4 Growing Threats to Europe’s Forests: Logging, Bioenergy, Wildfires and Pests

3 días 10 horas ago
4 Growing Threats to Europe’s Forests: Logging, Bioenergy, Wildfires and Pests ciara.regan@wri.org Tue, 06/18/2024 - 14:33

Europe’s forests face increasing pressures.

Impacts include fewer tall forests, climate change-induced wildfires, insect outbreaks, and, most recently, increased wood harvesting to meet additional demand for “home-grown” biomass in response to the Ukraine war and changing energy demands.

Against this backdrop, the EU’s new Nature Restoration Law will introduce critical safeguards to protect remaining old-growth forests, set aside additional forests for restoration, and improve the biodiversity of forests managed for wood production. But to truly prevent further decline in the quality of Europe's forests, additional action and closer monitoring are also needed.

Here, we look at the latest data, including that from University of Maryland’s GLAD lab and available on WRI’s Global Forest Watch platform, to investigate European forest changes.

1) The Area of Tall Nordic Forests Is Declining.

Over the past two decades, the extent of Europe’s tall forests (forests with trees taller than 15 meters) declined by 2.25 million hectares, an area half the size of Denmark. The Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) saw the biggest declines, losing 3.5% of its total forests and 20% of its tall forests over the last two decades.

Log rafts in Notodenn, Norway. The vast majority of tree cover loss in recent years in Europe can be attributed to human causes like logging. Photo by Rick Strange/Alamy

Tall forests are critical for storing carbon and hosting biodiversity. When an area of tall forest is logged or burnt down, it will often regain tree cover from replanting or natural regeneration. However, the new trees can take decades to grow to the point where they provide the equivalent climate and ecosystem benefits of a mature forest. Ecosystem benefits may never be recovered in cases where only one or two species are planted in place of mature stands with a natural diversity of species.

In Europe, over 80% of tree cover losses between 1986 and 2016 were human-induced, such as harvesting for timber. This proportion is even higher in Northern and Eastern Europe. Disturbance rates remained high in recent years, with Finland and Sweden, Europe’s most-forested countries, losing 1.1% of their tree cover in 2023 (based on the forest extent in 2000). This is higher than the EU average of 0.85%.

2) Using Wood for Energy Is Impacting the EU’s Forests.

Around half of the wood produced in the EU is used for energy, and many countries have been rapidly increasing their use of biomass energy. 

For example, Hungary saw a large increase in tree cover in recent decades, suggesting a ready supply of timber for energy. In 2023, Hungary experienced the highest amount of annual tree cover loss since our records began — a 33% surge from 2022, during which time Hungary’s bioenergy production also increased. Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the EU’s move to significantly reduce the use of Russian gas, Hungary’s government relaxed regulations on wood harvesting, including for domestic energy provision, which may further fuel wood removals.

While Hungary oversees its own forests, it will soon take a lead in forest and other environmental policies in the EU writ large, as the country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2024. Its leaders will influence the agenda-setting of various Ministerial Council meetings, including those on the environment, agriculture, forestry and climate. While Hungary opposed the EU Nature Restoration Law, the country will have a central role in shaping future environmental policies. For example, the EU Forest Monitoring Framework, which was proposed by the European Commission in November 2023 and aims to ensure timely information on the health and management of EU forests, is a critical directive slated for consideration in the second half of 2024.

3) Fires Exacerbated by Climate Change Continue to Impact Southern Europe’s Forests.

2023 was a record-breaking year for wildfires in Greece. Fires driven by extreme summer heatwaves accounted for 85% of the tree cover loss in 2023 — the highest proportion of fire-related tree cover loss in the EU. Spain and Portugal had the next highest proportion of loss due to fires in 2023, at 26% and 20%, respectively.

A wildfire rages over the picturesque landscape of southern Spain. Increasing wildfires are nothing new for southern Europe, exacerbated by climate change, heatwaves and more. Cavan Images/Alamy

And last year was not a blip; wildfires have been an ongoing trend in southern Europe in recent years. Climate change, heatwaves and drought, coupled with large plantations of highly flammable non-native species such as Eucalyptus, create ideal conditions for record-breaking fires.

Fires are less prevalent outside of southern Europe, with only 6% of all tree cover loss in the EU due to fires in a relatively wet 2023.

4) Insect Disturbances Are Increasing Due to the Dominance of Spruce Trees and Climate Change.

Europe’s forests have been increasingly affected by insect outbreaks, due to global warming and poor forest management practices. Germany has been particularly impacted, where large areas of planted spruce trees growing in drier, warmer conditions are increasingly vulnerable to bark beetle infestations. Such infestations weaken and kill growing numbers of trees.

For example, timber harvesting rates in Germany reportedly decreased by 10% from 2022 to 2023, but satellite data shows a 42% increase in tree cover loss within the same period, suggesting the loss was not related to harvesting. In the state of Thüringen, which lost the most tree cover in Germany from 2022 to 2023, high rates of insect disturbances in spruce were reported.

New EU Laws Must Lead to Better Managed Forests

Europe’s forests face mounting threats, but if implemented and designed well, emerging regulations could improve the situation within a decade.

Logging trucks remove timber in Estonia's forest. This new framework would require EU member states to be more transparent with regard to their forests and commodities. Photo by Karl Ander Adami/Alamy

For example, the EU’s new Nature Restoration Law aims to improve the protection and restoration of the region’s forests by increasing carbon stocks and the age and diversity of tree species. The proposed Forest Monitoring Framework would require EU Member States to provide detailed, robust and timely information on the condition and health of their forests, as well as long-term plans for forest maintenance. And the EU Deforestation Regulation, which will come into effect on December 30, 2024, states that wood supplied from within the EU should not lead to forest degradation. 

These regulations are essential, enabling the EU to preserve what’s left of its mature and most valuable forests for climate and nature, while still supplying timber and energy for people.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on 6/14/24 but was updated on 6/18/24 to reflect the passage of  the EU's Nature Restoration Law.

bavaria.jpg Forests Forests deforestation fires Type Finding Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Authors Sarah Carter
ciara.regan@wri.org

STATEMENT: EU Votes in Favor of Landmark Nature Restoration Law

4 días 15 horas ago
STATEMENT: EU Votes in Favor of Landmark Nature Restoration Law alison.cinnamo… Mon, 06/17/2024 - 09:55

THE HAGUE (June 17, 2024) — Today, a qualified majority of the European Union Environmental Council voted in favor of the Nature Restoration Law, thereby giving the final green light to the first law of its kind in the EU – to protect and restore Europe’s forests, land, coastlines, lakes, ocean and overall biodiversity. The Nature Restoration Law aims at rehabilitating at least 20% of the European Union's land and sea areas by 2030 and all degraded ecosystems by 2050. An earlier agreement almost a year ago between the European Parliament and the Council failed to pass a final vote in March 2024.

The need to protect EU’s nature and forests better is underscored by WRI’s recent analysis of four growing threats to Europe’s forests. The harvesting of tall forests, climate change-induced wildfires, insect outbreaks, and, most recently, increased wood harvesting for “home-grown” biomass in response to the Ukraine-related energy crisis, are deteriorating forest health in the EU.

Following is a statement from Janneke de Vries, Director EU Partnerships of World Resources Institute (WRI):

“Today marks a pivotal victory for Europe’s people, nature and climate alike. We now have a law in place to protect the environment, to underpin healthy ecosystems for our food security, to safeguard clean water, preserve our health and to protect us against extreme weather. 

“Following four years of divisive political debate, the law’s passage will establish ambitious climate and biodiversity targets and position the EU as a global leader on climate issues. We must now follow up with rapid action.  Much of Europe is facing biodiversity collapse and the EU must ensure it meets international commitments, including those made at the Biodiversity COP15.”
 

Forest and Landscape Restoration Europe land use Freshwater food security Ocean climate change biodiversity Type Statement Exclude From Blog Feed? 0
alison.cinnamond@wri.org

High Quality Carbon Removal Requires Credible and Consistent MRV — Government Oversight Can Help

1 semana 1 día ago
High Quality Carbon Removal Requires Credible and Consistent MRV — Government Oversight Can Help shannon.paton@… Thu, 06/13/2024 - 16:32

Climate scientists have made it clear that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be needed — alongside deep emissions reductions — to meet our national and global climate goals. In response to this consensus, originally put forward more than 5 years ago by the most authoritative body on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and re-confirmed many times since, the United States government has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in developing and deploying new types of carbon dioxide removal. This “novel CDR” includes technologies and approaches such as direct air capture and carbon mineralization.

While these new CDR approaches and technologies are being developed, researchers, scientists and project developers are devising ways to measure and assess how effective they are at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is the first step in a process known as measurement, reporting and verification, or MRV. MRV can be applied to many different types of climate action to track impact. For example, MRV can be used to conduct a corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, track the GHG impact of a mitigation policy or quantify the emissions associated with a product.

Type of MRVObjective of MRVNationalQuantify GHG emissions and removals for a national GHG inventory; based on guidance from IPCCPolicyQuantify the GHG impact of certain policiesOrganizationQuantify entity or organizational level emissions for reporting under emissions trading schemes or to report for corporate/ organizational GHG inventoriesProjectQuantify GHG reductions or carbon removed associated with a specific project.

For carbon removal, MRV is needed in the near-term to provide transparency and accountability around removal claims. In the long-term, MRV will be crucial to incorporate novel CDR into national inventories so that it can count towards countries’ climate goals, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

As U.S. policy supporting CDR increases in scale and scope in coming years, consistent and credible MRV standards and protocols will be needed to hold project developers accountable to their claims and to codify expectations in terms of quality for CDR supported by policy. MRV standards will be important to direct taxpayers’ dollars to the most effective CDR projects to maximize the climate benefit of these investments.

What Is MRV for Carbon Removal?

Beyond quantifying and measuring the removal, MRV for CDR also includes reporting this information, and verifying its accuracy. MRV can take different forms depending on what it’s being used for; it should be fit-for-purpose for different applications. In other words, the way it is designed should reflect the type of activity it addresses and the intended outcomes of a project or policy.

Source: Based on IGES 2013.

For CDR approaches, the “M” in MRV stands for measurement of carbon removed. Measurement of the amount of net carbon removed from the application of a CDR approach involves lifecycle carbon accounting that measures emissions from all stages of that technology’s production, use and disposal, as well as the gross removal to determine the net-negativity of the whole process.

The “M” is also understood to stand for monitoring, which is often used interchangeably or in combination with ‘measurement.’ What was initially measured needs to be monitored over time to ensure that sequestered carbon is not released back into the atmosphere.

Reporting is the administrative aspect of the MRV process. The data compiled in the measurement stage is shared with third parties, regulators, other relevant authorities and/or the public. What, how and when data is reported is purpose- and project-specific. Reporting data is integral to the MRV process, as it makes this data available for assessment and can help create accountability for project developers.

The measured and reported data is then verified to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Verification is crucial to detect errors in the reporting or measurement, including potentially fraudulent reporting. For carbon removal, verification is commonly carried out by accredited third parties. These can include certified validation and verification bodies which are accredited by a standards body such as the International Standards Organization.

Why Is MRV Important for CDR?

Novel CDR will ultimately be needed to help achieve national and global climate goals. However, today, most novel CDR approaches and technologies are in early development or demonstration. As such, high-quality project-level and technology-level MRV is needed to assess efficacy and enable credibility and transparency around claims that certain amounts of carbon have been removed by certain projects or technologies.

MRV Standards: Standards provide the overarching set of rules, guidelines and procedures to determine a minimum level of quality and rigor. A quantification standard for carbon removal details how project developers measure and monitor carbon removal and other potential controls. It may include a set of protocols, each applying to a more specific type of project. For projects to be certified under the standard, project developers must follow the rules and requirements of the corresponding protocol, and the overarching standard.

MRV Protocols: Protocols refer to a set of rules tied to how a project carries out the measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification for a specific CDR approach or project type. They detail what physical processes are to be measured and how, as well as how the carbon accounting for a specific method is to be carried out. Project developers generally develop protocols for their project type and submit these for approval by a standard-setting organization. The term “methodology” is often used interchangeably with protocol.

Consistency across MRV standards and protocols is critical to providing this credibility. Without consistency, removal from the same type of project can be measured in different ways, creating confusion for buyers of carbon removal credits and undermining trust. Inconsistency also makes it hard to accurately account for the climate benefits of different CDR projects.

Virtually all carbon removal credits being bought and sold today are on the voluntary carbon market through voluntary purchases by buyers and sellers, often to meet corporate climate commitments. However, overall, the voluntary carbon market includes mostly emissions reduction and avoidance credits; carbon removal credits are only a small portion of the total today. Reduction and avoidance credits generally face more challenges associated with establishing additionality and avoiding leakage than projects using novel CDR approaches.

In the past few years, there has already been a proliferation of standards and protocols for carbon removal credits. Several organizations have launched efforts to create quality standards across carbon credits, but more oversight will likely be needed to create consistency and build trust.

As government policy for CDR increases in scale and scope, there is a risk that this lack of consistency around MRV for CDR spills over into policy as well. For example, if different policies supporting CDR point to different rules for MRV, that would cause similar confusion for CDR suppliers, who would need to meet multiple standards.

The European Union’s Carbon Removal Certification Framework aims to bring this type of oversight to credits traded in Europe, but the United States currently lacks such a mechanism. The European Union’s framework could provide some lessons learned on what role governments can play in creating a credible and consistent MRV ecosystem for carbon removal.

What Is the Role of MRV in Federal Policy Supporting CDR?

Carbon removal approaches have received growing policy support in the United States over the last several years. The U.S. government has provided historic levels of funding for research, development and demonstration of novel carbon removal approaches through the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, and ongoing annual budget appropriations. Policies and programs launched or enhanced in recent years include the 45Q tax credit, the CDR Purchase Pilot Prize, the Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program and the Carbon Negative Shot Pilots.

All of these policies include MRV components, as they generally involve the quantification of tons removed. However, the MRV provisions across these policies are not consistent or harmonized. This is in line with the overall lack of standardized MRV rules for CDR quantification across the CDR industry, which is somewhat to be expected in a nascent industry but is also a result of the U.S. prioritizing investment in technology development before developing and adopting rules for quantification and reporting, as the EU has done.

As policy support for CDR grows, there’s a need for more consistency across MRV standards and consensus around the rules for how different CDR approaches quantify how much carbon is removed. Along these lines, there is an important opportunity for a federal MRV function to create oversight and set quality standards for federally supported CDR, with the goal of avoiding a replication of proliferation and inconsistencies among standards that are already occurring within the voluntary carbon market.

The operation of such a function could take different forms that would imply different levels of effort from the federal government. While government agencies would not have the internal capacity to track and verify removal claims from every CDR project, the federal government can play a critical role in creating a high accountability ecosystem where project developers and third-party verifiers are required to adhere to best practices for measuring carbon removal and environmental and social impact, monitor sequestered carbon to ensure permanence, and report methods and impacts transparently.

What Would a Federal MRV Function Ideally Do to Build a Robust MRV Ecosystem?

In a new WRI working paper examining the topic of MRV for CDR in federal policy, we propose seven criteria for consideration within a federal MRV function.

Build on existing efforts

 

Build on existing expertise and efforts in the private sector, academia and within the government to avoid duplication of efforts. A first step could involve a landscape assessment and stakeholder mapping of existing efforts by CDR approach (within and outside of the federal government) with identification of gaps, inconsistencies and pain points.Designate rolesThe government should determine roles and responsibilities within a federal MRV function, including delegating crucial functions that are outside of their capacities. For instance, federal government agencies could set standards while delegating the development of methodologies and protocols as well as ongoing verification to other approved organizations.Manage incentivesIt will be necessary to determine an appropriate compensation framework for those designing and verifying MRV methodologies and protocols management to avoid over-crediting and fraud.

Set standards with the best available science

 

The federal government can create oversight by setting standards for CDR MRV with the best available science. At minimum, standards should address thorough and transparent lifecycle carbon and greenhouse gas accounting, ongoing monitoring and assessment of community and environmental impacts, which could also help raise quality standards for the voluntary carbon market and increase buyer confidence in these markets.Centralize data and transparencyPublicly and transparently reporting the outcomes of CDR projects is key to building trust in CDR and holding companies accountable for backing their claims. In the near term, this entails providing public information on projects including reported levels of carbon removed and ongoing monitoring. In the longer term, once inventory guidance is developed to incorporate CDR into the national inventory, this centralized data function can help serve that purpose as well.Set an appropriate threshold for uncertaintyPolicies designed to support carbon removal on a per-ton basis will need to set guidelines for acceptable levels of uncertainty related to the number of tons removed, and ways to address the uncertainty that remains within that threshold. In the context of a ton-based policy support, uncertainty tolerance will differ depending on the CDR approach and how the removal is being used.

Address non-carbon impacts

 

Carbon removal projects must not only remove carbon but also minimize negative impacts on the environment and people to be sustainable and scalable. As such, MRV frameworks should address non-carbon impacts, including impacts on air and water quality.

The sixth consideration — setting an appropriate threshold for uncertainty — is particularly important since novel CDR approaches vary in terms of how easily the carbon removed can be measured and the level of reversal risk that the sequestered carbon could be re-released. For approaches where there is greater uncertainty around measurement or greater risk of reversal, MRV will require more effort and cost. Different uses of CDR credits may require different levels of confidence around accuracy of MRV. As such, thresholds for uncertainty will likely depend on the type of CDR approach and how the tons of removal are used (e.g., for compensatory claims or not). Such thresholds would also help companies decide how to allocate resources for MRV, particularly when it could be very expensive to lower uncertainty past a certain level. Any remaining quantification uncertainty — at least for approaches where the level of uncertainty can be quantified with some level of confidence — can be addressed through uncertainty management mechanisms such as uncertainty discounts, insurance or buffer pools.

