Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more
The Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS
and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
The Hon. Rachel Notley leads Alberta's first New Democratic government, with a strong majority and a diverse caucus including the highest percentage of women of any government in Canada. She was sworn in as Alberta's 17th Premier on May 24, 2015.
U.S. can reach Paris Agreement climate goal, but more will be needed
New analysis breaks down estimates of future emissions reductions
WASHINGTON – Existing and expected policies can take the United States most of the way toward its Paris Agreement goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the remaining reductions can likely be achieved through a mix of additional policies, city and business action, and technological innovation, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).
As part of the landmark global climate agreement to be signed Friday by more than 150 nations, the United States set a goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. In a new paper, C2ES outlines how expected and in-place policies could reduce U.S. emissions by as much as 22 percent.
“To get all the way to the goal line, we’ll need concerted efforts across multiple fronts. But the goal is definitely within reach,’’ said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe.
U.S. net emissions are already down about 9 percent from 2005 levels due to market- and policy-related factors, including a shift in electricity generation from coal to natural gas, growth in renewable energy, level electricity demand, and improved vehicle efficiency.
The C2ES business-as-usual forecast, drawn from a number of analyses, projects an additional 5.6 percent reduction in net emissions through such policies as greenhouse gas standards for vehicles and the Clean Power Plan.
The rest of the anticipated 22 percent in emissions reductions is expected to come from new, higher estimates of future carbon sequestration and additional measures under development, including steps to strengthen fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector, and reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Filling the remaining gap of at least 270 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent will require further steps, such as additional federal policies, technological advances that lower the cost of emissions reduction, and stronger efforts by cities and businesses.
“We’ve seen unprecedented support from cities and businesses for the Paris Agreement and climate action,” Perciasepe said. “Cities and businesses should press forward with their efforts, and we need to quantify their progress and learn from their examples to help the United States reach its climate goal.”
- Q&A: Answers to Key Questions about the Paris Agreement
- Summary of the Paris Agreement
- C2ES Business Statement supporting Paris Agreement
- Sampling of pledges of action by cities, states and companies
About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our energy and climate challenges. Learn more at www.c2es.org.
April 20, 2016
Contact Laura Rehrmann, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-516-0621
Major companies support Paris Agreement
Urge governments to move quickly to formally join climate pact
WASHINGTON – Twelve leading companies based or with major operations in the United States voiced strong support today for the landmark global climate agreement to be signed this week and urged governments to move expeditiously to formally join it.
In a statement organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), the companies said they recognize rising climate risks and welcome the agreement reached in December at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris “as an expression of the strong governmental leadership needed to smoothly transition to a low-carbon, sustainable future.”
The Paris Agreement, to be signed Friday in New York by more than 150 countries, establishes “an inclusive, pragmatic and, hopefully, durable framework for progressively strengthening efforts globally to address the causes and consequences of climate change,” the statement says.
The statement was endorsed by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Calpine, HP Inc., Intel, LafargeHolcim, Microsoft, National Grid, PG&E, Rio Tinto, Schneider Electric, Shell, and Siemens.
“These companies have real skin in the game – either they’re big energy producers or users,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “They know emissions need to come down and are taking action on their own. But they also believe the low-carbon transition requires government leadership to ensure that all major economies are doing their fair share.”
The statement says the Paris Agreement will help facilitate and strengthen the role of the private sector in the low-carbon transition by providing long-term direction, promoting transparency, addressing competitiveness, and facilitating carbon pricing.
“Allowing, and ensuring the environmental integrity of, international emissions trading will help facilitate the growth and credibility of carbon markets, a critical tool for cost-effective emissions reduction,” the statement says.
Many of the companies joining the statement were among the hundreds that pledged specific climate actions in the lead-up to the Paris conference.
"We encourage governments to move expeditiously to formally join the Paris Agreement,” the statement says, "and pledge to work with countries to enact and implement the domestic measures needed to achieve their national contributions.”
The full statement is at: http://bit.ly/Biz4Climate
- Q&A: Answers to Key Questions about the Paris Agreement
- Summary of the Paris Agreement
- Business Resilience report: Major companies see climate impacts as a business risk.
- Sampling of pledges of action by non-state actors
About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address our energy and climate challenges. C2ES works to galvanize business and public support for policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at www.c2es.org.
