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
October 22, 2012
Good afternoon. My name is Eileen Claussen and I'm delighted to be here at Singapore International Energy Week.
Many of you may have known my organization as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. About a year ago, we became the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions – C2ES. Our focus remains the same: finding practical solutions to address two closely related challenges -- meeting the world’s growing demand for energy while averting the worst potential consequences of climate change.
You don't need me to tell you that the impacts of global warming are already here and now.
The global temperature has been above the 20th century average for 331 months in a row. That means the last time the global temperature was below average was February 1985. That's what they mean by the "new normal."
In my country, the United States, we had the hottest July ever. We've had one of the worst wildfire seasons in history. And two-thirds of the country is still experiencing the worst drought in more than half a century.
Here in Asia, damaging droughts, floods and storms have hurt the production of rice and taken lives.
These are the kinds of weather extremes that will become more frequent and more intense with climate change, unless we act.
We know that we need to change the way we produce energy. We need more low-carbon and zero-carbon energy, such as solar and wind. And we need to use our fossil fuels more wisely, by capturing and storing the carbon they emit.
But we also need to change the way we consume energy. We can no longer afford to waste it. Energy efficiency saves money, it reduces carbon emissions, and it improves our energy security.
How do we do it? Let me draw on a recent success story in the United States – the adoption of new vehicle fuel efficiency standards. These new standards will nearly double the fuel efficiency of the average new car by 2025. This represents the single largest step ever by the U.S. government to reduce carbon emissions.
Three critical factors made it possible: consumer commitment, technological progress, and smart public policy.
First, with gasoline prices going up and up, consumers were definitely on board for greater fuel economy.
Thanks to technological advances, including hybrid-electric drivetrains and high-strength steel, the auto industry certainly is capable of producing more efficient vehicles.
As for public policy, if you combine the government’s desire for more energy security with industry's desire for regulatory certainty, you can get to common ground.
Transportation is not the only sector where we can achieve greater energy efficiency. There are huge opportunities across our economies – in buildings, manufacturing, anywhere we use energy. And in many cases, we don’t need to wait on government to achieve huge gains. The opportunities are there, and smart companies are seizing them.
We undertook a two-year study of corporate energy efficiency to identify the most effective methods to reduce energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. For our report, From Shop Floor to Top Floor: Best Business Practices in Energy Efficiency, we surveyed nearly 100 companies and conducted some very detailed case studies.
And we identified a number of keys to success. These include designating full-time staff to be accountable for energy performance; communicating about the company’s successes in reducing energy costs and emissions; and – perhaps most importantly – integrating sustainability as a core part of corporate strategic planning.
We also found that the benefits of energy efficiency go beyond dollars saved and emissions reduced. A focus on energy efficiency can drive broader innovation and a re-evaluation of business practices. The results are often improved productivity and quality.
So to conclude: Energy efficiency sits atop the list of low-carbon choices that can help transition us to a clean energy economy. But efficiency alone is hardly enough. As efficient as we become, global energy demand will continue to rise. And we will continue to meet much of that demand by burning fossil fuels.
So if we’re serious about a low-carbon transition, we need to be pushing on other fronts too. One of the most urgent priorities is putting in place the technologies needed to capture and store the carbon emissions generated by burning coal and natural gas. And that’s one area where strong policy, including carbon pricing, will be absolutely critical. But that’s a topic perhaps for another discussion.
C2ES President Eileen Claussen headlines the finall installment of a four-part breakfast series designed to facilitate constructive, informed and robust debate on energy policy.
Claussen, a critical thought leader on energy and climate issues, will share her views on climate change, energy policy and the leadership needed to find solutions for these global challenges.
The previous three breakfasts have featured keynote speakers:
Dr Fatih Birol - Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency;
Mr Zhang Guobao - Chairman of the Advisory Board of China's National Energy Committee and Deputy Chairman of the Economic Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference;
To download the slide presentation please click here.
To see the video please click here.
Dr Bryan Hannegan, Vice President, Environment and Renewables for the US-based Electric Power Research Institute;
To download the slide presentation please click here.
For information on the Energy Exchange Series click here.
When climate negotiators meet in Bangkok this week for the latest session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), they will (hopefully) begin substantive discussions under new terms better reflecting how much the world has changed since the Convention’s adoption in 1992.
Of particular relevance is the dramatic shift in the distribution of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the past two decades, as highlighted in the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency’s 2012 Trends in global CO2 emissions. A telling statistic: In 1990, industrialized countries that negotiated targets under the Kyoto Protocol (including the U.S.) accounted for 68 percent of global CO2 emissions; in 2011, the authors estimate, this share was 41 percent. Developing countries now account for well over half of annual global emissions – with China and India generating a full third.
As Rio+20 negotiators rush to complete a consolidated text of outcomes before heads of state begin arriving tomorrow, participants at hundreds of side events are calling on business and government to take stronger action on clean energy, poverty elimination, food security, oceans, sustainable cities, green technology development, education, and more.
On Sunday at the U.S. Center pavilion, C2ES and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened a panel of companies, small-business innovators, and business representatives highlighting the critical roles played by each in promoting low-carbon innovation and sustainable development.
One of the centerpieces of this month’s Rio+20 summit is an important initiative called Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All). C2ES is pleased to be contributing to this initiative as a founding member of a new global partnership aimed at improving energy efficiency and curbing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of information and communication technologies.
Led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, SE4All recognizes the dual energy challenges facing the global community. We need to rapidly expand access to affordable energy for the 1.3 billion people who now lack even basic services, but do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that doesn’t put their health at risk or threaten the climate stability of our planet.