Looking Ahead, the Time is Right for a Federal MRV Function

The carbon removal industry has grown tremendously in the past several years and with this rapid growth has come simultaneous efforts to develop the rules governing this scale up. As the U.S. government plays an increasing role in supporting a range of different novel CDR approaches, it is an opportune time to provide oversight and quality standards for the CDR supported by federal policy. Such an intervention would also bring some order to CDR credits sold elsewhere, adding credibility to the industry as a whole.

wyoming.jpg Climate Climate National Climate Action carbon removal Type Technical Perspective Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Katie Lebling Danielle Riedl Haley Leslie-Bole
shannon.paton@wri.org

Navigating the EV Transition: 4 Emerging Impacts on Auto Manufacturing Jobs

1 semana 1 día ago
Navigating the EV Transition: 4 Emerging Impacts on Auto Manufacturing Jobs alicia.cypress… Thu, 06/13/2024 - 09:50

As momentum for electric vehicles accelerates in the U.S., a skilled and trained auto manufacturing workforce will be necessary for a successful transition.

Policies like the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law have helped deliver more than $154 billion in investments into building electric vehicles and components. By 2035, EVs could potentially account for 71% of U.S. car sales; and are expected to increase to 80% to 100% by 2050. But there are many unknowns about how this transition will impact U.S. auto manufacturing workers.

Nearly 900,000 workers are responsible for manufacturing large auto parts or systems and assembling final internal combustion engine vehicles at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 suppliers, according to data analyzed from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These vehicles are powered by burning gasoline as opposed to EVs, which rely on electric motors and battery packs instead of internal combustion engines and components like fueling and exhaust systems. As components within powertrain systems are expected to be the source of the greatest manufacturing differences between the two types of vehicles, it’s expected that there will be significant implications for these workers.

Key Differences Between Internal Combustion Engine and Electric Vehicles

FunctionDescription

Internal Combustion

Engine Vehicles

Electric VehiclesPropulsionEngine or electric motor that powers the vehicle.Internal combustion engineElectric motorTransmissionMechanical system of gears that transmits power to the wheels.5-10 speed transmission typical1-2 speed transmission typicalFuel/Energy StorageComponents that store the energy source used to power vehicle.Gasoline/diesel fuel tankBattery packFueling/Power Supply systemComponents that refuel or recharge the vehicle.Gasoline/diesel fuel filler, fuel injection system, fuel line and fuel pumpOn-board charger and charge portThermal Control/Cooling SystemRegulates operating temperature for engine or electric motor and other vehicle components like the battery.Typically, single mechanical water pump, radiator and fanMultiple electrical water pumps, radiator and fanVehicle ElectronicsComponents that control electrical systems or subsystems in the vehicle.Electronic control modulePower electronics components (including converters and inverters, high voltage wiring, and power electronics controller)

Source: WRI and BW Partnership Authors

Many questions among the auto workforce are therefore emerging:

  • What types of occupations are expected to see disruptions?
  • Which new occupations will EVs and their associated components or technologies require?
  • How will training requirements be updated to ensure that manufacturing workers gain new skills?
  • Where will in-demand jobs in the EV supply chain be located: in legacy auto manufacturing communities or in burgeoning centers of automotive innovation, like the Battery Belt?

Here are four ways the EV transition will impact demand for manufacturing skills and labor, including job quality considerations such as fair wages, safe work environments and work-life balance. These insights can help shape the policies and strategies that drive a domestic EV supply chain, while ensuring that auto manufacturing communities — both legacy and new — see the creation of high-quality, community-sustaining jobs.

1) Key Manufacturing Differences Will Transform Many Auto Industry Jobs

Supply chain jobs that are linked to parts only relevant to internal combustion engine vehicles such as engines and fuel injection systems, may have the greatest risk of displacement as more EVs are produced. Of the more than 886,000 workers at OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers — firms that manufacture large parts or systems and assemble final vehicles — close to 58,000 workers focused on gasoline engines and engine parts manufacturing are likely to experience the most severe employment impacts. Fifty-seven percent of those workers are located in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.

On the other hand, Tier 1 firms that manufacture non-powertrain components (like steering, suspension, and other interior components) that are common across all kinds of vehicles may experience low or no impacts.

In between, there are some suppliers who are likely to witness medium disruption and will need to readjust their workforce. For instance, the shift towards electrification will significantly impact machine tool manufacturers. EVs require fewer as well as different powertrain components, which in turn require different machine tools for manufacturing those components.

The Biden Administration has already announced $15.5 billion in investments dedicated to retooling manufacturing facilities, with an emphasis for creating good quality jobs and supporting facilities with strong ties to auto manufacturing.

Auto Manufacturing Employment Disruption Risks During the Transition to Electric VehiclesNAICS Industry Code

Motor Vehicle 

Manufacturing

 Segment

Employment

Q3, 2023

Disruption RiskExplanation of Risk336310Gasoline Engine and Engine Parts57,770HighManufactures components used only in internal combustion engine vehicles.336110Automobile and Light Duty Motor Vehicle Manufacturing260,975MediumAssembly process differences may cause some disruption.336390Other Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing154,855MediumDifferences in miscellaneous components (air bags, air conditioning units, cooling systems, etc.) may cause some disruption.336350Transmission and Power Train Parts82,324MediumSingle-gear transmissions used in EVs instead of multi-gear transmissions may cause some disruption.336320Motor Vehicle Electrical and Electronic Equipment63,646MediumIncreasingly complex electronics in EVs (self-driving systems, battery management systems, etc.) may cause some disruption.336340Motor Vehicle Brake System21,399MediumRegenerative braking systems used in EVs instead of disc braking systems may cause some disruption.336370Metal Stamping86,049

Low or 

No Risk

There’s little difference in these manufacturing processes used to create automotive components such as fenders and hubcaps.336360Seating and Interior Trim74,993

Low or 

No Risk

There’s little difference in seating (for example, seat frames and belts) and interior trim components.336211Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing49,351

Low or 

No Risk

There’s little difference in body manufacturing processes.336330Steering and Suspension Components (except Spring)35,106

Low or 

No Risk

There’s little difference in steering and suspension components.Total 886,468  

Note: NAICS refers to the North American Industry Classification System. Source: Data based on 2023 Q3 employment data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and author evaluation. Disruption Risk based on BW Research and WRI authors’ evaluation.

Job disruptions at Tier 2 and Tier 3 firms that are further down the supply chain (for instance, tire manufacturing or paint and coating manufacturing), are also likely to be limited or not see any impacts at all, as many of these parts may be agnostic to how the vehicle is powered. These companies are also more likely to supply other industries beyond the automotive industry. This could vary across different firms depending on how heavily their production is tied to vehicle parts.

As the market for internal combustion engine vehicle components — from gas tanks to fuel injectors — shrinks, suppliers of those parts will have to choose how to embrace the EV transition and adapt their workforce to new product lines. Small-to-medium sized businesses with lower profit margins could find it more difficult to convert their production lines for the EV industry or diversify to other sectors than larger companies. Furthermore, uncertainty about how quickly the growing market for EV parts will overtake internal combustion engine components can cause businesses to be unsure about any workforce changes they will need to make. Recent trends also point towards other considerations. For example, how will hybrid vehicles fit into this new vehicle market? Regardless, workers who are transferred to new products will require retraining.

Meanwhile, EVs are likely to generate growing demand for jobs related to the design and development of various EV models, manufacturing of batteries to power them and charging stations to keep them running on the road. As software and power electronics use increases in vehicles, occupations in computer and engineering fields will play a pivotal role in their design and development.

Similarly, the opening of new battery manufacturing facilities will generate significant new jobs. The BLS estimates employment in this industry and other industries associated with vehicle electrical equipment manufacturing to increase by 17% between 2021 and 2031, making it one of the fastest growing manufacturing industries. Currently, the battery manufacturing industry employs 52,500 workers, according to the BLS.  An analysis by WRI and BW Research Partnership estimate that 13,400 of these workers are involved in the manufacturing of vehicle-related batteries, based on Motor and Equipment Association’s  assumption that 27% of employment in the battery manufacturing industry is related to the vehicle supply chain. Employment in battery manufacturing is poised to increase significantly due to the investments taking place in battery component, cell and pack manufacturing.

Scaling up battery manufacturing will require more engineers who can design and test batteries as well as more assemblers, technicians and other production workers to operate machines and transport materials safely. A recent employer-focused battery industry workforce needs assessment conducted by the Center for Automotive Research highlights that employers expect hiring to increase by more than 20% by 2026 with roles like engineering, technician, and manufacturer/assembler in high demand.

Furthermore, a 2022 study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University finds that the labor intensity of manufacturing EV powertrains may be greater than internal combustion engine vehicle powertrains once accounting for battery manufacturing. There is also growing recognition that assembly-related labor hours for EVs are greater than for internal combustion engine vehicles.

Two DaimlerChrysler autoworkers at a production plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Workers who will be impacted the most by the EV transition are likely to be those focused on components like engines, rather than the body of the car. Photo by dpa Picture Alliance / Alamy Stock Photo. 2) The EV Transition Will Increasingly Require New Digital, Advanced Manufacturing and Specialized Skills

The transition to EVs will shift the auto industry from a completely mechanical production process to an electrochemical production process. These technical demands mean that workers with technical and digital skills will be increasingly needed to interact with human-machine interfaces, analyze and manage data, and utilize specialized knowledge of vehicle technologies and systems thinking. Chemical skills and safety-focused skills including the ability to handle hazardous EV components or parts are some other noticeable gaps.

More specifically, some prominent skill gaps that downstream employers (for example, cell and pack manufacturing, vehicle applications like assembly or disassembly, and battery recycling) are concerned with include chemical engineering and materials science, battery chemistry and competency with battery management software systems. Other closely related skills including testing and quality control, managing automated tools and data analysis for process control will also be in high demand.

Workers’ perspectives also point toward the need for different training considerations. Another Carnegie Mellon University study, which interviewed production workers and technicians across different U.S. auto firms, shows that while there are overlaps in the range of skills required for both EV and internal combustion engine vehicle operators and technicians, production practices used by EV manufacturers may increase the demand for select skills like complex problem solving and safe chemical handling. Cross-cutting skills and precision and engineering skills associated with electronics and electrical components are other emerging requirements that are likely to increase.

3) Artificial Intelligence and Vertical Integration Will Likely Impact Workers and Their Needed Training  

Increasing use of artificial intelligence in the automotive supply chain and vertical integration are already contributing to workforce disruption and are likely to become a larger issue in the EV transition.

Robots and machines are already on the factory floor around the world, with most automotive factories leveraging some degree of automation at nearly every stage of vehicle production. Now AI is poised to play a bigger role throughout the automotive value chain as the industry transitions to EVs. Within automotive manufacturing itself, automakers are beginning to use AI to streamline the research and development process for new vehicles, minimize design and development time, and identify and correct flaws during the manufacturing of the vehicles. For EVs, AI is being used to predict battery maintenance and project its lifespan. This will help drivers know when they need to replace the battery while also enabling car manufacturers to improve research and development.

The automotive industry will increasingly need workers with AI skills, machine learning and data analysis, and will be competing with other industries such as software and semiconductor for talent. AI technologies could also increase automation and replacement of certain jobs.  

Automakers are also vertically integrating by moving battery and other components like motors in-house in order to have more supply chain control and retain intellectual property. This is an outcome from the many supply-chain disruptions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, a materials shortage and weather disruptions. It’s also in contrast to decades of practice where automakers handed control over vehicle development and production to different suppliers who would produce everything from steering controls to semiconductors and electronic components for multiple vehicle manufacturers.

Tesla for example, has adopted an approach of sourcing raw materials directly, building its own batteries and engineering its own software. As other automakers follow Tesla, they will need to significantly build capabilities and in-house expertise in battery technologies, inverters and electric powertrains.

At the same time, vertical integration can potentially lead to less business for automotive suppliers.

All these trends interact with one another and cannot be looked at in isolation. More importantly, all of them have workforce implications and any subsequent recommendations should account for their impact on workers and their needed training.

4) Job Quality and Fair Compensation Are Key to Ensuring an Equitable and Just EV Transition

With more EV manufacturing poised to take place in the U.S., supercharged by policies like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, there are concerns about job quality and union negotiating power.

Jobs in the automotive industry were once a ticket to the middle class, with high pay and good benefits. However, in the last few decades, U.S. auto workers have witnessed a significant decline in wages, working conditions and union bargaining power. This has been accompanied by foreign-owned automotive companies setting up manufacturing plants in Southern states to take advantage of cheaper, non-union labor.

Between 2001 and 2022, Michigan saw a 43% drop in both motor vehicle parts manufacturing and motor vehicles manufacturing employment. During the same time, employment in these two industries in Alabama increased by almost 3 times, while in Kentucky, employment levels fell by 28% between 2001 and 2011, until increasing again by 59% in 2022. In 2022, these two non-union states accounted for 12% of motor vehicle and vehicle parts manufacturing employment in the country.

The switch to EVs is reinforcing these regional patterns.

Approximately, 50% ($85.6 billion) of announced private EV investments has happened in just five Southern states  — Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky — which are also what’s known as right-to-work states, making it harder for workers to form unions and collectively bargain for better pay and working conditions.

Automakers are also increasingly turning to joint ventures and partnerships, especially with South Korean companies for battery production, which raise additional questions about long-term job quality and the process of union negotiation in those plants. In 2022, when the EV battery joint venture facility between GM and South Korean LG Energy Solutions opened in Lordstown, Ohio, the starting hourly wage for workers was $15.50, which was roughly half the top pay of a GM assembly worker.

The United Auto Workers (UAW) contract negotiations that reached agreement in the fall of 2023 between the union and the Big Three automakers —GM, Ford and Stellantis — highlight that reversing the negative trajectory is achievable. All three contracts include a 25% wage increase over 4.5 years of the contract, the reinstatement of cost-of-living allowance and a shortening of the number of years it takes for employees to move to a higher pay grade.

Joint-venture battery cell production facilities, which will be necessary for EV production, were a central focus of negotiations given union concerns about job quality in these plants. While agreements among GM, Ford and Stellantis varied on coverage, all three agreements provide guidance on worker transitions. For example, the GM agreement accounts for worker displacement caused by the transition, allowing GM powertrain and parts workers in at-risk positions to transition to EV-related positions, crucially at the same wage and benefit rates they maintained at their existing facility.

Members of the United Auto Workers rally in Detroit, Michigan in September 2023. The transition to EVs is inevitable, but union negotiations are helping to ensure standards of work-life balance, fair wages and safe work environments are maintained. Photo by Jim West/Alamy Stock Photo.

Since then, more automakers outside of the Big Three have announced raises for their workers. Union campaigns are also currently underway at Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai factories in Alabama, while Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant recently voted to become the first non-Big Three automotive assembly plant in the South to unionize.

The EV transition underscores that good climate policies will not necessarily align with good labor policies unless a concerted effort is made to ensure that workers and unions have a seat at the table. UAW’s ability to organize non-union and foreign automakers like Tesla and Toyota, especially in Southern states, can potentially improve job quality for a broader group of autoworkers while also ensuring a level-playing field for GM, Ford and Stellantis.

A Skilled Workforce Is Necessary for the EV Transition

A successful EV future in the U.S. will require the availability of a skilled workforce that capitalizes on existing skills as well as bolsters workers with new skills.

The EV transition is a tremendous opportunity to improve the prospects for workers and local economies across the country. It will require comprehensive planning and coordination that includes everything from upskilling programs and apprenticeships to internships, university and community college partnerships and better outreach to younger generations. Many stakeholders — including employers, trainers, workforce program designers and community-based organizations supporting workers and learners — will need to coordinate to avoid duplicating efforts, identify and address gaps, and leverage lessons learned from comparable workforce growth in other sectors.

In the coming months, WRI will continue its research into the EV transition and its impact on workers, including which new occupations and their associated components will be required, whether existing auto workers will be able to transfer their skills to EV manufacturing, and the implications for developing workforce education and training programs.

auto-manufacturer-workers-ev-transition.jpg U.S. Climate United States U.S. Climate Policy-Electric Vehicles electric mobility U.S. Climate Policy-Equity transportation Clean Energy Type Finding Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Devashree Saha Rajat Shrestha Nate Hunt Evan Kim
alicia.cypress@wri.org

STATEMENT: Limited Progress at Bonn Climate Talks on New Climate Finance Goal

1 semana 1 día ago
STATEMENT: Limited Progress at Bonn Climate Talks on New Climate Finance Goal casey.skeens@wri.org Thu, 06/13/2024 - 06:00

Bonn, Germany (June 13, 2024) – The UN climate negotiations in Bonn conclude today with countries remaining largely divided on the shape and scale of the new climate finance goal, which is set to dominate the agenda at the COP29 summit in Baku, Azerbaijan. The pressure is now on for leaders to drive more decisive progress leading up to the annual climate summit this November.

Following is a statement from Gaia Larsen, Director of Climate Finance Access, World Resources Institute:

“Delegates in Bonn made some good headway cutting down the negotiating text for the new climate finance goal, but all that wordsmithing did little to build consensus around the most contentious issues. While at times negotiators showed a willingness to work toward landing zones, they mostly continued to reiterate opposing views on the big-ticket items like who pays, how much money the goal aims for and what’s the right balance of different types of financing.

“The sheer number of unresolved issues currently sets us up for a fraught two weeks in Baku. We urge countries to use every opportunity in the months ahead of COP29 to lay the ground for an ambitious yet realistic new climate finance goal that responds to the needs of developing countries.  

“The recent floods in Brazil and Kenya and deadly heat waves in India showcase how the agreements reached in UN climate talks can have direct consequences on people’s lives and livelihoods. A strong outcome in Baku will provide vital funding to help vulnerable countries better prepare for increasingly severe weather events, as well as empower countries that need international financing for their transitions to adopt much bolder national climate commitments next year. In the months ahead, climate negotiators must set aside their differences and work together to help deliver the finance needed for a brighter future for people and planet.” 