In addition to producing the Paris Agreement, the 2015 Paris Climate Conference generated an unprecedented showing of action and support from all levels of society. “Non-state actors” such as cities, states and companies offered pledges via the online NAZCA Portal set up under the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. At the time of the conference, the portal listed nearly 11,000 commitments from more than 2,250 cities, 150 regions, 2,025 companies, 424 investors, and 235 civil society organizations.
Here is a sampling of the many initiatives launched in Paris by governments and/or non-state actors.
Members: Twenty-six investors, including Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Bill Gates (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Vinod Khosla (Khosla Ventures), Jack Ma (Alibaba Group), Pan Shiyi (SOHO China), Ratan Tata (Tata Industries), Meg Whitman (Hewlett Packard), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).
Purpose: Form a network of private capital committed to building a structure that will allow informed decisions to help accelerate the change to the advanced energy future. Success requires a partnership of increased government research, with a transparent and workable structure to objectively evaluate those projects, and committed private-sector investors willing to support the innovative ideas that come out of the public research pipeline.
The focus is on early stage financing (e.g. seed, angel and Series A investments, rather than financing ideas at a more mature development stage. Investment sectors include: electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture, and energy system efficiency.
Members: Endorsed by 448 organizations from 65 countries across 30 sectors.
Purpose: Caring for Climate is an initiative mobilizing business leaders to implement and recommend climate change solutions and policies by advancing practical solutions, sharing experiences, informing public policy and shaping public attitudes. Companies can join by endorsing the Caring for Climate Statement, offering signatories on-going engagement opportunities in five work streams:
- Carbon Pricing
- Climate Adaptation
- Climate and Energy Action Hub
- Climate Policy and Engagement
- Transparency and Disclosure
Members: Mayors of 484 cities, representing 413,076,762 people worldwide and 5.70% of the total global population have committed to the Compact of Mayors.
Purpose: The Compact of Mayors is the world’s largest coalition of city leaders to reduce GHG emissions, track progress, and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The coalition aims to:
- Share best practices;
- Encourage increased capital flows into cities to support local action;
- Demonstrate commitment to action by voluntarily agreeing to rigorous transparency standards; and
- Establish a consistent, transparent accountability framework that can be used by national governments, private investors or the public.
To become a part of the compact, a city must first register a commitment to become compact compliant. A mayor then has up to three years to assess the current impacts of climate change in his or her city, update its GHG inventory, set a target to reduce emissions, conduct a vulnerability assessment consistent with compact guidance, and report in its chosen platform. The compact operates under the leadership of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), and the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), with support from UN-Habitat, the UN’s lead agency on urban issues.
Members: Twenty countries: Armenia, Austria, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Dubai, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United States, and Vietnam; 8 major groups: Lafarge Holcim, Saint Gobain, Velux, Consolidated Contractors Company, Danfoss, Veolia, Sekisui House, Suez Environnement; more than 50 national and international organizations, professional networks and funders.
Purpose: This worldwide alliance aims to gather countries, cities and public and private organizations of the building sector value chain, in order to scale up the implementation of ambitious actions toward the "below 2°C" pathway in buildings and construction sector. The alliance’s first priority is to collectively address major challenges in three clusters:
- Public strategies and policies: To support member cities, states, regions, and countries in developing, building capacity for, and implementing, comprehensive building efficiency strategies and policies.
- Value chain transformation: To work together to develop comprehensive action plans across the entire buildings value chain, including focus on workforce development, skills and training, support for technology transfer, and capacity building.
- Finance: To work to increase financing options adapted to accelerate investment and funding for building mitigation projects and programs.
Members: The Alliance will cover 120 countries including many African and Asian nations, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, China and the United States. Companies involved in the project include Areva, Engie, Enel, HSBC France and Tata Steel.
Purpose: The ISA will expand solar power primarily in countries that are resource-rich but energy poor, by mobilizing public finance from richer states to deliver universal energy access. The ISA could support progress toward a clean energy pathway by lowering financing costs, developing common standards, encouraging knowledge sharing and facilitating R&D collaborations and co-development of technology.
Members: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States.
Purpose: Each participating country will seek to double its governmental and/or state-directed clean energy research and development investment over five years. New investments would be focused on transformational clean energy technology innovations that can be scalable to varying economic and energy market conditions that exist in participating countries and in the broader world.
Mission Innovation will work with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to generate private sector interest in continuing investment in technologies with the greatest potential following the public investment stage. There is also a commitment of Mission Innovation participating countries to make available all relevant data, expertise and analysis so that they can be easily accessed by all.
