Dear IEECP friends and colleagues,
We are happy to present you our newsletter from the Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy (IEECP) in the Netherlands. This newsletter presents the projects we are involved in and coordinating, namely:
– EC Horizon 2020 PROSPECT (Peer powered Cities and Regions)
– EC Horizon 2020 EPATEE (Evaluation Into Practice to Achieve Targets for Energy Efficiency)
– Handbook on energy governance in Europe
– CATCH and REBOUND (Transition to low carbon households: catching rebound effects, market imperfections and policy interactions)
– 4th European Workshop Meeting of the White Certificates Club
We would like to thank you for reading this issue and we are at your disposal for any comment and ideas.
Kind regards on behalf of the IEECP team
Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy
Groen van Prinstererlaan 290
2555HZ, The Hague
+31 70 2500 642
IEECP is the scientific coordinator of the new European Commission H2020 PROSPECT project (Peer Powered Cities and Regions)
The overall aim of PROSPECT is to enable peer to peer learning in regional and local authorities in order to finance and implement sustainable energy plans. The learning will empower them to make use of best practices in developing financing for these plans. PROSPECT will address the needs of regional and local authorities through developing a complete peer to peer learning program addressing them. The learning process will be focused on how different sustainable energy projects and measures have been successfully financed. Peer to peer learning involves sharing information and experience from each other through mentoring activities, work shadowing, and study tours, among others. Primarily, the networks Eurocities, Energy Cities and FEDARENE will perform “needs assessment and gaps identifications” with public bodies for learning and match these needs with available best practices. Then PROSPECT will select public authorities and agencies and the roles of trainer and trainees will be assigned. The learning program will be divided into five modules that include development of financing for : i) public buildings, ii) private buildings, iii) public lighting, iv) transport (private and public), and v) cross sectional. The overall estimation is for PROSPECT to launch 5 modules per year (fifteen in total) with an average participation of 15 partners per module. This number can differ depending on the demand there is for each module, but as an average value this can be manageable in terms of teaching requirements. The added value of PROSPECT in comparison to other initiatives is that the learning program is not limited to a capacity building process. Instead, the learning curriculum will follow the project steps of energy efficiency finance from the first stages of its development to monitoring its sustainable operation. The learning program will ideally result to the launch of pilot business models and financing partnerships for implementing sustainable energy plans.
Please join and follow the PROSPECT project
European Commission H2020 EPATEE project (Evaluation Into Practice to Achieve Targets for Energy Efficiency)
IEECP is participating to the newly launched European Commission H2020 EPATEE project (Evaluation Into Practice to Achieve Targets for Energy Efficiency)
EPATEE (Evaluation Into Practice to Achieve Targets for Energy Efficiency) is an EU funded project which is aims to give EU Member States tools and knowledge for a better evaluation of their own energy efficiency policies. This project will last 30 months from May 2017 to October 2019, and is led by a consortium of 10 partners from 8 European countries.
EPATEE will raise the capacity of policymakers and implementers for policy evaluation by providing them with tools and practical knowledge to make consistent impact evaluation an integral part of the policy cycle. It will support EU Member States in distinguishing effective from ineffective policies.
This support will be based on analysis of existing evaluation experiences regarding a range of instruments, such as energy efficiency obligation schemes, regulations, financial incentives and voluntary agreements. Lessons learnt from these examples will provide the basis for the development of guidelines and good practice evaluation tools.
Please join and follow the EPATEE project
Happy warriors in the climate casino? New year thoughts inspired by California’s Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Professor William D. Nordhaus
Feel free to spread the word. You can download it here.
California’s Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. delivered inspiring remarks – accessible fully on YouTube – on December 14, 2016, at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco; this was the largest Earth and space science meeting in the world in 2016. James Fallows of the Atlantic commented on this speech stating that “It’s a genuine fighting speech, with a tone that is resolute but positive, rather than resentful or doomed. It’s a rousing call-to-battle against the environmental backwardness and larger disdain for fact of the coming era, from a person who as he nears age 80 has struck a distinctive Happy Warrior tone of resistance. Happy, in its confidence. Warrior, in its resoluteness.”
Almost at the same time of the Happy Warrior speech at AGU, a Concerned Scientist, Professor William D. Nordhaus, one of the founding fathers of the economics of climate change published his latest article, “Projections and uncertainties about climate change in an era of minimal climate policies” , with some eye-opening and blunt conclusions such as:
- ”… that it will be extremely difficult to achieve the 2°C target of international agreements even if ambitious policies are introduced in the near term.”
- “a major upward revision in the social cost of carbon (SCC) and the optimal carbon tax in the current period”
- “the international target for climate change with a limit of 2 °C appears to be infeasible with reasonably accessible technologies – and this is the case even with very stringent and unrealistically ambitious abatement strategies. This is so because of the inertia of the climate system, of rapid projected economic growth in the near term, and of revisions in several elements of the model [DICE]. A target of 2½ °C is technically feasible but would require extreme virtually universal global policy measures.”
- “The approach of studying business as usual has fallen out of favor with analysts, who concentrate on temperature- or concentration-limiting scenarios. A careful study of limited-policy or no-policy scenarios may be depressing, but it is critical in the same way a CT scan is for a cancer patient.”