International Climate Action Finance climate finance international climate policy Type Statement Exclude From Blog Feed? 0
casey.skeens@wri.org

Unpacking the EU Deforestation Regulation’s Legal Production Requirement

1 semana 4 días ago
Unpacking the EU Deforestation Regulation’s Legal Production Requirement shannon.paton@… Mon, 06/10/2024 - 09:00

The EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which entered into force in June 2023, marks a step-change in demand-side efforts to reduce deforestation by requiring that commodities placed on, or exported from, the EU market are deforestation-free. While much attention has been given to the EUDR’s deforestation-free and traceability requirements, there is another important clause that has not been as widely discussed: the legal production requirement. This clause offers opportunities for producing countries to bolster their own environmental and sustainable development priorities and position themselves favorably for trade in commodities covered by the EUDR.

The legal production requirement mandates that, in addition to being deforestation-free, relevant products placed on or exported by the EU must have been grown, harvested or obtained in accordance with the relevant legislation of the country of production.

While this requirement is new for most agricultural commodities covered by the EUDR, past experience from similar provisions directed at wood products shows how such requirements can drive forest governance reforms in producer countries to empower vulnerable groups, improve legal certainty — particularly for land tenure and use rights — and strengthen legal frameworks for sustainable forests and land management, restoration and conservation.

What Is the Legal Production Requirement and What Are its Implications?

The EUDR requires that commodities placed on, or exported from, the EU market that are covered under the regulation — cattle, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, soy, timber and rubber, as well as derived products such as beef, furniture and chocolate — don’t come from land deforested or degraded after December 31, 2020.

In addition, the EUDR requires companies to conduct due diligence to ensure that the production of commodities placed on the EU market complies with laws in the country of origin. To do so, companies must understand the relevant laws in producing countries.

While the producer country regulates the specific harvesting and production requirements of these commodities, the EU has defined areas of law to be considered in the due diligence process. Note, however, that for some commodities in some countries, there may be no legal framework for all areas of law identified by the EUDR.

Areas of Law Covered by the Legal Production Requirement of the EUDR

“Relevant legislation of the country of production” means the [national and sub-national] laws applicable in the country of production concerning the legal status of the area of production in terms of:

(a) land use rights

(b) environmental protection

(c) forest-related rules, including forest management and biodiversity conservation, where directly related to wood harvesting

(d) third parties’ rights

(e) labor rights

(f) human rights protected under international law

(g) the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), including as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(h) tax, anti-corruption, trade and customs regulations

Source: Direct quote, Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 of the European Parliament and the Council.

This requirement carries significant implications for companies, producers and governments in producer countries that sell relevant products to the EU market:

  • Companies and producers must be able to show buyers that they are complying with the law.
  • Smallholders need to be able to and have the means to comply with laws and regulations as they often face challenges in proving ownership or legal access to their land and formal authorization for relevant economic practices.
  • Governments may want to support companies and producers — in particular, smallholders — in this process.

The requirement creates opportunities for governments in producer countries to improve their own forest governance and achieve other environmental policy objectives while working to support their trade with the EU market if they ensure their processes and tools are adequately prepared. Indonesia and Vietnam, for instance, have already been designing national measures to align with the requirements in the EUDR.

Lessons from the Timber Sector

The timber sector can provide valuable lessons for implementing the legal production requirement, given that major consumer markets have had laws in place mandating due diligence for illegal logging and associated trade for over a decade.1 Legality requirements from major timber markets like the Lacey Act, the European Union Timber Regulation and others have spurred various efforts to clarify legal requirements and communicate them effectively to private sector actors — for example, the legality definition agreed upon as part of the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) and tools and resources to gather and assess information about legal frameworks and company compliance.

Three valuable lessons that producer country governments can learn from the timber sector in supporting due diligence for the legal production requirement include:

  • Developing clear legal frameworks. Laws can at times be complex, unclear or contradictory. Language barriers often add more difficulty for importers to understand the regulations. Governments in producing countries can lead multi-stakeholder processes (see below) to assess legal frameworks relevant to the EUDR and develop plans for closing loopholes, removing duplicative regulations and clarifying legislative hierarchies, as well as developing indicators and means of verification to guide risk assessment and risk mitigation. Tools developed for timber can be adapted for the commodities covered by the EUDR. 

    Though challenging, it is crucial that producer countries clarify what the legal requirements are for smallholders to legally register their production, and for producers to legally claim and demonstrate land tenure or land use rights, depending on the national legal framework.

     
  • Ensuring involvement from different types of stakeholders in the assessment and review processes so the resulting legal framework will be widely accepted and to ensure that all groups can comply with the laws. The multi-stakeholder process should consider the needs of all supply chain actors in a way that addresses power imbalances and enables them to participate. It also fosters broader buy-in among relevant actors including smallholders, workers, unions, trade associations, local communities, civil society organizations and any other non-commercial stakeholder groups. 

    Additionally, governments, companies and others can support monitoring and traceability technologies and tools, which enhance the capacity of different groups participating in the multi-stakeholder process. For example, cell phone-based mapping and tracking tools in supply chains, such as PemPem and INATrace, can be expanded to assist small farms in complying with land tenure and business registration requirements.

     
  • Enhancing information accessibility by assessing whether information about the legal framework is available and understandable, and what relevant supply chain information is accessible to support compliance with the legality requirements. If information is not easily available to companies placing products on the EU market, governments should identify concrete steps to increase transparency from point of production to point of export. Industry associations and cooperatives can play a role in communicating with their members about what information is most relevant. 

    Useful information can include legal hierarchies that explain how different laws and regulations relate to each other, providing texts of the laws and regulations online and establishing portals where companies can verify the legitimacy of registered businesses, official permits and documents. 

    These measures would promote a shared understanding about the scope of laws and regulations to consider. Clarifying what lies within and outside the scope of the legal framework in producing countries is critical so that companies conducting due diligence do not interpret and apply the legal production requirement in inconsistent ways. It is also vital that governments proactively and comprehensively inform smallholder farmers about the relevant legislation and the related responsibilities and support mechanisms.
     
Examples of Processes and Tools from the Timber SectorCategoryExampleSummaryGeographic scopeClear Legal FrameworksAPEC Timber Legality Guidance TemplateA collection of individual guidance documents provided by APEC member economies including forest management framework as well as timber legislations or regulations.  Australia, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Korea, Thailand and the United States.Multi-Stakeholder InvolvementVoluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) Annex on the Legality DefinitionDescription of national laws a VPA partner country will use to assess the legality of timber and the process for gathering evidence to monitor compliance with the laws. Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guyana, Indonesia, Honduras, Laos, Liberia, Malaysia, Republic of Congo, Thailand and Vietnam.Enhanced Information AccessibilityOpen Timber Portal (WRI)Compilation of concession boundaries and the list of registered timber producers from the government, documents on forest management, harvest and trade by timber producers and observations of suspected noncompliance by third-party forest monitors in the Congo Basin. Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Gabon. Common Framework for Assessing Legality of Forestry Operations, Timber Processing and Trade (WWF and TRAFFIC)A checklist of the legal requirements covering forestry operations, corresponding processing and timber trade relating to timber origin, production, transportation, processing and trade and legislation safeguarding agreed-upon standards in relation to environmental, conservation and social issues. Brazil, Cameroon, Central African Republic, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Peru, Russia, Vietnam and Colombia.

Sources: APEC Compendium of Resources for the Facilitation of the Trade and Distribution of Legally Harvested Forest Products and authors’ summary. 

How Producer Countries Can Leverage the Legal Production Requirement

While the timber sector can offer valuable lessons, it is important to note differences between existing processes to support legal compliance for timber and the new requirements outlined in the EUDR. Client Earth’s recent analysis of legal compliance pathways in the cocoa sector in West Africa highlights these differences, emphasizing the necessity for tailored strategies aligned with specific contexts. Notably, the VPA Process has exemplified a context-specific approach in the timber sector. Therefore, while EUDR focuses on standardized obligations for covered products in the EU market, targeted support for individual countries remains critical. 

  1. Understand and analyze the requirement.
  2. Identify relevant state actors (ministries/agencies) concerned by the requirement.
  3. Review of the legal framework and existing relevant national and international approaches initiatives to guarantee compliance.
  4. Develop strategies to consolidate and harmonize legal frameworks especially through participatory approaches.
  5. Define indicators for legal compliance.
  6. Sensitize local farmers about the content of the legislation and how to comply with it.
  7. Develop legality assurance systems through auditing, certification and chain of custody requirements.
  8. Strengthen compliance with the legal frameworks’ standard operating procedure/strategy of law enforcement.
  9. Support independent forest monitoring to verify compliance.

Source: Authors

While the EUDR’s legal production requirement may not have grabbed headlines, its significance should not be overshadowed by other requirements in the regulation.

By reviewing country legal frameworks, communicating and clarifying the scope of legality production requirements, involving all relevant stakeholders and making information about the legal framework more accessible, governments in producing countries can take advantage of this less prominent clause in a way that advances their own forest and natural resource policy priorities, supports national and international goals for nature and people, and at the same time positions them to be important suppliers to the EU market.

 

1Major consumer markets that have introduced legality requirements for timber products include the European Union, the United States of America, Australia, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

eudr-deforestation-legal-production-requirement.jpeg Forests Europe deforestation Equity & Governance Forest Legality Type Technical Perspective Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Bo Li Mathis Freytag Tina Schneider Ruth Nogueron
shannon.paton@wri.org

4 Ways to Pursue a Sustainable Seafood Diet

2 semanas ago
4 Ways to Pursue a Sustainable Seafood Diet alicia.cypress… Fri, 06/07/2024 - 09:00

The ocean provides a vital source of protein and nutrition for more than 3 billion people, including many living in the world’s most vulnerable communities. Known as “blue food,” animals, plants or algae that are caught or cultivated in freshwater and marine environments, offer enormous untapped potential to tackle food insecurity and malnutrition. There’s even the potential for it to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But blue food must be managed sustainably.

For many consumers, eating seafood is a more responsible alternative to land-based protein like beef or pork. A pescatarian diet is considered both to be a healthy choice and better for the environment than a traditional omnivorous diet.

However, unsustainable practices within the seafood supply chain are creating a myriad of negative environmental impacts. This includes depleted fish populations, habitat damage and loss, high incidents of bycatch (where other species, sometimes endangered, are caught alongside the target catch) as well as pollution and disease outbreaks within farmed fish populations. These practices can also be incredibly wasteful, with recent research from the World Economic Forum in collaboration with WRI showing at least 15% of fish and seafood in our food chain goes to waste.

With harmful actions like these, how can consumers be sure they are eating responsibly sourced seafood?  There are currently two ways to recognize sustainable seafood at the market: sustainability certification and seafood rating systems.

  • Certified foods are voluntarily put forward for certification by companies and have a label on the end-product signifying that an independent organization has verified that responsible or sustainable practices have been used throughout the entire production process. For example, there are certifications such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) that certify "responsibly farmed" seafood, while wild fish certifications, such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certify "sustainable fishing."
  • Rating systems take a different approach and assess key commercial species to provide information on performance of fisheries and aquaculture.

But there are limitations to both these options. Only 49% of blue food is currently certified or rated, meaning the sustainability of 51% of seafood is unknown. And further, certification standards have been criticized for conflicts of interest in the certification model as well as the expensive and complicated process which excludes some small-scale producers.

Rating systems have also been challenged for their non-granular assessment of whole markets, unable to account for differences between individual producers. In addition to the often-limited criteria used to analyze seafood in rating systems, these systems do not include indicators to assess a product's carbon footprint.

A More Holistic Approach to Sourcing Seafood

Given the challenges of determining whether seafood is sustainable, here are four key factors to help consumers make more informed decisions:

1) Consume Species with a Lower Environmental Impact

Protein from the sea generally has a lower carbon footprint, than other animal proteins, but there are varying levels of carbon efficiency in seafood production.

For example, wild caught fish are a low carbon food, with a carbon footprint of between 1 kilogram carbon dioxide (kg CO2) to 5 kg CO2 per kilogram (compared to beef which generates around 60 kg CO2 per kilogram), while farmed fish are estimated to produce 4 kg CO2 to 6 kg CO2 by the same measure. However, there are other environmental factors at play, such as how the fish is caught — for example whether it’s line caught or trawled. Bottom trawling is a commercial fishing method that uses a large net to catch fish along the seafloor and can destroy seabed environments.

A fishing boat with bottom trawlers extended above the water. This method of commercial fishing involves dragging the nets on the bottom of the sea, which can damage the seabed and increase bycatch. Photo by rbouman/iStock.

Environmental impacts of farmed species can also vary significantly. "Fed" species such as salmon, shrimp, trout and seabass, generally have higher carbon footprints than seaweeds and bivalves because of the fish feed used. It has been estimated that the fish feed can contribute up to 80% of the carbon footprint of farmed animal and seafood production.

However, across all blue food, farmed seaweeds and bivalves such as oysters, mussels and clams, generate the lowest GHG emissions, followed by small pelagic fish such as herring, sardines and anchovies.

In addition to their low carbon footprint, seaweeds and bivalves can also benefit ecosystems. They absorb nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous which, in excess, can damage other aquatic life due to a process called eutrophication. This process can spur the fast growth of organisms that deplete oxygen levels in the water and then die off, leaving those areas unsuitable for other kinds of aquatic life. Moreover, seaweeds can act as ecosystem engineers on coastlines, providing habitats within seaweed farms that act as a refuge for other marine life such as fish, invertebrates and mammals.

2) Embrace Seafood Diversity

Aquatic species are incredibly diverse. With almost 250,000 known marine and at least 100,000 freshwater species, only about 3,650 species are actually eaten. Most are fish, which contain high quantities of micronutrients such as B12 and globally provide the dominant source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, less-consumed species groups such as seaweeds, aquatic invertebrates (crab, lobster and crayfish) and bivalves (clams, mussels and oysters) contain a range of nutritious compounds including dietary fiber, vitamin E, vitamin C, iodine and iron, which are associated with a variety of health benefits.

Despite the benefits of a more diverse blue food diet, only a small number of species dominate kitchens, particularly in high-income countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, five species — cod, haddock, salmon, tuna and prawns — account for 80% of the seafood consumed.  However, this varies globally, with consumption in Asia showing a much wider palate for seafood species.

When multiple sustainable options are available, it’s important to consider purchasing a variety of products rather than sticking to one product consistently. Studies have shown that policies that enhance the diversity of blue food production are critical to building resilience against negative impacts associated with climate change, trade or the emergence of new diseases within food stocks. Incorporating a diverse range of blue food into diets offers many personal and societal benefits:

  • Nutritional Variety: Different species of blue food provides a wide array of nutrients promoting overall health and well-being.
  • Ecological Balance: Supporting a diverse range of aquatic species helps maintain biodiversity in marine ecosystems. This can also alleviate pressures such as overfishing or poor management strategies on overexploited species.
  • Food Security: Promoting consumption beyond a few popular species to include other sustainable options helps promote food security, particularly for communities that rely on seafood that’s threatened by global warming and ecological shifts.
  • Cultural Preservation: Embracing a variety of blue food allows communities to celebrate and preserve culinary traditions from diverse cultures around the world.
3) Eat the Whole Fish

A significant amount of the global edible aquatic food loss and waste — totaling approximately 23.8 million tons in 2021 or around 15% of the total amount of seafood produced that year — comes from by-products, including heads, internal organs, skin, bones and scales.

Consumer preferences, however, tend to avoid these fish parts, despite the nutritional benefits from bioactive compounds including long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, peptides, enzymes and collagen as well as key vitamins and minerals.

Beyond fish fillets lie a varied and nutritionally complex set of by-products which are undervalued in many countries’ cuisines. Examples of this changing are on the rise, with crispy fish skin gaining popularity in some regions along with increased interest in the home cooking of mass-produced products like fish stock or broth, which is often made using all the discarded parts of a fish.

However, there are cultures that traditionally eat multiple parts of the fish. One example is the culinary culture of Japan where fish cuttings, such as heads, bones, gills and fins left over from other fish dishes such as sashimi, are added to a soup to make arajiru, seabream and yellowtail heads are grilled, tuna eyes are sold in supermarkets, and livers and roes are consumed as sushi and sashimi. Embracing culinary traditions that utilize a variety of fish parts can significantly reduce waste while maximizing nutritional benefits.

To pursue this further, consumers can engage with culinary traditions that use a variety of aquatic food parts, learn how to cook a whole fish, try recipes that use different by-products or purchase products that use less desirable parts such as fish liver pâté or fish skin crisps.

A customer looks over the selections at a local seafood market in Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan. It's common to find a wider selection of fish parts at markets in Japan, where the cuisine uses the whole fish. Photo by Sanga Park/iStock.

Local and coastal communities, as well as professionals working within the food industry, should work to understand where waste can be cut in addition to highlighting the use of more sustainable options when possible. This is already happening to varying degrees with ‘zero-waste’ restaurants on the rise and some chefs who are moving away from popular, globalized species such as farmed salmon in favor of more sustainable options. But more is needed to scale similar sustainable actions.

4) Buy Local, Sustainably Managed Fish

Seafood is a highly traded commodity, and often travels far distances to reach consumers. Farmed salmon is one example that is now available in nearly every corner of the world, but its production and transportation can carry a hefty environmental toll.

The seafood industry was confronted with this during the COVID-19 pandemic when supply-chain disruptions caused reduced exports along major trade routes. This sparked an increase in local sourcing. Initially as an effort to sell surpluses of locally-produced seafood, more and more countries are continuing to encourage consumers to buy regional seafood products.

Buying locally provides a way for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint while bolstering local economies. However, buying locally doesn’t guarantee that products are managed sustainably. Consumers should always ask where the products come from, and how they are caught.

Aerial view of a salmon farm in Norway. Consumers can find salmon nearly everywhere in the world, largely because it is widely farmed. Photo by Nenad Tomic/Alamy Stock Photo. Taking Steps Toward a Sustainable Seafood Diet

Being a sustainable seafood consumer can be challenging, but these basic guidelines will help balance sustainable procurement with maintaining a healthy diet. It’s important to remember the level of sustainability of a food group and how it’s sourced is a constantly evolving issue. 