Opportunities for low-carbon innovation are growing, driven by policy changes, market shifts, and continued growth in energy demand, particularly in developing countries. This Sunday in Rio de Janeiro, ahead of the UN’s “Rio+20” Conference on Sustainable Development, C2ES will have a chance to share what it’s learned about low-carbon innovation with partners from around the world.
With the Global Environment Facility (GEF), we will convene a panel of companies (Johnson Controls, DuPont), small-business innovators (from the Cleantech Open), and government and business representatives (from UNIDO and ABDI) to share stories and lessons from the front lines of clean-tech entrepreneurship. The event, to be held at the U.S. Center pavilion, will examine the keys to successful low-carbon innovation, and the benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, energy security, resource efficiency, and job creation.
Over the past five years, countries have been working through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to strengthen the measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. Because these issues are especially important to the United States and China, C2ES has been partnering with Tsinghua University to convene informal discussions among MRV experts from both countries.
In late 2010 with Tsinghua, we organized a workshop in Beijing on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. This initial gathering focused on MRV at the international level. Last week, we co-hosted a second workshop in Washington, D.C., on Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts.
While the issues can quickly become highly technical, it’s important to remember why stronger measurement, reporting and verification are so important: MRV contributes to stronger greenhouse gas mitigation by building confidence among countries, helps them track national and international progress, and provides opportunities to learn from one another’s experiences. In his opening remarks, Professor Teng Fei of Tsinghua University characterized MRV at the domestic level and MRV of international action as two sides of the same coin.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and Tsinghua University co-hosted a workshop Beijing in October 2010 on Reporting Practices Related to Climate Change and Other International Challenges. We are continuing this series of informal U.S.-China workshops to help strengthen mutual understanding of domestic monitoring, reporting and verification practices and challenges and to draw lessons from respective domestic experiences.
This workshop focused on domestic monitoring and evaluation of mitigation-related efforts, and on the role of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) in effective emissions markets, drawing in both areas on domestic experiences in the two countries. Links to speaker presentations (PDF) are provided below.
U.S.-China Workshop: Domestic MRV of Climate Efforts
June 4-5, 2012
Monday, June 4
- Elliot Diringer, Executive Vice President, C2ES
- Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
Energy-Related Monitoring and Verification
Accurate energy data is an essential foundation for policymaking and for tracking program implementation. This session focused on the monitoring, verification and assessment of energy data, and energy-related mitigation policies. Presentations provide overviews of China’s accountability system for its national energy intensity target, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) collection and verification of energy data, and implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
- Teng Fei, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University
Experience with the energy conservation target accountability system
- Perry Lindstrom, Industry Economist, U.S. Energy Information Administration
Overview of U.S. EIA’s energy data tracking system
- Clare Breidenich, Independent Consultant
Experience with implementation of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard
- Moderator: Kevin J. Tu, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
GHG Monitoring: Government and Industry
This session shifted to a focus on GHG monitoring and control programs involving industry. It began with an overview of the new U.S. GHG mandatory reporting rule. Presentations then focused, at a more disaggregated level, on monitoring and evaluation in the voluntary SF6 emission reduction program in the United States, and the Chinese cement sector’s experience in developing climate mitigation-relevant MRV systems.
- Kong Chiu, Senior Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
- Sally Rand, SF6 Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Voluntary industrial partnership programs: SF6 and Electric Power
- Wang Lan, Professor, China Building Materials Academy
Developing MRV guidelines for the Chinese cement sector
- Moderator: Tim Juliani, Director of Corporate Engagement, C2ES
Role of MRV in Effective Emissions Trading Programs
The use of market mechanisms for pollution control has a well-established history in the United States and is being actively pursued in China. This session focused on the design and implementation of monitoring, reporting and verification elements within pollution trading mechanisms, starting with lessons learned from emission trading programs for sulfur dioxide (SO2) in both the U.S. and China, and how these lessons apply to the monitoring, reporting and verification of GHGs and carbon dioxide (CO2).
- Janet Peace, Vice President for Markets and Business Strategy, C2ES
Design elements of an effective emission trading monitoring, reporting and verification system
- Jeremy Schreifels, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Emission monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) for U.S. cap and trade programs
- Wu Jian, Deputy Dean and Associate Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China
Lessons from Chinese programs: SO2 emission trading pilot programs and lessons for CO2 MRV
- Jeffrey Hopkins, Economic and Environmental Policy Adviser, Rio Tinto
An industry perspective: emissions monitoring and participation in market-based compliance systems
- Moderator: Maurice LeFranc, Senior Adviser, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tuesday, June 5
MRV in GHG Markets at the Sub-National Level
In both the United States and China, the use of market mechanisms for controlling CO2 and GHG emissions has moved forward at the state and regional levels. This session explored the establishment of monitoring, reporting and verification systems for GHG emissions trading at the sub-national level, focusing on the experiences of state and regional governments in the United States, and the pilot emissions trading programs currently being developed in seven Chinese provinces and cities.
- David Farnsworth, Senior Associate, Regulatory Assistance Project
Perspective from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (North-East U.S. States)
- Wang Yu, Assistant Professor, Tsinghua University
Status of China’s regional trading programs
- Michael Gillenwater, Executive Director and Dean, Greenhouse Gas Management Institute
Perspective from California
- Moderator: Anthony Mansell, U.S. Policy Adviser, International Emissions Trading Association
- Joanna Lewis, Assistant Professor, Georgetown University
- Xueman Wang, Team Leader, World Bank Partnership for Market Readiness