A first implementation meeting of Mission Innovation will be held in early 2016.
Members: More than 120 investors with more than $10 trillion in assets under management, based in Europe, US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Africa.
Purpose: The Montreal Carbon Pledge commits investors to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of our investments annually, with the aim of then developing a strategy or setting reduction targets. The Montreal pledge formalizes commitments to the goals of the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition. The Montreal Carbon Pledge is organized by the Principles for Responsible Investors (PRI) and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI)
Members: Thirty-six national governments, 20 subnational governments, 53 companies, 16 indigenous peoples’ groups, and 54 NGO/CSOs.
Purpose: Members will do their part to achieve a range of outcomes, including to halve the rate of natural forest loss by 2020, and end it by 2030. There are more specific goals to eliminate deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities by 2020, as well as broader goals to provide alternative incomes to local communities, provide incentives for governments which perform well and strengthening the rule of law in managing forests.
According to the declaration, the cumulative impact of these measures could be between 4.5-8.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year by 2030.
Members: Led by the International Network of Basins Organizations (INBO/RIOB), the Paris Pact on Water and Climate Adaptation consists of a wide geographic coalition of almost 290 national and cross-border river basin organizations and governments, funding agencies, local governments, companies and civil society.
Purpose: The initiative is designed to make countries mobilize their own basins organizations, in order to strengthen their resilience and their adaptation actions. The Pact encourages actions that:
- Reinforce capacity development and knowledge;
- Adapt basin management planning to climate change;
- Reinforce governance; and
- Ensure adequate financing.
These actions will contribute to reach Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Members: ABP, Allianz, AP4, Australian Ethical, Caisse des Dépôts, Church of Sweden, Environment Agency Pension Fund, Fonds de reserves pour les retraites (FRR), Humanis, KLP, Local Government Super, MN, Le Régime de Retraite additionelle de la Fonction publique (ERAFP), Storebrand, The University of Sydney, Toronto Atmospheric Fund, A Capital, Amundi Asset Management, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Hermes Investment Management, Inflection Point Capital Management, Mandatum Life, Mirova, RobecoSAM, Sonen Capital.
Purpose: The PDC is a multi-stakeholder initiative to reduce the GHG emissions in investment portfolios. The coalition focuses on two separate initiatives; generating information on a carbon footprint and disclosing this information, and taking action to reduce the exposure of investment portfolios to greenhouse gas intensive companies and projects. The coalition has committed to a decarbonization of $600 billion, of a total of $3.2 trillion in assets under management. This surpasses the original target of $100 billion.
Members: FAO and Messe Düsseldorf are collaborating with donors, bi- and multi-lateral agencies and financial institutions and private sector partners (the food packaging industry and others) to develop and implement a program on food loss and waste reduction.
Purpose: The SAVE FOOD initiative aims at encouraging dialogue between industry, research, politics, and civil society on food losses. The initiative will regularly bring together stakeholders involved in the food supply chain for conferences and projects and will support them in developing effective measures. Another goal will be to raise public awareness of the impact of food waste. Four pillars of the SAVE FOOD initiative:
- Raising awareness, through a global communication and media campaign, the dissemination of Save Food program findings, and Regional SAVE FOOD Congresses, of the impact of and solutions for food loss and waste.
- Collaboration and coordination of world-wide initiatives and establishing a global partnership of public and private sector organizations and companies.
- Policy, strategy, and program development, including a series of field studies on a national-regional basis and studies on the socio-economic impacts of food loss and waste.
- Private and public sector support to investment programs and projects, including food supply chain actors and organizations either at the food subsector level or policy level.
Members: One-hundred-twenty-seven subnational jurisdictions, representing 729 million people and over $20 trillion in GDP
Purpose: Members are willing to commit to either reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80-95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, or achieving a per capita emissions target of less than two metric tons by 2050. This is in line with the scientifically established emissions level necessary to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Members: British Columbia, California, Connecticut, Germany, Maryland, Massachusetts, The Netherlands, New York, Norway, Oregon, Québec, Rhode Island, The United Kingdom, Vermont
Purpose: Members signed a common statement to work together on encouraging Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV)deployment. This includes creating and sharing targets for future ZEV deployment across members. In addition, sharing data and best practices to be more effective in their ZEV deployment strategies.