Tools from trusted organizations are available to help navigate trends and best practices, such as Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the WWF Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative list or the ASC, among others, to help make informed decisions.

By embracing the diversity of blue food and considering the impact of species and sourcing, consumers can play a vital role in driving a more sustainable future for this essential natural resource.

Mariska Bottema is the former Blue Food Lead for WRI's Ocean Program.

sustainable-seafood-fish-market.jpg Ocean Food Food Loss and Waste greenhouse gases fisheries aquaculture Type Explainer Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Abigail Frankfort Mariska Bottema
alicia.cypress@wri.org

Community Mangrove Management and the Transformation of Coastal Communities

2 semanas 1 día ago
Community Mangrove Management and the Transformation of Coastal Communities shannon.paton@… Thu, 06/06/2024 - 12:02

Mangrove restoration not only has the potential to protect communities from extreme climate events, but it can also revitalize ecosystems, generate sustainable employment and strengthen social cohesion.

Coastal communities face unique challenges due to their vulnerability to climate change and their social, economic, political and environmental contexts. Many communities depend on ecosystems to sustain their livelihoods through tourism or fishing; both industries are easily disrupted by rising sea levels, storms and environmental degradation. High rates of poverty, limited education and unclear land ownership rights further complicate their reliance on and relationship with natural habitats. Mangrove restoration, conservation and community management strategies can help neighborhoods adapt to climate change while providing them with multiple benefits.

Our team conducted a series of workshops and interviews to analyze the community experiences that have been part of coastal wetland restoration and conservation initiatives or are members of the RE3CO (Restoration and Conservation of Coastal Wetlands and Community Development) initiative in Isla Arena, Campeche – including; Sisal, Yucatan; El Palmar, Tabasco; and La Ventanilla, Oaxaca. The interviews emphasized local impacts that mangrove restoration offers to communities, such as perceived social, environmental, as well as short, medium and long-term economic benefits.

Main Benefits of Community Mangrove Restoration and ManagementEnvironmental Benefits

Following this exercise, we found that 63% of respondents believe that restored mangroves protected them from hurricanes, floods and high winds, reducing the economic and social impact of hydrometeorological phenomena. Community efforts restoring and cleaning water channels allowed them to replenish dry mangroves, as well as welcome back species of birds, reptiles and fish to the habitat.

A group of women attend a workshop on ecosystems and community-based adaptation in Pantanos de Centla, Tabasco. Photo by Sarai Rodriguez / WRI

Erika Nogueda, a resident of Ejido El Palmar, Tabasco, said, “We started to see that the birds built their nests or that snails started to lay their eggs in the roots. We went last week and we saw how tilapia fish went to spawn, and it was not one but thousands of them, and that is really exciting for us. We see the results.”

The communities also reported improved water quality and local temperature regulation. Carbon capture and rejuvenating mangrove ecosystem services were identified as long-term benefits.

Economic Benefits

Restoration not only revitalizes natural environments, but also local economies. Tourism and fishing are seasonal activities that have seen a decline in recent years — due to increased travel costs, overfishing, lack of regulations and climate change — while restoration jobs provide a reliable income stream. For women involved in the associated restoration work — such as collecting propagules, nursery maintenance or channel expansion — this added gender perspective provides additional income to households.

Those interviewed agreed that restoration workdays boost their earnings by 10% to 50%. In certain cases, households rely entirely on seasonal wages, with women working in restoration sometimes contributing 100% of household income. Dependence on temporary jobs is not ideal in terms of economic diversification. Various initiatives, including RE3CO, aim to use mangrove conservation for local communities to maintain good-paying jobs once the initial restoration work is finished.

The number of direct jobs created by restoration projects is highly variable, given that it depends on the number of hectares of mangrove land to be restored, the initial state of the mangroves and the restoration plan, among other factors. In addition, projects can last from one to ten years. In places where the projects have made greater progress, mangrove care and surveillance activities are also carried out, like ecotourism and creating employment alternatives to fishing, and they are maintained once the restoration projects conclude.

Social Benefits

Based on the interviews conducted, 71% of people said that restoration projects resulted in a positive impact; from the way communities are organized to the newly employed, opening a possibility to a better future. The communal land users of Ejido El Palmar mentioned that, in the last nine years, their organization has improved due to the workshops, projects and training support. They also believe that those benefits are not limited to the group working directly on the project, but that they extend to the entire community. They see more cohesion among the inhabitants and there is a strong community commitment toward the restoration projects.

However, different communities perceive these benefits equally. About 30% of the people interviewed at Sisal believe that the projects have failed to involve everyone in the community and that some people’s interest in participating is solely for the income they receive.

In general, people believe that restoration benefits are divided into direct and indirect. The former are about the daily wage payments to people working on the restoration, and the latter refer to the benefits that come from a healthy ecosystem, such as increased fishing, tourism and non-timber use. The people of La Ventanilla, Oaxaca mentioned the project management assignments may cause friction between cooperatives, so the goal is to equitably distribute assignments and, thus, the benefits. For example, the sudden influx of money could cause disagreements between the recipients and those who do not participate. That is why the co-creation of projects and the active participation of different groups throughout the restoration initiatives are vital to the long-term success of the projects and maintaining the fabric of society.

Gender Perspective

Multiple communities pointed to the positive changes that women have experienced because of their participation in these projects. In Ejido El Palmar, only the men benefited financially from the restoration projects — until women began participating in workshops in 2019, followed by when they physically worked on the projects starting in 2021.

Communities agreed that women have traditionally played a specific, yet limited role in the community. Restoration was originally conceived as a male job, due to its physically demanding nature. However, women have since joined the restoration work, contributing to the care of their environment and earning income for their families. This has generated gender equity into other aspects of their lives. For example, some husbands have taken on household chores that were typically left to their wives, such as cooking and childcare.

Sebastiana Molina, a resident of Ejido El Palmar, Tabasco explained how restoration work allowed men in the community to explore a different side of themselves.

“We had a small problem, which was the macho culture. Today, I can earn a workday wage like a man. If we can’t use a machete, we can pick up a propagule and sow. For us, well, it is the best thing that can happen to us.”

Two women present at a workshop in Pantanos de Centla, Tabasco. Photo by Sarai Rodriguez / WRI

Women also mentioned that they have learned about mangroves through trainings and fieldwork. They have learned how to select the propagules and identify which ones are suitable and how they are planted. They noted pride in their newfound knowledge and how they help improve their environment. In places such as La Ventanilla, there has been a greater interest by women in the restoration work.

In Ejido El Palmar, men and women now have equal opportunity to assist the ejido progress. In Isla Arena, Campeche, the women of the Carey cooperative hope to add more women into ecotourism activities and bird watching training.

Men benefit from having steady work and the possibility of additional income via the revitalized fishing and ecotourism industries, as well as the mangroves support. Faustino, from the La Ventanilla community in Oaxaca, found that restoration is both a job and a way of being in touch with nature. “Every day, you can sit by the lagoon, see the crocodiles, and relax,” he said.

A man in Ventanilla, Oaxaca with newly planted mangroves. Photo by Sarai Rodriguez / WRI

Finally, children benefit by participating in workshops or joining their parents in their restoration work and trainings. They develop environmental awareness and learn the vocation for conservation and sustainable management. Those interviewed highlighted how important it is for children and youth to be involved in these issues, as it is the future of their territories and homes.

Paths to Boost Benefits

To enhance the social, environmental and economic benefits of community mangrove restoration and management, people who shared their experiences offered some solutions: Increased financing, monitoring, follow-up and ongoing training. They also discussed the importance of strengthening community engagement and organization processes, increased youth and childhood inclusion and the collaboration with neighboring and distant communities. Finally, they expressed how essential the regulation of services by local authorities is.

Community mangrove restoration and management is an essential response to climate change challenges, and a catalyst for significant benefits for coastal communities. Mangrove restoration has the potential to protect communities from extreme climate events, and it can also revitalize ecosystems, generate sustainable employment and strengthen social cohesion.

The environmental, economic and social benefits seen through these interviews highlight the importance of integrating gender-based restoration strategies and encouraging active, community-wide participation. However, it’s clear that any intervention must address challenges such as equity in profit sharing and the proper management of financial resources.

There is room for improvement in the implementation of mangrove management and restoration projects. Collaboration between key stakeholders is essential so that the benefits of these actions are distributed equitably in the communities and do not exacerbate pre-existing problems. In this context, the call for greater funding, monitoring, continuous training and above all, co-creation and community leadership are presented as clear pathways to boosting the positive impacts of restoration and to ensure a sustainable future for coastal communities and their mangroves.

WRI Mexico works with community organizations, government, the private sector, academia and other allies to promote restoration actions and community management of mangroves in the region. Through the RE3CO initiative, we work with coastal communities to restore and conserve the country’s mangroves.

women-presenting-workshop-mangroves.jpg Climate Mexico Forests Freshwater nature-based solutions Economics Gender restoration Type Project Update Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Valeria López-Portillo Sarai Eunice Rodríguez Mitzi Garcia
shannon.paton@wri.org

As Water Shortages Plague Bogotá and Other Cities, Nature-based Solutions Can Help

2 semanas 2 días ago
As Water Shortages Plague Bogotá and Other Cities, Nature-based Solutions Can Help margaret.overh… Wed, 06/05/2024 - 06:00

Bogotá, Colombia is in the throes of a water crisis.

After several months of dry weather caused by El Niño, the Chingaza reservoir system, which provides 70% of Bogotá's water, reached its lowest level in history. The city's over 8 million residents are now rationing water, with each neighborhood facing a 24-hour water shut-off three times per month. People are encouraged to shower for less than three minutes, and households are facing fines of up to $300 if they go over their monthly water allotment. Rationing measures will likely remain in place through October 2024, or until there is enough rainfall to course correct.

Bogotá is not alone; it is the latest in a string of cities dealing with extreme water scarcity. Mexico City currently faces the possibility of taps running dry in as little as a few weeks. Cape Town, South Africa famously staved off a "Day Zero" in 2018, in which the entire city nearly ran out of water after a rare drought.

More cities will likely face these kinds of shortages as climate change, deforestation and ecosystems degradation increasingly threaten the natural systems that maintain water supplies. But nature offers solutions, too.

By protecting, restoring and sustainably managing forests within their watersheds, cities can improve water quality and quantity in a cost-effective way. And they can make water sources more resilient to a changing climate.

Water Faces a Double Threat from Climate Change and Land Degradation

Climate change continues to raise global temperatures and cause unpredictable weather patterns. As climates become drier and rainfall becomes more erratic, water sources are less able to maintain a consistent supply and reliably replenish.

Bogotá, for example, has seen significant decreases in precipitation since 1971, leading to the water challenges facing the city today. In the Horn of Africa, over 20 million people are affected by drought across multiple countries. Two of these countries, Eritrea and Djibouti, face high levels of water stress, meaning they regularly use 40%-80% of their available water supply. Research suggests that the region's drought was made 100 times more likely because of climate change.

The San Rafael reservoir, part of Bogotá's main reservoir system, on April 8, 2024, after being severely depleted by drought. Water shortages are becoming more common as climate change disrupts the water cycle. Photo by Long Visual Press/Alamy Live News

Deforestation around watersheds is also a major driver of water insecurity. Forests support and improve water supplies in a few key ways:

  • Better infiltration: Root systems and fallen leaves in a forested watershed slow down rainfall, allowing more water to enter the soil. This supports more reliable and consistent groundwater recharge.
  • Less erosion: Because forests can slow down rainfall, the top layers of soil are better protected. Forest roots also create a strong foundation that helps keep soil in place. Both features reduce erosion, preventing debris from entering watersheds and reducing the need for water treatment and/or reservoir dredging.
  • More regular precipitation: The water cycle relies on water reaching the atmosphere through evaporation (when water is pulled from water surfaces and soil) and transpiration (when water is pulled from plant leaves, stems and flowers). Forests support both in the combined process of "evapotranspiration." This allows for a more regular water cycle and, therefore, more regular rain to recharge groundwater and fill watersheds.

In the United States alone, 180 million people rely on forested lands for their drinking water, with some cities relying on national forests and grasslands for almost 90% of their water supplies. Halting deforestation, particularly around water sources, is therefore critical to a reliable and sustainable water supply. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening: In 2023, the world lost 3.7 million hectares of tropical forests alone, equivalent to ten football fields per minute.

How Can Cities Use Nature to Improve Water Security?

As the threat of water shortages continues to spread, natural infrastructure can play a crucial role in improving water security for cities around the world.

Also called "green" infrastructure, these solutions leverage natural processes to fulfill infrastructure needs and build resilience to climate impacts. For example, restoring forest areas within a watershed can reduce the risk of flooding while also improving water quality and regulating water flows, helping to increase the amount of water available. Proper watershed management, including the removal of water-sapping invasive species, can also boost water quality and quantity. These kinds of nature-based solutions can complement traditional "gray" infrastructure (such as reservoirs).

There is a strong economic case for natural infrastructure, too. WRI studied the economic and water benefits of combining natural and traditional infrastructure in five cities across Brazil as well as in Bogotá. Every analysis showed that natural infrastructure can yield significant water benefits for cities while also producing cost savings for water utilities. In Bogotá, for example, the water utility could save approximately $45 million over 30 years by investing $5.3 million upfront in nature-based solutions such as ecosystem restoration.

Oftentimes, these savings come from reducing sedimentation and nutrients in water. This can reduce costs from "dredging" to remove sediments and from wear and tear on traditional infrastructure. It can also lower water treatment costs through reducing the need for chemical products and decreasing the amount of energy used to pump and distribute water across a plant for treatment.

4 Ways Cities Can Leverage Natural Infrastructure for Water Security

While natural infrastructure can certainly benefit city water supplies, the right approach will vary from place to place. So, what does this look like in practice? Four cities working with WRI's Cities4Forests initiative show the possibilities:

High-altitude Grassland Restoration in Bogotá, Colombia

While the latest water crisis in Colombia is new, the need for better water infrastructure is not. Recent research from WRI Colombia, Conservation International Colombia, and Bogotá's water utility showed that natural infrastructure could play an important role in diversifying the city's water sources, saving money for the local water utility and ultimately improving water security for the city.

There are significant opportunities for natural infrastructure in the city's nearby páramos, or high-altitude grasslands. These include ecosystem restoration and silvopastoral systems, which combine tree growth and livestock production on the same land. Implementing such solutions across just 2% of the Bogotá River's upper basin, the second largest water source for the city, would help reduce the presence of sediment in the water and save the local utility money on treatment.

Improvements to water quality would also make the Bogotá River basin a more reliable water source, allowing the city to diversify its water supply. This would make Bogotá less reliant on the Chingaza reservoir system and more resilient to drought and other threats.

River Basin Reforestation in Vitória, Brazil

The mountainous state of Espírito Santo, Brazil is no stranger to droughts. The state's four million residents, half of which are in the greater Vitória metropolitan area, have faced severe droughts for over a decade. In 2015 alone, Espírito Santo experienced half of its average historical rainfall. Meanwhile, more erratic rainfall patterns driven by climate change have also led to intense flooding across the nation, with recent floods affecting over half a million people in Porto Alegre.

But there is an opportunity to improve water security and reduce flood risk using natural infrastructure in two main water sources for Vitória: the Jucu and Santa Maria da Vitória river basins. Our research showed that reforestation across 2,500 hectares of degraded land would improve water security and save the local water utility money through reduced sedimentation. This is significant, as the water utility provides water and sanitation to over 70% of Espírito Santo. In the Jucu River alone, restoration could prevent 40 dump trucks worth of sedimentation from reaching the river every year. And because trees can intercept and slow rainfall as it lands, reforestation efforts can also reduce flood risks.

Following this analysis, Espírito Santo adopted a law to prioritize restoration in many of these upstream areas. The state also replicated the study for other watersheds.

Two men load seedlings onto truck for a reforestation project in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to the south of Vitória. Increased reforestation efforts within watersheds throughout Brazil could help improve water security while also reducing the risk of flooding. Photo by Cavan Images/Alamy Stock Photo Restoration of the Nairobi River in Kenya

Nairobi is deeply intertwined with its river systems: The city name itself comes from the Maasai phrase for "cool waters." However, many interconnected issues are affecting the Nairobi River. Kenya faced the most severe drought in the nation's history over the past few years, and rapid urbanization and population growth have led to significant water pollution.

In early 2023, the Nairobi Rivers Commission launched a plan to rejuvenate and restore the Nairobi River. The commission and its partners are currently working to identify priority areas for restoration and find ways to integrate nature-based solutions, such as reforesting areas along the river, into urban planning.

These efforts will help reduce pollution and improve access to clean drinking water for the city's over 4 million residents — only half of whom currently have access to water from pipes. They will also create new job opportunities in wetland management, particularly for the city's youth. And they will increase access to hydroelectric power in rural areas. This is critical, as 12 million people in Kenya currently do not have energy access. The project will also support Kenya's goal to grow 15 billion trees by 2032.

In addition to water quality efforts, priority areas for restoration are being identified to reduce flood risk in Nairobi. This is also an urgent issue, as devastating floods in Kenya have recently claimed the lives of over 200 people and displaced almost a quarter of a million more.

Natural Wastewater Treatment in Delhi, India

India is among the most water-stressed countries in the world. The nation holds 18% of the world's population but only 4% of its water. It is also the world's largest user of groundwater and is facing declines in groundwater levels across almost two-thirds of its districts. Many of its main water reservoirs are hitting record-low levels. In addition, over 70% of the nation's wastewater is untreated and flows into natural water sources, leading to significant water pollution.

TheCityFix Labs, an initiative by Cities4Forests and WRI India, is supporting two local projects to scale up their nature-based solutions that can address these interconnected issues.

