy efficient. You also need to be sure you’re working with other green companies in your supply chain. Otherwise, you’re not really having much of an impact.

While it used to be a challenge when Rubin first started out, today it’s fairly easy to locate green suppliers. Do some research and reevaluate your current partnerships if they appear to be inefficient.

2. Reduce Packaging Waste

If most of your bakery goods are sold to-go, you probably go through a lot of packaging. One of your primary focuses should be on reducing packaging waste and using more sustainable materials.

“Many of our clients own bakeries and we’ve seen them experience a major shift over the past few years,” Plastic Container City explains. “Whereas they used to be pretty frivolous with how they packaged and served food, they’re now thinking really strategically about how they can curb waste and embrace sustainability. It’s great to see.”

3. Curb Food Waste

Food waste is a big issue in any food-related business. Try to be really cognizant of your biggest causes of food waste and look for solutions that allow you to maximize ingredients and resources. This may look like making bigger batches, moving to smaller batches, donating food to local kitchens, or getting into food composting.

4. Conserve Water

The average bakery uses a lot of water. From making different food items to cleaning pots and dishes, water is always running. One practical step you can take is to use more water-efficient practices in the kitchen. Observe how things are currently being done and look for areas where you can improve – such as with washing dishes.

5. Use More Efficient Appliances

Finally, if you’re willing and able to make an upfront investment, swapping out old appliances with newer energy efficient models can make a big difference in your bakery’s total energy consumption. It’ll cost you something on the front end, but you’ll slowly recoup the money and rest easy knowing your carbon footprint is much lower.

Sustainability in the Heartland

Small town bakeries represent the heartland of the country. And if we’re going to get serious about sustainability at a core societal level, it’s imperative that we begin with the fabric that binds America together. By prioritizing eco-friendly decision making in key American businesses, such as bakeries, we can begin to make noticeable progress. Are you prepared to do your part?

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