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G20 Still Yet To Transition From Brown To Green Economy

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World Class Traffic Jam by joiseyshowaa via Flickr

The G20 needs to make more effort to move to a green, low-carbon economy, especially in the areas of coal power expansion and climate policy, but is beginning to head in the right direction.

Beijing, 1 September 2016 — This is the key result of a comprehensive assessment of G20 climate action, released in Beijing today ahead of the G20 summit in China this weekend.

The report, “Brown to Green: Assessing the G20 transition to a low-carbon economy” has been produced by Climate Transparency, and written by a range of international experts (1) and was launched at a press conference in Beijing.

The report and detailed factsheets on each country are available here.

With climate change high on this year’s G20 agenda, along with green finance, the assessment looks at a range of indicators on climate action, including investment attractiveness, investment in renewable energy, climate policy, the carbon intensity of both the energy and electricity sectors of the G20 economies, of their fossil fuel subsidies and their contributions to climate finance.

The G20 is responsible for 75% of global emissions, and its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased by 56% from 1990-2013.  While the positive news is that this growth has now stalled, the negative is that there is still more brown than green on the Climate Transparency G20 scorecard.

“The G20 has proven that it can be nimble, and take action on economic issues, so we are looking to these countries to do the same for the climate,” said Alvaro Umaña, co-chair of Climate Transparency, and Former Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.

Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the ‘brown’ fossil-fuel based economy and into the ‘green.’

“Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the ‘brown’ fossil-fuel based economy and into the ‘green.’ There remains a tremendous opportunity for the G20 to make this transition and provide the world with enough energy, create affordable energy access for the poorest people, and to stimulate economies,” he said.

“While the G20 is rightfully addressing the issue of green investments, the climate needs an actual shift – away from brown – to green.”

What’s in the report?

  • In terms of investment attractiveness in renewable energy, China, India, France and Germany, the US and the UK are rated the highest. However, both France and Germany’s ratings are at risk of dropping.  Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have the worst ratings.

“That China and India are rated the highest is a good signal – these are the economies where the transition will have the biggest impact on the global climate. France’s reliance on nuclear is stifling the emergence of wind and solar, and Germany’s proposed cap on renewable energy is worrying,” said Jan Burck of Germanwatch.

  • Coal is the main issue with the carbon intensity of the G20’s energy sector overall, because of the large number of planned new coal-fired power plants that would almost double the G20’s coal capacity. This would make it virtually impossible to keep warming even to 2˚C, let alone “well below 2˚C” or down to 1.5˚C as spelt out in the Paris Agreement.
  • The G20 member states’ pledged climate action is still far from where it needs to be to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.  Altogether, the G20 needs to reduce emissions by six times what has been pledged so far by 2030.

“If G20 countries were to rid themselves of their reliance on coal, this would significantly impact their ability to both increase their climate pledges, and get their emissions trajectories on a below 2˚C pathway,” said Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute. 

  • There is good news on renewable energy, which has increased by 18% since 2008.  However, to be in line with a 2°C trajectory, annual G20 country investment in the power sector alone will, by 2035, have to roughly double from 2000-2013 levels.
  • Fossil fuel subsidies, which the G20 has repeatedly committed to removing (since 2009), continue to be high.  In the developed countries their fossil fuel subsidies are, without exception, substantially above the money they have committed to climate finance.
  • Energy-related emissions per capita, currently averaging across the G20 at 5.7tC02e/y per person, has decreased slightly, but needs to drop right back to 1-3tC02e/y per person by 2050 to keep on a below 2˚C warming trajectory.
  • G20 economies’ energy intensity and carbon intensity are both decreasing, but not enough to compensate for the increase in economic activity, therefore showing an overall increase in both energy-related CO2 emissions and primary energy.

“The G20 host country, China, has talked of the urgency of the climate issue. Our assessment shows China is taking more action than many countries.  Climate leadership from China at the G20 Summit could help set the world on the right path to a future safe from the worst ravages of climate change,” said Peter Eigen, Co-Chair of Climate Transparency.

“Climate Transparency has provided comprehensive, comparable and credible information about G20 climate action.  Our independent assessment comes from a range of stakeholders who bring different perspectives, a reference point that we intend to continue – and widen – in the future.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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