The first, BacTreatEnvironmental Solutions, is using constructed wetlands to manage wastewater. These use wetland plants and soil to mimic a natural wetland, which captures stormwater and creates micro-habitat for plants and birds. The second, Padma Clean Environs, created a sustainable drainage system that cleans wastewater naturally using vegetation and then filters it into engineered soil, allowing the water to soak into the ground more effectively. This approach enables groundwater recharge with no negative environmental effects, costs significantly less than other recharge systems, and can easily be used across the city since it does not require large areas of land.

Carving a Path for Natural Infrastructure

Bogotá, Mexico City and Cape Town may be among the most prominent examples of water insecurity in recent memory. But climate change, population growth and ecosystem degradation are likely to push many others into the same situation.

Cities facing current or future water shortages can learn from those already implementing natural infrastructure to improve water security and prevent further land degradation. And they can take immediate steps to better integrate nature-based solutions into urban planning and climate action.

Cities do not need to choose between water security and nature. With the right projects in place, collaboration from the right people, and strong investments, the cities of Bogotá, Vitória, Nairobi and Delhi can go from being an exception to being some of the first in a new norm.

bogota-water-rationingjpg Freshwater Water Security Forests Cities drought climate change urban water resilience Type Finding Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Sadof Alexander Laura Bulbena Janer
margaret.overholt@wri.org

The History of Carbon Dioxide Emissions

2 semanas 4 días ago
The History of Carbon Dioxide Emissions wri-admin Mon, 06/03/2024 - 13:05

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are now higher than at any point in our history. In fact, recent data reveals that global CO2 emissions were 182 times higher in 2022 than they were in 1850, around the time the Industrial Revolution was underway.1

How did we arrive at such an unprecedented and precarious state? To answer this and other key questions, we analyzed the latest emissions data from WRI's Climate Watch platform. In addition to countries' historical emissions trends, we looked at major drivers of increasing emissions, such as population growth, economic development and energy use.

For context, the United Kingdom was the world's largest CO2 emitter in 1850, the first year of available data. Its emissions were nearly six times those of the United States, the second-ranked country at the time. France, Germany and Belgium completed the list of the top five emitters.

As of 2022 — the latest data available — China ranked as the world's largest CO2 emitter, followed by the United States, India, Russia and Japan. However, among the top 10 CO2 emitters, the United States has the highest emission per person. Per capita emissions in the U.S. are double those of China and 8 times those of India.

See How the Top Emitting Countries and Regions Have Shifted Over Time

Most countries have seen their carbon emissions balloon over time as their populations and economies have grown. However, these trajectories look quite different throughout different moments in history. Read on for a visual recap of some national, regional and global CO2 emissions milestones over the past 172 years.

From 1850 to the mid-20th century, the world experienced near-constant growth in emissions. This was due largely to industrialization and population growth in the United States and Europe. The U.S. became the top CO2 emitter in 1887 and saw the greatest acceleration in emissions over the next nine decades, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany.

This trend was occasionally interrupted by historic events, like the Great Depression in the 1930s and the end of World War II in 1945. But the resulting emissions reductions were only temporary. Countries in North America and Europe continued to dominate global emissions through the first half of the century. As a result, the U.S. and EU remain the largest cumulative emitters to date, bearing responsibility for most CO2 in the atmosphere.

From the 1950s to 1980s, Russia also experienced rapid emissions growth. However, its emissions dropped off significantly with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

For comparison, the U.K., once the world’s highest emitter, stabilized its total CO2 emissions around 1970.

While the United States kept its place as the top CO2 emitter throughout the 20th century, Asian countries began to emerge onto the scene, led by China.

Since then, China’s economy has continued to expand rapidly — along with its consumption of fossil fuels. China surpassed the U.S. as the world's top CO2 emitter in 2005.

A similar picture emerges when looking at emissions by region. East Asia and the Pacific became the top regional emitter in 2004. By 2022, it was contributing 44% of global CO2 emissions. Europe and Central Asia and North America, the next-highest emitting regions, accounted for 17% and 15% respectively. However, this only represents total annual emissions.

When it comes to per capita emissions, North America, remains the highest by far, followed by Europe and Central Asia. However, East Asia and the Pacific is very close to becoming the second largest per-person emitter.

Looking at cumulative emissions since 1850, Europe and Central Asia still have the highest total, followed by North America. But East Asia and the Pacific is rapidly catching up here, too.

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Related: 4 Charts Explain Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Country and Sector

COVID-19 Caused a Sharp Decrease in Emissions, but It Was Short Lived

The COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic effect on global economies, resulting in the largest annual drop in CO2 emissions in recorded history. In 2020, global emissions fell by 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) — an amount roughly equivalent to Japan's CO2 emissions that year. This was twice the size of the 1992 drop following the dissolution of the Soviet Union (the second largest emissions drop in recorded history). Nonetheless, it was temporary. Emissions bounced back quickly as countries resumed their economic activities, with 2021 surpassing 2019 levels.

Global Per Capita Emissions Have Stabilized Since 2011

The good news is that, while absolute emissions continue to rise, global per capita emissions have not increased since 2011. This suggests that countries are gradually moving away from the previous carbon-intensive development trajectory as they begin transitioning towards renewable energy, electric vehicles and other clean technologies.

However, there's a long way still to go. The imperative now is to reverse course on total emissions, which are still growing, to stay on track with global climate commitments to ensure a livable future for all.

The Top 10 Emitters Still Make Up 76% of Global Carbon Emissions

At the beginning of our timeline in 1850, just a small number of countries were responsible for the majority of global emissions. In 2022, the major players have changed, but the top 10 emitters still contribute 76% of global CO2 emissions.

While all countries will need to work together to tackle the climate crisis, this relatively small group of nations carries an outsized share of the responsibility for causing it. These countries need to step up their climate leadership by rapidly reducing emissions and supporting other nations in their transitions towards a lower-carbon economy.

Explore the Latest Carbon Emissions Data

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, countries need to rapidly reduce emissions to net zero by 2050. Climate data is essential to understanding how we've come to be in this state of crisis, the latest emissions trends, and what actions countries must take in both the short and long term to bend the emissions curve downward.

Climate Watch, WRI's climate data platform, offers hundreds of open datasets that visualize historical greenhouse gas emissions of all countries, regions, sectors and various types of greenhouse gasses. The platform allows users to analyze and compare countries' nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and long-term Strategies (LTS) under the Paris Agreement; explore climate policies; see how nations can leverage their climate goals to achieve sustainable development objectives; and use models to map new pathways to a lower-carbon, prosperous future.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2014. It was updated in June 2024 with the latest data on global carbon dioxide emissions from Climate Watch.

 

1 CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas and short-term action on methane and other short-lived pollutants are essential to address climate change. CO2 represents about three-quarters of annual emissions and estimates are available starting from 1850, allowing us to explore a longer history of carbon dioxide emissions.

coal-plant-west-virginia.jpg Climate Climate GHG emissions climate change Type Explainer Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Related Resources and Data Climate Watch (CAIT): Country Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data Climate Watch - U.S. States Greenhouse Gas Emissions Climate Watch (CAIT): UNFCCC Annex I GHG Emissions Data Authors Leandro Vigna Johannes Friedrich Thomas Damassa
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What Could the New Climate Finance Goal Look Like? 7 Elements Under Negotiation

3 semanas 2 días ago
What Could the New Climate Finance Goal Look Like? 7 Elements Under Negotiation margaret.overh… Wed, 05/29/2024 - 14:57

In 2009, developed countries agreed that by 2020, they would collectively mobilize $100 billion per year to support developing countries' climate action. According to the OECD, this goal was met for the first time in 2022 — two years after the initial deadline. But negotiators are already working on developing a new goal. And this time, they're setting their sights higher.

When countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, they decided to set a "new collective quantified goal on climate finance" (NCQG) to replace the existing goal of $100 billion per year. The NCQG is meant to be adopted this year at COP29 in Azerbaijan.

The new finance goal will channel greater funds toward urgently needed climate action in developing countries. It will support implementation of low-carbon, climate resilient solutions in energy, transport, agriculture and other vital systems. By increasing financial support, it should enable developing countries to step up their climate ambitions in the next round of national climate plans (NDCs), which are due in 2025.

However, deliberations on the new goal have been slow to date. Negotiators have yet to reach consensus on foundational questions, from the dollar amount of the goal to which countries should contribute.

Here are seven key elements of the NCQG that negotiators will grapple with leading up to and at COP29:

1) Setting an Ambitious Target that Meets Developing Countries' Climate Finance Needs

The $100 billion climate finance target was not needs-based. Rather, it was a political commitment that recognized developed countries' responsibility to provide financial support to developing countries. The NCQG will be different: Parties have already agreed that it should take into account the needs and priorities of developing countries to tackle the climate crisis. But negotiators have not yet decided what this will look like.

Research indicates that developing countries need trillions of dollars annually to combat climate change and address its impacts. One report found that the financial requirements spelled out in countries' NDCs add up to around $5.8-$5.9 trillion cumulatively by 2030. Other estimates put this cost at $7.8-$13.6 trillion for the same time period.

These cumulative estimates — which include all financial sources, both national and international — work out to at least a trillion dollars a year in need. Similarly, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has estimated the necessary annual finance flows at $1.55 trillion by 2030. (Any differences between these numbers are due to the inclusion of different sectors and/or climate models.)

Meanwhile, the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance (IHLEG) suggests that emerging markets and developing countries, excluding China, need to invest and spend close to $2.4 trillion a year by 2030 to meet climate and nature goals. That's four times what is currently invested. The IHLEG suggests that around $1 trillion per year of these funds will need to come from international sources of finance. About half of this would come from the public sector (including bilateral, multilateral and other development finance, as well as innovative finance) while the other half would be mobilized private sector investments.

A few countries have proposed specific amounts for the NCQG. For example, India and the Arab Group have called for developed countries to provide around $1 trillion per year to developing nations.

Decisions on other key elements of the goal, such as its time frame, contributors and what climate-related activities are covered, will ultimately help inform its size.

The Olkaria geothermal plant, which helps supply Kenya with clean, renewable power, was financed in part by international development banks. Finance from developed countries is critical to scaling up clean energy and other climate solutions in developing countries. Photo by IRENA/Flickr 2) Determining Which Countries Should Contribute to the New Finance Goal

Responsibility for meeting the $100 billion goal rests with developed countries, defined in this case as the 24 countries who were OECD members in 1992 when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed. However, some developed countries point out that the world has changed a lot over the past three decades. They argue that additional nations are now capable of contributing to a global goal, and moreover bear a responsibility to do so based on their contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

Many developing countries, meanwhile, argue there is no legal mandate to discuss contributors to the goal. They maintain that contributors are already agreed upon in Article 9 of the Paris Agreement and under the UNFCCC. Both documents state that developed nations have a responsibility to provide climate finance to developing nations.

Developed countries have suggested various indicators to assess who can and should pay into the NCQG. For example, countries' potential to contribute could be analyzed based on their ability to pay (income) and historical responsibility for climate change (emissions). Each indicator could be measured through a variety of metrics, such as cumulative emissions versus per capita emissions, or gross national income with or without purchasing power parity.

Who floats to the top of the list will depend on which factors are prioritized. For example, China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter today if annual historical emissions are calculated for the country as a whole. But it falls to 20th place if emissions are calculated per capita. Meanwhile, the six countries with the highest current per capita emissions are all from the Middle East; they rank above all the developed countries that are currently considered Annex II (contributor) nations. But these countries rank lower for total emissions given their smaller size.

Developed countries are also questioning who should receive the funds. They want to tailor support to countries that are most vulnerable to climate impacts or that have the most ambitious climate action commitments. Meanwhile, developing countries have reiterated that they should all be eligible to receive finance to enable implementation of their NDCs and National Adaptation Plans.

3) Choosing an Appropriate Time Frame

Another topic under debate is what time period the new climate finance goal will cover — that is, how much time developed countries will have to meet the target. The time frame negotiators select will influence the size of the goal and how to monitor progress. Most countries have expressed the need to have clear start and end dates, with proposed time frames varying from five years to 10 or 20 years. There are pros and cons to each.

A five-year time frame could more closely link the NCQG to the Paris Agreement's NDC and Global Stocktake (GST) processes, both of which run on five-year cycles. For example, the next round of the NCQG could be informed by the latest round of NDCs updates in 2025 and the second GST in 2028.

A longer time frame, in the 10-20-year range, could provide countries with a more stable and predictable indication of the targets they need to aim for. But the further-off horizon makes it more difficult to project how much finance will be needed, factoring in inflation, shifting costs of technology and future climate impacts.

One solution to these challenges could be to incorporate interim revision cycles (for example, every five years) within a medium- or long-term time frame. This could offer the stability and predictability of a longer time frame, while also maintaining some flexibility to help account for the evolving needs and priorities of developing countries. But reopening negotiations on the NCQG during revision cycles has the potential to cause additional delays and complexity.

4) Addressing All Three Pillars of Climate Action: Adaptation, Mitigation and Loss and Damage

The $100 billion goal covers climate-related activities under two categories: mitigation (efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions) and adaptation (efforts to build resilience to climate impacts). But even with increased action to curb climate change and build resilience, countries will continue to face losses and damages from climate impacts that are already here. "Loss and damage" refers to the impacts that go beyond what communities can adapt to, such as the loss of homes and lives during severe storms.

Flood waters engulf the streets and buildings of Novo Hamburgo, Brazil in May 2024. As climate-driven disasters continue to intensify, countries need more loss and damage funding to address the impacts they cannot realistically adapt to. Photo by Cid Guedes/iStock

Whether or not the NCQG will cover loss and damage is still under debate. Developing country negotiators, in particular, suggest that the NCGQ should cover loss and damage in addition to mitigation and adaptation. They recommend creating subgoals for both adaptation and loss and damage to ensure that these areas receive adequate finance.

The first-ever Global Stocktake showed that developing countries face a significant challenge in funding loss and damage. Economic costs alone are estimated to reach between $447-$894 billion per year by 2030. And that's without factoring in non-economic losses and damages, such as the loss of cultural heritage. The Stocktake "urges" developed countries and "encourages" other countries to provide support for activities to address loss and damage. Many assessments of global climate finance needs, including the IHLEG's, already include loss and damage in their estimates.

Developed nations, however, argue that loss and damage funding is voluntary and covered under a different part of the negotiation process.

5) Defining Scope of the NCQG and Its Relationship to Article 2.1(c) of the Paris Agreement

Article 9 of the Paris Agreement recognizes that developed countries are primarily responsible for providing climate finance to developing nations. But the Agreement also includes another finance goal, Article 2.1(c), which calls for all countries to make "finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient development." Countries have already decided that the NCQG will aim to contribute to the achievement of Article 2.1(c) in some way. The question now is how.

A broader alignment of financial flows will need engagement from all governments to shift both international finance and domestic public and private resources. Developed country parties tend to emphasize that the NCQG should recognize this responsibility of all parties — including developing countries — in some way. Meanwhile, developing countries generally argue that this broader 'shifting of flows' is not part of NCQG negotiations and should be discussed in separate negotiations specifically focused on Article 2.1(c).

One way forward, supported primarily by developed countries, involves embedding the core NCQG commitment within a broader commitment by all parties to work toward aligning all financial flows with the Paris Agreement's goals. The inner layer would consist of funds provided by developed countries, along with any new contributors, to a group of recipients (potentially a subset of developing countries). The outer layer, referred to as the "global investment goal," would aim to engage all countries working together to shift financial systems. What this would look like in practice is still under discussion.

The image below outlines a way to view the different types of finance and the role of the different types of governments involved. "Provision" refers to the transfer of international public funds from developed to developing countries for climate action. "Mobilization" refers to governments deliberately shifting private finance toward climate action in developing nations. "Alignment" refers to ensuring, through policy frameworks and enabling environments, that all finance flows in all geographies, regardless of source, support or do not contravene climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

6) Designing the NCQG to Support High-quality Climate Finance

Beyond the dollar amount of the NCQG, the quality of the finance delivered is also important. "High-quality" climate finance mechanisms ensure that the funding can be used most effectively and efficiently.

Parties have emphasized that the NCQG should consider:

  • Concessionality: Concessional finance is funding provided with more attractive rates and conditions compared to the market. This is particularly relevant when about half of the 50 most climate-vulnerable nations globally are in or at high risk of debt distress, restricting their access to market-rate finance. The IHLEG has stated that a five-fold increase in concessional finance is needed by 2030. This includes not only bilateral concessional finance, but also funds from high integrity carbon markets (compliance and voluntary); rechanneling of special drawing rights, international taxation; and philanthropy, including from the corporate sector. Developing countries are calling for more concessional finance compared to what they received under the $100 billion goal, particularly for adaptation.
  • Accessibility: Accessibility refers to the ease with which countries can access public and private international climate finance. Many developing countries have pointed out that current processes are complex and time consuming, especially for funding that goes through multilateral institutions like the international climate funds or multilateral development banks. They ask that the NCQG include a commitment to ensuring that funding is made more accessible. This could involve, for example, greater donor coordination at the national level, improved harmonization of standards, reduced transaction costs, reduced processing times and timely disbursement.
  • Predictability: Developing country negotiators emphasize that a successful NCQG should be predictable, with clear, quantified financial targets and timelines. They argue that knowing the amount of finance available, when it will be disbursed, and through which potential financial instruments can allow beneficiaries to better plan for the implementation of their climate-related investments in line with national policies and international commitments.
  • Effectiveness: Developed countries emphasize the importance of using funds 'effectively,' meaning for climate-related purposes that bring about measurable impact. They stress that funding should be used for its intended climate purposes and that the funds should result in clear impacts on resilience and emissions. Measuring effectiveness, however, remains challenging.
7) Implementing Transparent Processes to Track Progress

When the $100 billion goal was agreed in 2009, there was no institutionalized mechanism to hold developed countries accountable for fulfilling it. This led to significant frustration amongst developing countries when the goal was not met on time.

At COP26 in 2021, the UNFCCC's Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) was tasked with assessing progress towards the $100 billion goal. The new climate finance goal is likely to incorporate such tracking mechanisms from the outset. Countries generally agree that NCQG reporting could leverage existing instruments within the Paris Agreement, specifically the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF).