Beyond Paris: From Agreement to Action on Climate Change
Hosted by: Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
The historic Paris Agreement represents not only the culmination of years of negotiations, but also a unique moment in which businesses, cities, and heads of state from over 150 countries gathered to make their own commitments and discuss solutions to climate change.
Please join Microsoft and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) for a lively discussion on Wednesday, April 27, 8:30-10 a.m., with senior representatives from various sectors to discuss innovative and proactive climate solutions, what Paris means four months later, and how to move from agreement to action on climate change.
Special Assistant to the President and Director of Private Sector Engagement,
The White House
Executive Vice President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Corporate Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft
Tamara “TJ” DiCaprio
Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, Microsoft
Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel
Global Environmental Executive, Bank of America
Senior Vice President, Environmental Services and Chief Environmental Counsel
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)
Additional panelists may be announced.
Follow the discussion on Twitter: #MSFTClimateAction
International negotiators made significant progress last week in Geneva at the first of several meetings this year aimed at phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
HFCs are fast growing, powerful greenhouse gases used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances in refrigeration and air conditioning, as blowing agents, and as aerosol propellants.
In a stark departure from meetings in previous years, a number of key issues essential to reaching agreement on an HFC amendment were tentatively resolved and substantial progress was achieved on others.
For example, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Gulf states had raised concerns about the lack of proven substitutes for air conditioning that are suitable for the extreme heat experienced in their countries. A proposal to allow a time-limited and geographically targeted exemption until substitutes have been demonstrated was proposed and tentatively agreed to at the meeting. (See our brief on how to structure an exemption.)
Another issue raised in the past by a number of parties concerns the potential conflict between actions on HFCs taken under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and any HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol. In Geneva, there was broad agreement that the treaties were independent of each other, that they could be implemented in a way that would be complementary, and that an HFC amendment would not in any way require a prior authorizing act by the climate treaty.
A good deal of time was spent discussing issues related to funding associated with HFC controls in developing countries. While agreement exists that the Protocol’s Multilateral Fund would continue to be the primary vehicle for providing financial support for emission reduction projects, issues concerning guidelines detailing what projects would be funded were left unresolved. Among these issues is payment for licensing of intellectual property rights for patent-protected technologies to produce and use some of the substitute chemicals. (See our brief: Ten Myths About Intellectual Property Rights and the Montreal Protocol.)
Ten Myths About Intellectual Property Rights and the Montreal Protocol
By Steve Seidel and Jason Ye
This brief explores myths and facts about intellectual property rights as they are covered in the Montreal Protocol, an agreement to limit high global warming potential (GWP) gases.
We’re seeing new movement toward phasing down the fastest-growing group of greenhouse gases – hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. These chemicals are widely used in refrigerators, air conditioners, foam products, and aerosols. And while they don’t stay in the atmosphere long, they can trap 1,000 times or more heat compared to carbon dioxide.
This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new regulations demonstrating its commitment to limiting the use of HFCs domestically. It proposed changes to its significant new alternatives program (SNAP) aimed at expanding the list of acceptable alternatives that minimize impacts on global warming while also restricting the use of HFCs in sectors where alternatives are now available. EPA estimates the proposed rule could avoid up to 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030, which is equal to the energy-related emissions from about one million homes for one year.
Internationally, one sign of growing support for acting on HFCs came this month during the first visit by a U.S. president to Argentina in almost two decades. President Obama and newly elected Argentinian President Mauricio Macri explored opportunities to partner to address global challenges like climate change.
They affirmed their commitment to take action this year to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, which are substitutes for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were successfully phased out under the 1989 Montreal Protocol. The two leaders also endorsed the understandings reached at the Dubai Montreal Protocol meeting in November 2015 on financial support for developing countries to implement an HFC phasedown.
A key opportunity will come next week when Montreal Protocol negotiators meet in Geneva to build on the progress made toward reaching agreement this year on an HFC phasedown amendment.
Approaches to Structuring a High Ambient Temperature Exemption
By Steve Seidel, Jennifer Huang, and Stephen O. Andersen
As parties to the Montreal Protocol consider an amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one critical concern is whether suitable alternatives for air-conditioning applications are available and adequately demonstrated for cooling capacity and energy efficiency under conditions of high ambient temperatures. Given the critical importance of these applications, one option being considered by parties is to provide a time-limited exemption for those uses in countries that could be adversely impacted by high ambient temperatures. This paper looks at a number of options for how such an exemption might be structured.