- “Moreover, notwithstanding what may be called “The Rhetoric of Nations,” there has been little progress in taking strong policy measures. For example, of the six largest countries or regions, only the EU has implemented national climate policies, and the policies of the EU today are very modest. Moreover, from the perspective of political economy in different countries as of December 2016, the prospects of strong policy measures appear to be dimming rather than brightening.”
- “This study makes one further important point about uncertainty. On one question there is no doubt: the scientific crystal ball is cloudy for the path of climate change and its impacts. The ranges of uncertainty for future emissions, concentrations, temperature, and damages are extremely large. This does not imply, however, that current policy is to wait and do nothing. To reiterate, when taking uncertainties into account, the strength of policy (as measured by the social cost of carbon or the optimal carbon tax) would increase, not decrease. “
Within their own realms – politics/policy and science respectively – both argue for strong and quick climate action. William D. Nordhaus called the global situation a high-stakes “climate casino” in his famous 2013 book; according to him there is still some time to turn around and walk back out of the casino. Both him and Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. have the ideas and determination to move ahead on this low-emission, climate resilient route. With a reference to Rick Perry, former governor of Texas and Trump’s choice for Energy Department/Secretary, Governor Brown stated: “Rick, we’ve got more sun than you have oil, and we’re going to use it!”. I would add that this is a global truth: the low-emission, resilient (energy) transition is inevitable; but its gearstick (speed) is certainly in our hands. Former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, made a stunning plea on his Facebook page on 7 December 2016.
As we enter the new year we should continue to listen to science, continue/start evidence-based policy making and ensure that (investment) decisions of 2017 on trillions of dollars going into infrastructure do not lock us in for a high emissions pathway.
We have the will, we have the tools and we have the historic chance. Let’s make sure that we will be remembered as part of the unique first generation who realised the impacts of climate change and as part of perhaps the last generation who could take decisive and sufficient actions to mitigate climate change. Let’s face the sometimes unpleasant/inconvenient realities and take action toward a comforting future for all.
Let’s become science-driven Happy Warriors in 2017.
The Paris Agreement made us think on what is needed for the 2 °C/1.5 °C goal; we are convinced that we all should walk the talk of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, increasing ambition now is a must, hence here comes our manifesto/call.
Feel free to spread the word. You can download it in pdf format here.
StregnhteNDC Climate Manifesto
Walk the talk of the Paris Agreement: increase ambition now!
The present country-level greenhouse gas limitation commitments – called INDCs in climate convention jargon – on the global scale will put the Earth on a 2.7°C – 3°C average temperature increase in this century. The more than 20 years of the Convention has witnessed more than 50% increase in annual greenhouse gas emissions. According to science we only have another 20-25 years left with our XXI century 2 °C carbon budget; we shall reduce emissions significantly and quickly possibly peaking by 2020 and having net-zero emissions soon after 2050.
The Paris Agreement calls for “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” (Art 2.1.a) and it also emphasises “with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C…(Preamble),”. Subsequently, it sets the timeframes for action. The Paris Agreement “urges” each country for a submission by 2020 of “a new nationally determined contribution [NDC] and to do so every five years thereafter”(III.23/24). It also “Invites Parties to communicate, by 2020, to the secretariat mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” (III.36) Moreover, introduces the concept of yet to-be-developed compulsory guidance for NDCs to be applied from 2025 onwards (III. 31-32).
Instead of allowing the years passing by, we call for action. Here and now.
Early action – the immediate increase of ambition and matching it with the 2 °C/1.5 °C target – is not only necessary, but also feasible based on the content of the Paris Agreement due to the following reasons. Its adoption by the international community will happen by “signature in New York, United States of America, from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017” (I.2) and the agreement “Invites Parties to communicate their first nationally determined contribution no later than when the Party submits its respective instrument of ratification, accession, or approval of the Paris Agreement”. It then states that “If a Party has communicated an intended nationally determined contribution prior to joining the Agreement, that Party shall be considered to have satisfied this provision unless that Party decides otherwise” (III.22). Therefore any Party (country) can decide to update its INDC during the adoption process, prior to 21 April 2017. Another important aspect of the Paris Agreement is how it paves the way for global, inter-national cooperative actions (Art 6.2; 6.4) allowing considerable freedom for the front-runners, the cooperation (ITMO; Art. 6.2) of the ones with ambition and the ones with the means for implementation even before the rules of the more centralised, global mechanism are agreed upon (Art 6.4) .
Therefore there is nothing to stop each and every country to revise its existing (I)NDC during the Paris Agreement adoption process of the agreement and do this before 21 April 2017. Let’s ensure that the political momentum built up in Paris – involving 150 head of states and prime ministers – do not fade away. The words of the dignitaries need to be converted into action. As we have seen INDC formulation processes and content formulation from the inside, we know that there is a lot of room for realistic and feasible improvements towards higher ambition. So we can certainly get collectively closer to the 2 °C/1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement!
Let’s start reviewing, revising and strengthening the (I)NDCs. Engage as many countries & governments as possible.
Issued by IEECP board members and associates, The Hague, Netherlands, 21 December 2015.