According to the ETF's Modalities, Procedures and Guidelines, developed countries shall provide information on financial support, including the underlying assumptions, methodologies and definitions used in their reporting. This framework would allow the international community, including recipient countries, to monitor progress towards the new goal and seek to hold contributors accountable for their commitments. It may also provide a framework against which those providing climate finance outside of the NCQG — including, for example, through the MDBs and bilaterally — might be able to report their contributions. This could allow for a clearer and more predictable overall picture of financing flows.

For this to work, Parties to the Paris Agreement must adopt a mandate authorizing the ETF to monitor flows toward the new climate finance goal. In addition, the SCF could be charged with developing progress reports on the NCQG, as it was mandated to for the $100 billion goal. Developing countries have also suggested that there should be additional clarity as to what can be reported as climate finance under the NCQG.

Reaching Agreement on the NCQG at COP29 is Crucial to Unlocking More Ambitious Climate Action

The final NCQG needs to have an ambitious and deliverable financial commitment. It should include clear rules defining who will contribute, for what purpose, over what timeframe and how progress will be monitored.

These negotiations are not easy; each element under technical debate comes with its own political challenges. But there are possible paths forward.

One challenge of the NCQG is that the negotiations have surfaced an array of complex topics, not all of which can be addressed within the NCQG context. Some decisions relevant to the new goal will need to be made outside of UNFCCC negotiations, including within fora such as the G20 and through the governance mechanisms of climate funds, development banks and other development finance institutions. In these spaces, greater emphasis is placed on the need to integrate climate, development and nature finance and implementation. But the negotiated NCQG text can provide clear guidance and direction. 

This is a pivotal opportunity for countries to acknowledge challenges, build upon what they've learned from the $100 billion goal, and ensure that increased climate investment goes hand-in-hand with sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Ultimately, increased climate and development finance is key to ensuring that developing countries can make more ambitious climate commitments and deal with loss and damage. Adopting a strong NCQG at COP29 will set the foundation to rebuild and strengthen trust in the international climate finance system. And it will promote solidarity between developed and developing countries at a critical moment for climate action.

solar-mini-grid-mali.jpg Finance Finance climate finance international climate policy Type Explainer Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Natalia Alayza Gaia Larsen David Waskow
margaret.overholt@wri.org

Could the Carbon Removal Industry Reach a Tipping Point that Triggers Rapid and Nonlinear Growth?

3 semanas 2 días ago
Could the Carbon Removal Industry Reach a Tipping Point that Triggers Rapid and Nonlinear Growth? shannon.paton@… Wed, 05/29/2024 - 12:00 .cdr-tipping-point-table td { background-color: #b2d7dd; } .cdr-tipping-point-table th { background-color: #7ebcc6; }

The most authoritative climate scientists have made it clear that all pathways which limit warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) will require carbon removal alongside deep and rapid emissions reductions. Estimates vary, but most include multiple billions of tonnes of technological carbon removal annually by midcentury.

Technological carbon dioxide removal (CDR, or carbon removal) includes many different types of processes and technologies that remove carbon dioxide directly from the air and permanently store it. Direct air capture, for example, uses fans to push air over chemicals that scrub CO2 from the air, after which it can be stored underground, while carbon mineralization accelerates natural rock weathering reactions that take up and permanently store CO2. As the world moves toward net zero, carbon removal will be needed to compensate for residual emissions for which emissions reduction approaches are technologically or otherwise infeasible.

However, carbon removal technologies and approaches are not yet used at scale. While policy and investment momentum has grown significantly in the past five years, today, less than 1% of even the lowest projected need for technological carbon removal is being met. This indicates a large carbon removal gap between the amount of carbon removal happening at present and what will likely be needed to achieve net-zero emissions globally. Getting on track to meet both near-term and midcentury targets would mean drastically accelerating the recent rates of growth for technological carbon removal.

We know that enormous gaps between present trends and future needs are common across many indicators of climate action. However, for many climate solutions — particularly those reliant on technologies — large-scale diffusion of the solution may occur more quickly after the sector crosses “positive tipping points” that can trigger rapid and nonlinear growth.

So, can the technological carbon removal industry reach such tipping points? If so, what kinds of supportive policy, financing and infrastructure interventions can be implemented to reach them?

What Does It Take to Reach a Positive Tipping Point?

A positive tipping point is a point at which reinforcing feedback loops acting within a social system, such as a sector, trigger transformational change of that system. These reinforcing or “positive” feedback loops can take many forms, but are generally understood as scenarios in which some increase in a given variable leads to further increases in that same variable, thus driving rapid and nonlinear change. For instance, a reinforcing feedback loop is at play when greater deployment of a technology leads to lower costs, and then those lower costs lead to even greater deployment.

Where does technological carbon removal stand today? And where does the industry need to be to align with limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C? Explore current progress for the industry at Systems Change Lab.

Consider renewable energy technologies. When individuals, companies and governments purchase and install renewable energy technology, developers of that technology are incentivized to continue innovating to improve it and meet growing demand. As they innovate, they may discover inefficiencies in their supply chains and processes which can be reduced to save money. This allows the price of the renewable energy technology to fall, and further incentivizes new buyers to install the technology, thus starting the loop again.

Specific types of positive feedback loops that can trigger a social tipping point include:

Learning by doing

Where the deployment of a technology leads to greater innovation that improves the product and lowers the cost as production is optimized, this increases the net benefits and encourages further deployment.

Economies of scale

Where increased scale of production spreads fixed costs across greater volumes, and leads to more effective division of labor, this lower unit-costs of production and in turn encourages increased rate of output.

Technological reinforcement

Where the more something is used, the more additional technologies or practices emerge that make it more useful.

Network and coordination efforts

Where the more economic agents take a similar action, the greater the advantages to others of doing the same.

Self-reinforcing expectations

Where expectations on future market size trigger investments that grow the market, therefore meeting/exceeding expectations and triggering further investment.

Contagion of social norms

Where new solutions can spread rapidly through social communication after crossing into early majority adoption (also referred to as Roger’s Law.)

Source: Hepburn et al. 2020 and Lenton et al. 2022, as summarized by Systemiq.

When these reinforcing feedback loops are at play within a system, conditions are ripe for rapid and nonlinear growth in adoption of a technology to take off, as one positive development leads to another. Use of targeted interventions to address barriers can help accelerate movement toward these reinforcing feedback loops. Depending on a technology’s development stage, such interventions can be enacted through public policy – for example research, development and demonstration (RD&D) funding, awareness raising, demand creation and more.

Can the Carbon Removal Industry Experience Reinforcing Feedback Loops?

When considering the potential for a system like the technological carbon removal industry to cross a positive tipping point, we can search for reinforcing feedback loops within that system – and identify what barriers they face and what policy or other interventions could accelerate reaching them.

Although nascent, growing evidence suggests that today’s emerging carbon removal industry could experience some of these positive feedback loops, which we know to be prerequisite for a larger positive tipping point phenomenon.

Learning by doing

For instance, carbon removal technologies may benefit from “learning by doing” feedbacks, where costs spiral downward as increases in demand drive innovation. As these costs decline, demand increases further, leading to faster and faster growth. This positive feedback has been present in many technological growth trajectories of the past, including household refrigerators, cars and cellphones, each of which have experienced rapid and nonlinear historical growth trajectories.

Some low-carbon technologies are seeing similar adoption trajectories today. For example, solar and wind technologies, which are now the cheapest forms of new-build electricity generation for two-thirds of the world’s population, continue to grow at rapid, nonlinear rates. For carbon removal, recent analysis suggests that innovation and efficiency improvements may drive cost declines of up to 60% by 2035, after which costs will continue to fall further.

Economies of scale

“Economies of scale” feedbacks — where increased production leads to lower per-unit costs and greater output — may also kick in for some carbon removal technologies, such as modular direct air capture (DAC) systems which involve many identical stacked capture units.

For example, Climeworks commissioned a 36,000-tonne-per-year DAC plant, known as Mammoth, in May 2024. This is a roughly ten-fold scale up of its earlier Orca DAC plant, which captured 4,000 tonnes per year and before May was the largest commercial DAC facility in the world. Learnings from Orca allowed Mammoth to reduce capital expenditures by 10%-20%, increase recovery efficiency by 15%, and reduce operation and maintenance costs by 2-fold, as noted by Climeworks’ CEO at the Mammoth plant’s unveiling. This growth trajectory, along with cost and technological improvements, indicates that economies of scale and learning by doing feedbacks are likely at work.

Self-reinforcing expectations

The growing carbon removal industry may also experience “self-reinforcing expectations loops.” These happen when expectations of future market size trigger investments that grow the market, therefore meeting or exceeding expectations and prompting further investment. The last several years have seen an explosion of interest in CDR technologies, with research papers on the subject, patents for removal technologies and social dialogue about CDR all growing rapidly. As interest and investment in these still relatively niche technologies has grown across different stakeholder groups, many have projected an enormous future market and are making large investments accordingly.

In 2022, a coalition of companies including Stripe, Meta and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) launched Frontier. Frontier is an advance market commitment to buy more than $1 billion of technological CDR from suppliers between 2022 and 2030. Because this supply does not yet exist, the group’s stated goal is to “send a strong demand signal to researchers, entrepreneurs and investors that there is a growing market for these technologies.” The idea is that this will stimulate increased development and delivery of technological CDR to build the market that has been projected.

It’s important to note that while purchases of carbon dioxide removal are beginning to experience nonlinear growth, the amount of carbon actually being removed is increasing more slowly, because these purchases are generally for removal to be delivered at a later date. As more years of data become available, growth trends for delivered carbon removal will become clearer.

Targeted Interventions Can Help Activate Positive Tipping Points

As the authors of The Global Tipping Points Report argue, positive feedback loops and social tipping points don’t “just happen.” Actors in both the public and private sectors must work to actively enable them “by stimulating innovation, shaping markets, regulating business and educating and mobilizing the public.”

There are a variety of theories about how to effectively enable reinforcing feedback loops that can lead to positive tipping points. Many of these boil down to strategic policy interventions which improve the affordability, attractiveness and accessibility of a solution. In other words, these are policy and financing measures that render desirable solutions (1) less costly, (2) more popular and socially desirable, and (3) well-supported by required enabling infrastructure.

Here’s what it could take to achieve these goals for the carbon removal industry.

Lowering costs

Technological carbon removal solutions are costly today, and both government and private sector actors have a role to play in lowering these costs. For the government, potential interventions include funding for RD&D projects; incentives such as tax credits to support deployment; government procurement of technological CDR to help build the market; and, potentially in the longer term, compliance policy that would require certain entities to purchase CDR.

The U.S. federal government is an early adopter here. It has already increased annual funding for research and development of carbon removal (up to $140 million in 2023) and is providing $3.5 billion in demonstration funding for four million-tonne scale DAC hubs. It also enhanced the 45Q tax credit, which provides deployment support of $130-$180 per tonne of carbon dioxide captured via direct air capture and stored or used beneficially. The Department of Energy is also undertaking the first direct government procurement program for carbon removal over the next several years.

Private sector interventions can also help reduce costs and build the carbon removal market. These include advance market commitments like Frontier’s as well as prize competitions that stimulate innovation, such as XPRIZE’s $100 million CDR challenge.

Building awareness and trust to improve attractiveness and accessibility

Unlike many other climate technologies, carbon removal is relatively new and unknown. It is also often complex and technical. Communication, education and awareness-building are therefore the first steps to enhancing public perception and increasing the attractiveness of technological CDR solutions. This is especially difficult today, as there are currently few operational projects across the spectrum of approaches. But as more projects become operational, there will be opportunities to point to examples on the ground, which could help address this information gap.

As CDR projects are being developed, prioritizing early and consistent community and stakeholder engagement in potential host communities can help ensure long-term success. Potential host communities need to be aware of details and expected impacts — both negative and positive —associated with potential projects to be able to make decisions about whether they will support it and what level of involvement they want in the process. Mechanisms like legally binding community benefits agreements can codify benefits that will be provided and hold project developers accountable.

Community engagement may also improve project outcomes when community members can provide local knowledge. For instance, in the case of a proposed ocean CDR project, community members could provide information about existing ocean activity like fishing and shipping, dynamics of local fish stocks, and ideas on where and how projects could be sited to minimize negative impacts. This could all help inform the design and implementation of a project.

Simultaneously, trust and public perception of CDR technologies may be improved through policy interventions like adoption of oversight standards for measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of carbon removal. Consistent and credible MRV is needed to provide accountability to project developers by ensuring that any removals that are occurring are being accurately quantified and transparently reported. When this accountability infrastructure has been built, technologies are likely to become more accessible to developers and buyers that are committed to demonstrating that the CDR they’ve built or purchased is driving permanent removal and storage.

Unique Challenges in the Carbon Removal Industry

Several factors unique to the CDR industry could, however, make it more challenging to achieve positive tipping points compared to other technologies, such as solar PV or electric vehicles, which are already following nonlinear growth trajectories.

First, carbon removal is not replacing an incumbent technology with a lower-carbon alternative that provides the same service (unlike coal and gas being replaced by solar power, or internal combustion engines being replaced by EVs). It is, above all, a public good of atmospheric clean-up that doesn’t have a ready market — unlike electricity or transportation. This means that there isn’t a built-in market for carbon removal; instead, demand must be created through policy or other mechanisms that incentivize or compel people to purchase carbon removal. So, the role of policy – to create demand and support RD&D – in achieving a positive tipping point for carbon removal is likely to be outsized compared to other types of clean technology.

Second, carbon removal includes many different types of technologies and approaches. Not all of these will be equally impacted by the reinforcing feedback loops which may materialize across the industry.

Hover over each approach to learn more.

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Note: The natural/ biotic and technological/ abiotic categorization is not definitive but is meant to illustrate the range of approaches. Approaches closer to the technological end of the spectrum may be more susceptible to non-linear growth and adoption.

tippy.setDefaults({ theme: 'light', placement: 'right', }) tippy('#a1', { content: 'Afforestation and reforestation:
Growing trees to restore forests and expand tree cover in un-forested areas.', }); tippy('#a2', { content: 'Soil carbon sequestration:
A range of agricultural techniques and practices that can increase the ability of soils to sequester and store carbon.', }); tippy('#a3', { content: 'Biochar:
A process of heating biomass without oxygen to turn embodied carbon within the biomass into a kind of charcoal that resists decay and can be used as a soil additive.', }); tippy('#a4', { content: 'Biomass carbon removal and storage:
Range of processes and applications that use biomass and store its embodied carbon.', }); tippy('#a5', { content: 'Carbon mineralization:
Range of applications that use reactive minerals in rocks to chemically bind with and store CO2 as a solid.', }); tippy('#a6', { content: 'Direct air capture:
Machines that use chemicals to react with and capture CO2 in the air; CO2 can then be stored underground or used in durable products.', }); tippy('#b1', { content: 'Coastal wetland restoration:
Restoring mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses, which are natural carbon sinks.', }); tippy('#b2', { content: 'Seaweed cultivation:
Growing seaweed, which sequesters carbon through photosynthesis, then sinking it to the deep ocean or using it in durable products.', }); tippy('#b3', { content: 'Artificial upwelling and downwelling:
Moving seawater upward to stimulate phytoplankton growth and eventual storage of that carbon or down to accelerate natural movement of carbon-rich surface water to depth' }); tippy('#b4', { content: 'Artificial downwelling:
Moving surface water to a depth where more dissolved inorganic carbon can be held.', }); tippy('#b5', { content: 'Nutrient fertilization:
Adding materials like nitrogen, phosphorus or iron to areas where it is a limiting nutrient to phytoplankton growth — a portion of embodied carbon in the phytoplankton is then expected to naturally cycle to the deep ocean for storage.', }); tippy('#b6', { content: 'Alkalinity enhancement:
A form of carbon mineralization; adding certain types of crushed rock to react with dissolved CO2 in seawater and increase levels of dissolved inorganic carbon.', }); tippy('#b7', { content: 'Electrochemical CO2 removal:
Using electricity to accelerate mineralization reactions or directly strip CO2 from seawater.', });

For example, some types of direct air capture systems are modular, with identical units that can be produced in rapid succession. These technologies could see prices fall as production increases and becomes more streamlined and optimized. But other carbon removal approaches do not involve the same kinds of manufacturing or repeatable processes. For example, enhanced rock weathering involves adding crushed alkaline minerals to agricultural fields to react with and lock away CO2. This requires more case-by-case characterization of different feedstock materials and agricultural lands to understand the most effective way to apply material to maximize removals.

Lastly, while rapidly increasing technological carbon removal is necessary to meet global climate goals, governments must ensure that it is scaled up in a responsible way that minimizes negative impacts and maximizes benefit for people, the climate and the environment. If the carbon removal industry achieves a tipping point and reaches global CDR targets for midcentury, but relies on unsustainable amounts of biomass that threaten food security and biodiversity, or exacerbates water scarcity, or is used to offset continued fossil fuels production, we’ll still be far from securing a climate-safe future. Robust governance and regulatory guardrails will be critical to ensure that CDR projects are done sustainably, equitably, and don’t take the place of emissions reductions efforts.

Looking Ahead

Technological carbon removal will be needed — at up to a multi-billion-tonne scale within the next several decades — to help reach a net-zero emissions future and avert the worst of the climate crisis. As the carbon removal industry scales up over the coming years, reinforcing feedback loops such as learning by doing, economies of scale and self-reinforcing expectations loops could potentially trigger positive tipping points that unlock exponential growth.

But governments and regulators must be actively involved in driving this progress. The industry will ultimately be dictated by policy or other interventions that require scale-up and purchase of CDR, so targeted policy interventions that improve these nascent technologies’ affordability, attractiveness and accessibility will be paramount.

carbon-removal-dac-plant.jpg Climate Climate carbon removal industry Type Technical Perspective Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Clea Schumer Katie Lebling
shannon.paton@wri.org

STATEMENT: Approximately 3,100 More Electric School Buses To Bring A Clean Ride For Kids Thanks To Clean School Bus Program Funding

3 semanas 2 días ago
STATEMENT: Approximately 3,100 More Electric School Buses To Bring A Clean Ride For Kids Thanks To Clean School Bus Program Funding casey.skeens@wri.org Wed, 05/29/2024 - 09:30

WASHINGTON (MAY 29, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding to bring approximately 3,100 more electric school buses to students nationwide. The $900 million in total rebate funding announced through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $5 Billion Clean School Bus Program will help remove dirty diesel-burning school buses in approximately 530 school districts.  

The funding announcement comes in response to the continued outpouring of demand for clean rides to school: more than 900 applicants chose to apply for approximately $1.7 billion in funding. Of the 3,400 school buses awarded in this round, 92% are electric school buses.  

Crucially, approximately 67% of funding overall went to recipients designated as priority districts in EPA’s application process, including high-need districts, districts in low-income areas, certain rural districts and districts funded by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education.

Following is a statement by Sue Gander, Director, WRI’S Electric School Bus Initiative:  

“The EPA’s school bus program has been nothing short of transformative. With this new funding, tens of thousands more children will no longer have to breathe in toxic pollution on their way to and from school. They will have a cleaner ride.  

“Thanks in large part to this program and its focus on low-income, rural and Tribal communities, the majority of these newly-awarded electric school buses are headed to districts in historically underserved areas. We’re seeing an increase in electric school buses in low-income communities and areas with the highest levels of air pollution.

“Well over half of all the electric school buses on the road or on their way have been supported by the Clean School Bus Program. The impact of this program has been transformative. We’ve seen a step change in electric school bus adoption rates, increased manufacturing capacity, and states introducing their own supportive policies and funding.

“It’s no surprise that districts are lining up for electric school buses. They offer the greatest air quality and climate benefits of all school bus types, alongside lower operating costs. With the funding awarded today, and reduced fueling and maintenance costs, school districts switching to electric school buses can expect to see significant savings on their transportation budgets, potentially up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings per electric school bus. That’s money we can invest back into classrooms.

“We continue to be grateful for the advocates and community members working to advance equitable electrification and the school districts across the country getting onboard with electric school buses. We look forward to working with EPA as they continue to implement the Clean School Bus Program.”

Additional Details:

This is the third round of funding awarded through the Clean School Bus Program. The initial two rounds, a rebate and grant competition, awarded nearly $1 billion each, which supported nearly 5,000 electric school buses. With today’s announcement, the program has awarded over its lifetime close to $3 billion in funding to support 1,000 school districts across the country in the purchase of 8,500 cleaner school buses.  

Electric school buses offer economic, health and climate benefits compared to their fossil fuel-burning counterparts. On average, each electric school bus offers approximately $100,000 in fuel and maintenance savings over the lifetime of the bus, compared to an equivalent diesel-burning school bus.  

Electric school buses also reduce students’ vulnerability to harmful health impacts of pollutants found in diesel exhaust – including  increased risk for cancer, asthma and heart disease. Electric school buses have zero tailpipe emissions of harmful air pollutants and the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any school bus type, even when accounting for emissions from the generation of electric power. 

Electric Mobility electric school bus series Type Statement Exclude From Blog Feed? 0
casey.skeens@wri.org

STATEMENT: OECD Report Shows Developed Countries Met the $100B Goal for First Time

3 semanas 2 días ago
STATEMENT: OECD Report Shows Developed Countries Met the $100B Goal for First Time casey.skeens@wri.org Wed, 05/29/2024 - 09:12

WASHINGTON, DC (May 29, 2024) — Today the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report that confirmed that the $100 billion climate finance goal was met for the first time in 2022. This commitment, first made in 2009 in Copenhagen, was reaffirmed in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement and covers the period from 2020 to 2025. The $100 billion goal is meant to be replaced with a new global climate finance goal at the COP29 climate summit in Baku, Azerbaijan in November.

The following is a statement from Melanie Robinson, Global Climate, Economics and Finance Director, World Resources Institute:

"This report is significant because it marks the first time the OECD has confirmed that the $100 billion climate finance goal has been fully met. While the annual goal was achieved two years later than agreed, reaching this milestone is nonetheless encouraging news coming just before climate negotiators reassemble in Bonn.

“While fully reaching the $100 billion annual goal is worth celebrating, the funding needed to come to grips with the climate crisis in the years ahead goes well beyond this amount. Tackling climate change will require unprecedented measures to deeply decarbonize every sector of the economy, conserve and restore nature, and better protect people, communities and supply chains from increasingly severe climate impacts. For many developing countries, making this transition will be impossible without considerably greater flows of finance than we see today. While domestic finance, strong policies and private finance are important, for these countries, international public finance needs to play a lynchpin role.  

“Addressing this major funding gap is the top priority when the world comes together at the COP29 summit to negotiate a new global goal for climate finance for the first time in fifteen years. Success in Baku goes beyond just securing a much larger top-line dollar figure. For instance, it is crucial that the new climate finance goal ensures that funding is accessible and doesn’t burden developing countries with more unsustainable debt. And there must be strong measures in place to report progress, hold countries accountable for meeting their obligations on time and increase transparency of all climate finance.  

“The outcome of the climate summit in Baku will have immediate knock-on effects, coming just months before countries submit their new national climate commitments under the Paris Agreement. If countries deliver an ambitious climate finance goal in Baku, developing countries in need of international climate finance will be in a much better position to put forward bold climate commitments and help keep global temperatures in check.” 

International Climate Action climate finance Finance Type Statement Exclude From Blog Feed? 0
casey.skeens@wri.org

Detroit, Varanasi, Venice Chosen to Host Global Challenges in $9-Million Sustainable Cities Challenge

3 semanas 3 días ago
Detroit, Varanasi, Venice Chosen to Host Global Challenges in $9-Million Sustainable Cities Challenge ciara.regan@wri.org Tue, 05/28/2024 - 14:12

Detroit, Michigan; Varanasi, India and Venice, Italy have been selected to host innovation challenges as part of the Toyota Mobility Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Challenge, with World Resources Institute (WRI) and Challenge Works. The goal of the $9-million global initiative is to help cities accelerate toward sustainable mobility, fostering healthier and safer urban environments while enhancing people's ability to commute, work, study and access services. The cities were chosen from a shortlist of 10 cities announced in November 2023.

Over 150 cities from 46 countries entered the Challenge after the call to cities was first launched in June 2023 and over the last months, the list was narrowed to 10 and now three cities. The City Challenges will be launched for innovator entry over the next two months, inviting global innovators to access a share of $3 million in funding per city to demonstrate their solutions.

Detroit, Michigan, US

Known worldwide as the “Motor City,” Detroit is working to show the world that sustainable mobility is part of what makes this motor move by seeking innovators who can help the city deploy clean and cost-effective mobility solutions as part of this transition.

The Challenge is focused on Eastern Market, ​​​​the nation's largest food production and distribution center, where a growing residential and commercial presence means that the city wants to explore solutions that help preserve the health and well-being of the Eastern Market community as it carries through with expansion plans. More specifically, the Detroit City Challenge will seek solutions that reduce fossil fuel use and cut costs of freight operations in the Eastern Market, by increasing efficiencies and unlocking opportunities for clean freight technologies.

Tim Slusser, Chief of Detroit’s Office of Mobility Innovation, said, “We’re excited and honored to be one of just three cities in the world selected for the Sustainable Cities Challenge. As the only city chosen in the western hemisphere, Detroit represents over one hundred years of world-renowned innovations in transportation. As Detroit continues to grow, we want to learn how to address the ways that freight and industry can be more sustainable, while also supporting the economy in thriving areas such as our Eastern Market — especially in very cold conditions.” He added, “We look forward to building out the groundwork for this project and what the next stage brings!”

The Detroit City Challenge will launch on Wednesday, May 29, 2024.

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Varanasi is located on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India and is the “spiritual capital” of India. A revered pilgrimage destination, the city sees visitors from across India as well as abroad. This influx of visitors, while vital to strengthening the city’s tapestry of faith and culture, is leading to increased concerns about safety and crowding. The Varanasi City Challenge aims to generate innovative, data-driven solutions incorporating elements of technology and design that make crowded areas of Varanasi's old city (Kashi) safer and more accessible for religious tourists and local residents alike, including vulnerable members of the population like the elderly and people with disabilities.

Akshat Verma, IAS, Municipal Commissioner/CEO of Varanasi Municipal Corporation/Varanasi Smart City, said, “Participating in the Toyota Mobility Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Challenge presents an exciting prospect for Varanasi. This initiative offers us a valuable chance to explore technical and design-related avenues for enhancing mobility within our city, benefiting both our residents and the growing influx of tourists.” He added, “By collaborating with innovative minds, we aim to bolster Varanasi’s reputation as a premier global tourist destination. We eagerly anticipate the opportunity to work closely with TMF, their partners, and experts to achieve this goal.”

The Varanasi City Challenge will launch in late June 2024.

Venice, Veneto, Italy

Venice is often pictured solely as a historic city famous for its intricate network of canals. Nevertheless, the majority of the population lives and works in the mainland suburbs such as Mestre, Maghera and other motorized islands, which serve as a crucial transportation hub connecting Venice to the mainland and beyond.

With a mobility landscape that is truly multi-modal, including land and water transport, the city has invested significantly in sustainable mobility infrastructure and services. In the Venice City Challenge, the city seeks innovative solutions that shift behavior, encouraging an increased use and adoption of existing sustainable transport modes.

Paola Ravenna, Head of the European Policies Department for Venice, said, “The Sustainable Cities Challenge is a chance for us to think about mobility in Venice in a new way that puts innovation at the forefront. Being part of the Challenge has already ignited fresh thinking about our existing barriers and opportunities and how innovators can play a key part in the solution.”

The Venice City Challenge will launch on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

City Challenges

The three City Challenges will focus on different areas of sustainable mobility relevant to their specific context, spanning the expansion of access to safe, affordable and inclusive modes of transportation. Potential solutions could harness the power of data to create connected and resilient mobility or ecosystems or reduce environmental impact through low-carbon and renewable solutions.

The three cities have been working with Toyota Mobility Foundation alongside Challenge Works and WRI to finalize their Challenges. They are focusing on areas of their respective mobility barriers that could be best addressed through open innovation. They have been consulting with local organizations and wider stakeholders to inform the design of their respective Challenges.

Innovators from across the globe with solutions ready to be tested are invited to respond to the specific issues of each city as each City Challenge launches over the next two months. The innovative solutions that best meet the needs of the city (or the criteria for the City Challenges), will be selected to be supported. Together, the cities and selected innovators will test, further develop and deploy solutions using real-world data, with access to transportation departments and infrastructure.

The Sustainable Cities Challenge is funded by the Toyota Mobility Foundation and has been designed in partnership with Challenge Works and WRI to bring cities and innovators together to develop sustainable, inclusive, data-driven mobility solutions fit for the future.

Ben Welle, Director of Integrated Transport and Innovation at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, said, “Detroit, Varanasi and Venice all have distinct mobility barriers, but they also share the same circumstances and concerns with many other cities around the world. Their involvement in the Sustainable Cities Challenge will allow them to find an area they want to address and ask some of the world’s best innovators to help them tackle it. WRI is proud to be helping the cities in this process.”

Ryan Klem, Director of Programs at the Toyota Mobility Foundation, said, “We are passionate about the freedom of mobility, and the possibilities that mobility brings to individuals and communities. Our hope is that the Sustainable Cities Challenge will provide the great cities of Detroit, Varanasi and Venice with new ideas that can potentially be scaled and replicated around the world, amplifying the impact to transform people’s lives.”

Kathy Nothstine, Head of Future Cities at Challenge Works, said, “This Challenge will help these cities stimulate creative problem-solving to address highly complex barriers to sustainable mobility. We are thrilled to be working with Detroit, Varanasi and Venice to create local Challenges that will invite brilliant innovators around the world to create lasting impact.”

For more, visit the SustainableCitiesChallenge.org.

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ciara.regan@wri.org

Dual Harvest: Agrivoltaics Boost Food and Energy Production in Asia

4 semanas 1 día ago
Dual Harvest: Agrivoltaics Boost Food and Energy Production in Asia alicia.cypress… Thu, 05/23/2024 - 14:43

Every autumn morning at an aquaculture site near the mouth of the Yellow River in China's Dongying City, Shandong Province, farmers begin packaging shrimp for their customers. Their harvest is increasingly more bountiful thanks to an innovative way of farming that integrates renewable energy into agriculture. 

Here, solar photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed several meters above the water, helping to generate an annual 260 gigawatts-hours of energy — enough to power 113,000 households in China. Since its completion and grid connection in 2021, the farmers have also gained many benefits.

Beyond providing clean energy to the fishery, the solar panels keep water temperatures consistently 2 to 3 degrees C (3.6 to 5.4 degrees F) cooler than outdoor ponds without panels, boosting shrimp and sea cucumber yields by 50%. The solar power company that installed the panels leases the space, helping to reduce farming costs while also paying for improvements and modernization to aquaculture site, such as better pond embankments and irrigation systems. 

These developments are crucial for the future growth of the fishery industry in Shandong Province. In 2019, the total economic output of the fishery sector of Shandong Province reached $62.3 billion, representing 15.6% of China’s total fishery output.

Agrivoltaics Boosts Clean Energy and Food Production

The concept of aquaculture-photovoltaic integration is a form of what’s known as agrivoltaics, which typically integrates traditional agricultural practices such as crop cultivation, livestock farming and fisheries with solar PV installations, maximizing the use of available space. This dual-layered system supports the normal production of both food and electricity, thereby allowing income to stream in from both sources.

In a world where global energy demand is soaring and the use of agricultural land for food production is increasingly displaced by renewable energy projects (such as for solar and wind farms, or growing crops such as corn and soy for biofuels), agrivoltaics has emerged as a win-win solution for sustainable energy and agriculture.  

This concept has already been applied throughout the world, including Europe, the United States and parts of Asia.

China’s pioneering efforts since 2011 with more than 500 agrivoltaics projects — including crop cultivation, livestock grazing, aquafarming, greenhouses and tea plantations — according to a forthcoming WRI report, provide significant insights for further expansion across the region. 

For example, countries like Indonesia and the Philippines in Southeast Asia could potentially benefit from agrivoltaics but have yet to implement many significant projects. The region's abundant sunlight and vast agricultural landscapes can harness solar energy while maintaining crop production. There’s also an outsized need in the region to balance its land resources for both clean energy and food production in the face of a growing population and urgency to reduce emissions. 

Solar photovoltaic panels rise above an aquaculture farm in Dongying City, Shandong Province, China. The panels, which not only produce enough energy to power 113,000 houses, help cool temperature waters which has helped to boost shrimp and sea cucumber yields by 50%. Photo by WRI China. The Symbiotic Benefits for Food and Energy Production

In the land-scarce central and eastern regions of China, agrivoltaics emerged after government policies encouraged the development of PV projects, but the same land was needed for food production. So, companies integrated these projects together.

People soon realized that the solar panels could do more than just produce electricity. The panels can offer plants and animals protection from extreme heat and drought by providing partial shade. Studies also indicate agrivoltaics can reduce water evaporation by 30%. Accompanying upgrades to agricultural infrastructure, which can often contribute to the automation and mechanization of the farm, may also help to increase crop yields, especially in areas with excessive sunlight and high temperatures.

The benefits extend to the solar panels as well. Studies show that solar panels mounted over vegetation exhibit considerably lower surface temperatures than those mounted over bare ground. This cooling effect has a direct impact on the solar panels’ efficiency, as modules typically experience efficiency losses ranging from 0.1% to 0.5% for every degree Celsius increase above 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). 

Agrivoltaics can also offer farmers an additional income stream either by leasing the land to solar PV companies or, if the land-agreement is reversed, through cultivating the land at much lower costs, mitigating the impact of fluctuating crop yields and market prices. For example, these leasing agreements provide farmers with a consistent and foreseeable income from the land and obviate the need for farmers to fund the solar installations themselves.

Beyond economic benefits, agrivoltaics can enhance energy independence and reliability. Agrivoltaic systems contribute to decentralized renewable energy generation, which reduces reliance on centralized power grids, especially in rural communities. The development and maintenance of agrivoltaics systems also creates employment opportunities in rural areas — stimulating the local economy and fostering sustainable livelihoods. Furthermore, the co-location of solar panels with agricultural activities optimizes land usage, promoting efficient utilization of renewable energy resources and minimizing land-use conflicts, which have historically taken place after farmland was diverted for renewable energy projects.

Lessons from China’s Agrivoltaics Projects

Examples of agrivoltaics, like a greenhouse project in Hainan and a livestock grazing project in Inner Mongolia, are among the many projects in China that offer invaluable lessons for Southeast Asia and other regions seeking to harness the potential of agrivoltaics. 

Hainan’s Photovoltaic Greenhouses 

In Hainan, China, photovoltaic greenhouses combine solar panels with farming, enhancing crop growth and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing clean electricity to power grids. The solar companies lease land for solar PV project development and simultaneously provide it at no cost to agricultural companies for vegetable cultivation. This approach not only conserves land-leasing expenses, but also ensures year-round production, unaffected by adverse weather, such as typhoons and rainstorms. Current PV greenhouse projects with a total capacity of 2 GW in Hainan are capable of supplying leafy vegetables to around 3 million people, covering about 30% of the province's population, throughout the year. 

Inner Mongolia’s Photovoltaic Livestock Grazing Projects

Inner Mongolia's 1 MW photovoltaic livestock grazing project was established through government grants and private herder investments, pioneering a blend of renewable energy and traditional pastoral practices. This 1 MW solar PV power station, with land leased to a livestock company, generates revenue from electricity sales to the grid, which is distributed as dividends to herders based on their ownership stakes. The annual return rate to herders is 20%, while the rest of the revenue is used for the local community’s infrastructure development.

This successful pilot project has encouraged more herder involvement in PV grazing projects in one of the sunniest regions in China. The grassland area of Inner Mongolia reaches 48.7 million hectares (730 million Chinese mu), accounting for 41% of the total land area in the region and about a fifth of China’s pasture area. Its annual solar radiation is 2,164 kilowatt-hours per square meter, according to the Global Solar Atlas and local government leaders. This makes Inner Mongolia one of the most valuable solar energy regions in China.

Livestock are shaded by the solar panels installed above this livestock grazing project in Inner Mongolia, China. Dividends from the land leased to a solar energy firm have provided income to the herders and the local community. Photo by WRI China. Potential for Expanding Agrivoltaics in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia presents a rich tapestry of opportunities for implementing agrivoltaic projects as well as some challenges. The installed solar capacity in Southeast Asia has already been growing consistently. For instance, in 2023, the solar market in Southeast Asia expanded by 17% compared to 2022, with 3 GW of new installations. This is complemented by a strong pipeline of projects that could significantly enhance the region's solar capacity, indicating a robust future for solar energy development.

However, the successful implementation of agrivoltaic systems in Southeast Asia faces several challenges. Progress in the region is hindered by the convoluted policy framework and the need for strategic land-use planning. In addition, countries like Philippines and Indonesia, which are archipelagic countries, require technology and policies specific to the local politics, the pivotal role of village cooperatives and landscape. 

Some measures to address these challenges could include:

  • Policy Alignment:  A unified policy framework, like what’s observed in France and other countries, could help streamline permit processes and recognize the multifaceted value of agrivoltaics.
  • Local Government Engagement: The active involvement of local governments is crucial for the successful rollout of agrivoltaic projects. Drawing upon the experiences of countries like China, where local government leadership has been instrumental in agrivoltaics success, the Philippines and Indonesia can foster partnerships and alignment between urban developers and local leaders. These partnerships could help catalyze the growth and acceptance of agrivoltaics at the grassroots level, ensuring that projects align with local needs and priorities.
  • Strategic Land Use and Capability Development: Given the relationship between agriculture and solar energy in agrivoltaics, specialized research for each region is essential to gauge the optimal configurations between varied crops and solar installations. Moreover, a detailed case-by-case basis strategy, tailored to the specific conditions and objectives of a country and its investors, is crucial for the successful and sustainable deployment of these systems.
  • Community Cooperation and Ownership: Building upon the Indonesian model of village cooperatives, early and consistent engagement with local communities, coupled with a keen understanding of their needs and aspirations, can foster trust and a collaborative spirit. By intertwining the project's goals with community aspirations, stakeholders can effectively navigate challenges and uncertainties, ensuring that agrivoltaics bring shared benefits to all parties involved. Community ownership and engagement are paramount.
  • Capacity Building and Technical Support: Empowering local stakeholders with the necessary technical knowledge is also important for the long-term sustainability of agrivoltaic systems. Addressing the technical support challenges, especially in far-flung areas, is vital. Establishing regional technology hubs or partnering with educational institutions could help. Such collaborations could not only reduce technical response times, but also elevate the broader understanding of distributed technologies in these regions.
 Achieving a Bright Future for Agrivoltaics in Asia

Agrivoltaics offers a promising solution to the complex task of harmonizing energy production and agriculture. By drawing inspiration from China's experiences and customizing strategies to the local context, this approach could help drive economic growth, promote sustainable energy and deliver environmental benefits.

Realizing the full potential of agrivoltaics will require collaboration, policy alignment and capacity building. But if successful, agrivoltaics can help pave the way to a more sustainable and prosperous future.

Chen Jing, a postdoctoral researcher at Tsinghua University's School of Social Sciences in the Energy Transition and Social Development Research Center, contributed to this article.

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RELEASE: Canada Awards Over CAD$28 Million to Scale Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation in African Cities

1 mes ago
RELEASE: Canada Awards Over CAD$28 Million to Scale Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation in African Cities casey.skeens@wri.org Tue, 05/21/2024 - 17:01

This award will directly benefit over 2 million people in high flood risk areas and indirectly benefit an estimated 7 million residents in African cities.    

Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2024) — The Global Affairs Canada program has awarded CAD$28.7 million (roughly US$21 million) to fund a three-year project that will advance climate adaptation in African cities through nature-based solutions.

The Scaling Urban-Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa (SUNCASA) project is jointly managed by the International Institute for Sustainable development (IISD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), with support from Cities4Forests, and guided by a wide array of local policymakers and stakeholders. This project will implement watershed restoration, urban tree planting,  and conservation actions in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia; Kigali, Rwanda; and Johannesburg, South Africa. These actions will reduce climate-fueled flood risks, increase access to green space, improve gender equity, and support  biodiversity  for over two million people.

“Africa’s cities are the fastest growing in the world. Yet, half of these urban residents are living in informal settlements and are dangerously threatened by climate risks from droughts, floods and extreme heat,” said Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute. “To address these challenges, we must harness the power of nature — trees and other forms of ‘green infrastructure’ that can clean and cool the air, build flood resilience, and improve people’s health and well-being. Canada’s Partnering for Climate Initiative will allow IISD and WRI to work with cities across the continent to mobilize political support, deliver technical assistance, and unlock finance, effectively streamlining the process to scale up nature-based solutions to support vulnerable communities.”

Specific activities were identified through engagements with key stakeholders in each city to identify critical resilience challenges and develop high-impact solutions. This approach aims to scale nature-based solutions across each city and ensure the greatest possible benefit for the most people, particularly in vulnerable communities. 

“Together, we are pleased to support the cities of Johannesburg, Dire Dawa, and Kigali in advancing their climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood priorities through gender-responsive nature-based solutions,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canadian Minister of International Development.

“Despite their wide-ranging benefits for people and the planet, nature-based solutions are not being scaled up enough to fulfill their potential,” said Patricia Fuller, Co-CEO of IISD. “SUNCASA is a tremendous opportunity to advance this cause. IISD is pleased to be applying our experience with nature-based solutions to the management of this project in partnership with WRI, and we look forward to working with our wide array of local partners to implement it for the benefit of communities and ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The SUNCASA project will take a unique approach in each city to address the most pressing challenges. This includes rehabilitating the Dechatu Catchment in Dire Dawa to address water stress, removing invasive species from the Jukskei River Catchment in Johannesburg to reduce flooding and leading restoration efforts in Kigali to protect agricultural lands. Regardless of the approach, these cities are united in employing equitable nature-based solutions to advance the safety and well-being of their residents.

“As Mayor of the Dire Dawa Administration, it is my priority to rally political support for solutions that help our administration address citizens’ vulnerability to climate change-related disasters like rapid onset floods,” said H.E. Kedir Juhar, Mayor of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. “The Dire Dawa Administration welcomes the recent announcement from Global Affairs Canada regarding new funding to support locally led nature-based solutions for the rehabilitation of the Awash River Basin’s Eastern Catchment. This investment means more women and youth at the forefront of our climate adaptation measures, helping to boost water security not only in Dire Dawa but in our neighboring cities as well.”

"Flood protection is a critical aspect of the City of Johannesburg's Water Security Strategy,” said Kabelo Gwamanda, Mayor of Johannesburg. “Exacerbated by climate change and urbanization, flooding poses a significant risk to lives, livelihoods and infrastructure, causing devastation and disruption on a massive scale. Through the protection and restoration of ecosystems, we can address flood risk across the city while enhancing water quality, preserving critical habitats, and safeguarding ecological integrity for generations to come. This is where the SUNCASA project comes into play, as it will implement the nature-based solutions outlined in our strategy."

“The City of Kigali welcomes the recent commitment from the Government of Canada to support the city’s vulnerable communities with the resources they need to increase their climate resilience through Nature-Based Solutions for watershed restoration,” said Kigali’s Lord Mayor Samuel Dusengiyumva. “We look forward to advancing this work with our partners, in alignment with Kigali’s ambitious green development goals, and strengthening communities against climate impacts.” 

Learn more about the project from the Government of Canada’s media release, as well as the international commitments that underpin this project.  

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 200 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries. Learn more at iisd.org

About World Resources Institute    

WRI is a trusted partner for change. Using research-based approaches, we work globally and in focus countries to meet people’s essential needs; to protect and restore nature; and to stabilize the climate and build resilient communities. We aim to fundamentally transform the way the world produces and uses food and energy and designs its cities to create a better future for all.  Founded in 1982, WRI has nearly 2,000 staff around the world, with country offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States and regional offices in Africa and Europe. More information at www.wri.org or on Twitter @WorldResources

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RELEASE: WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities Finalists Showcase Successful Efforts to Build Climate-Ready Communities

1 mes ago
RELEASE: WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities Finalists Showcase Successful Efforts to Build Climate-Ready Communities casey.skeens@wri.org Tue, 05/21/2024 - 01:00

Projects from Buenos Aires, Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, Fortaleza, New York and Oslo stood out for their ambition, impact and replicable ideas for addressing climate change

WASHINGTON, DC (May 21, 2024) — Today, World Resources Institute unveiled five outstanding projects as finalists for the 2023-2024 WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities. This prestigious award recognizes innovative ideas, visionary leaders and transformative projects creating more sustainable and inclusive cities worldwide. Through the Prize, WRI aims to inspire urban change-makers across the globe by elevating trailblazing initiatives and telling impactful stories of sustainable urban transformation.

A total of 200 applicants representing 148 cities and 62 countries responded to this cycle’s call for submissions. Following a year of record-breaking temperatures, WRI selected the theme of “Accelerating Momentum for Climate-Ready Communities,” seeking initiatives addressing the magnitude and urgency of the climate crisis by increasing the speed, scope or scale of action to create inclusive, climate-ready cities.

“Cities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. They are centers of innovation that have an outsized role in securing a safe, resilient future for billions of people around the world,” said Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO of WRI. “Climate impacts are becoming more frequent, extreme and widespread. We need to find and champion the urban innovators responding to climate challenges with the most effective and creative solutions so that others can learn from them and bring transformation to their own communities.”

This cycle’s Prize submissions reveal a diverse global community committed to creating a climate-ready urban future. “While the projects differ vastly in scale, scope and approach, they underscore that just, equitable and people-centered solutions are already driving profound change. We received an impressive array of submissions but five stood out as exceptional in terms of their demonstrated impacts,” said Jen Shin, Global Lead, WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities.

The finalists are:

  • Rodrigo Bueno: Climate-Resilient Housing (Buenos Aires, Argentina):
    The Housing Institute of the city of Buenos Aires is collaborating with residents to provide a suite of housing upgrades in the Rodrigo Bueno barrio, an informal neighborhood with poor access to basic city services and rising flood risks. The upgrading project has constructed hundreds of new energy-efficient homes, improved integration with the rest of the city and fostered local entrepreneurship through a participatory, resilience-focused approach that has now been implemented in other neighborhoods too.
  • Kham River Restoration Initiative (Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar, India):
    EcoSattva, with the Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar Municipal Corporation and Varroc Foundation, is restoring the Kham river, which had become a stream of waste due to sewer leakage and improper solid waste disposal. The project has implemented interventions to build shared public spaces, like community-centered riverfront parks, combined with deep ecological restoration, socially integrated waste management and a city-wide cultural campaign. The result has been a revitalized Kham in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly known as Aurangabad) and new cultural ethic around the ecosystem. The project is now influencing similar river management plans throughout the region.
  • Re-Ciclo (Fortaleza, Brazil):
    CITINOVA, by the city of Fortaleza, is boosting recycling rates with a new project that empowers informal waste pickers to conduct door-to-door collection with specially designed electric cargo tricycles. The project has increased social inclusion and economic opportunities for hundreds of people and contributed to the city’s sustainable transportation agenda at the same time. By integrating waste management systems with informal waste worker programs and electric mobility, Fortaleza is boosting its recycling rates while empowering residents and reshaping public perceptions around recycling and cycling.
  • Green Community Schoolyards (New York City, United States):
    The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the city of New York, is transforming hundreds of asphalt schoolyards into community green spaces. Green Community Schoolyards revitalize school infrastructure and open these spaces to the broader community. The designs enhance flood resilience through critical green infrastructure and are collaboratively designed by schoolchildren and community members. The project ensures neighborhood green spaces for millions and has inspired similar participatory schoolyard design programs across the United States.
  • The Climate Budget (Oslo, Norway):
    The Climate Agency of the city of Oslo is pioneering a climate budgeting project that integrates greenhouse gas emissions tracking and reduction into its annual budget cycle. The resulting process, unique for integrating climate considerations across city sectors, is yielding positive impacts on residents' health and quality of life. The Climate Budget has set a global example as a mechanism for urban climate action and is being replicated by cities around the world.

These outstanding finalists were chosen through a rigorous selection process. Submissions were evaluated and selected based on three broad categories, which submissions demonstrated: large-scale, innovative ideas and novel approaches; life-changing impact on people’s lives, mindsets and behaviors; and ripple effects across and beyond the city. One $250,000-grand prize winner will be selected by an independent world-class jury of leaders in urban affairs, with each of the four runners-up receiving $25,000, and announced at a ceremony in New York City this fall.

"Winners of the WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities serve as powerful examples, illustrating that transformative change is not just a distant dream — it is possible," said Rogier van den Berg, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. "Each finalist presents thoughtful, time-tested solutions to complex challenges. We applaud them for their outstanding impact, not only in their own cities but beyond."

Previous grand prize winners include Todos al Parque (“Everyone to the Park”), Barranquilla, Colombia; Food Production for a Resilient Rosario, an urban agriculture project in Argentina; and SARSAI, which creates safer journeys to school for children in Dar es Salaam and other African cities. These grand prize winners and additional Prize finalists exemplify the vision, coalition-building and perseverance that is essential for creating urban transformation in today’s world.

About World Resources Institute
WRI is a trusted partner for change. Using research-based approaches, we work globally and in focus countries to meet people’s essential needs; to protect and restore nature; and to stabilize the climate and build resilient communities. We aim to fundamentally transform the way the world produces and uses food and energy and designs its cities to create a better future for all. Founded in 1982, WRI has nearly 2,000 staff around the world, with country offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States and regional offices in Africa and Europe. Learn more: WRI.org and on X @WorldResources.

About WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities 
WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities is World Resources Institute’s program dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for everyone. It enables more connected, compact and coordinated cities. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise and on-the-ground impact of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including air quality, water, buildings, land use and energy. Our network of more than 500 experts working from Brazil, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Mexico, Turkey and the United States combine research excellence with on-the-ground impact to make cities around the world better places to live. More information at wri.org/cities or on X @WRIRossCities.

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ADVISORY: WRI Press Call Ahead of Bonn Climate Negotiations

1 mes ago
ADVISORY: WRI Press Call Ahead of Bonn Climate Negotiations casey.skeens@wri.org Fri, 05/17/2024 - 14:41

 

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2024) — Join World Resources Institute (WRI) on Thursday, May 23 at 9:30am EDT / 3:30pm CEST, for a press briefing featuring a panel of experts who will reflect on what to expect from the upcoming climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany on June 3-13 and how they relate to broader efforts to address the climate crisis.  

The Bonn session is an important gathering to work toward landing zones for key issues at COP29, most notably establishing a new global climate finance goal for the first time in fifteen years. Bonn will also be a prime opportunity for countries to set expectations for the next round of national climate commitments due to be submitted in spring 2025 and build on the outcomes from last year’s COP28 summit in Dubai.  

Press call speakers will zero in on hot topics like climate finance, NDCs, long-term climate strategies and Loss and Damage.

WHAT

Press call with WRI experts on what to expect from the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany

WHEN

Thursday, May 23, at 9:30am EDT / 3:30pm CEST

WHO

  • David Waskow, Director, International Climate Action
  • Gaia Larsen, Director, Climate Finance Access, Finance Center
  • Taryn Fransen, Director of Science, Research, and Data, Global Climate Program
  • Nate Warszawski, Research Associate, International Climate Action
  • Moderator: Rhys Gerholdt, Director of Communications & Media Strategy, Climate Program

For any questions, please reach out to Rhys Gerholdt, Communications Director, Climate Program at rhys.gerholdt@wri.org
 

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What Climate-vulnerable Countries Need on the Road to COP29

1 mes ago
What Climate-vulnerable Countries Need on the Road to COP29 alicia.cypress… Thu, 05/16/2024 - 17:10

The people in countries most vulnerable to climate change are facing widespread devastation from the world’s changing climate. Despite contributing the least to climate change and with limited resources to combat the crisis, climate-vulnerable nations in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific, are hit with the heaviest burdens: from cyclones in Bangladesh, to floods in Libya, to wildfires across South America. As global temperatures continue to soar (2023 standing out as the hottest year ever), we confront a future where climate extremes are poised to unleash even more havoc.

The 28th UN climate change conference (COP28) in late 2023 resulted in some productive outcomes, including the launch of the Loss and Damage Fund and a truth-telling Global Stocktake, which made clear that the world must transition away from fossil fuels.

However, a Global Stocktake outcome that merely recognizes challenges without support to address those challenges hardly offers much hope. Studies estimate that developing countries will need trillions of dollars of public and private finance for climate actions by 2030. Climate-vulnerable nations are also disappointed by the insufficient response to climate-related disasters and agree more progress is urgently needed to align with the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degree C (2.7 degree F) target that would prevent the most devastating impacts of climate change. These shortcomings have set the scene for climate negotiations in 2024.

As the world plans for this year’s COP29 — dubbed the “Finance COP” because negotiations for a new climate finance goal will dominate the agenda — there are major opportunities for vulnerable countries to secure the resources and commitments crucial for transitioning to low-emissions economies and building resilience against the impacts of climate change. COP29 needs to be about setting more ambitious climate targets and ensuring that those targets translate into concrete and transparent actions that drive real change.

Priorities for Climate-vulnerable Countries at COP29

Allied for Climate Transformation by 2025 (ACT2025), a coalition of experts and thoughts leaders who amplify the voices of climate-vulnerable developing nations in climate negotiations, has released a Call to Action that explains how countries, particularly developed countries, can take concrete action to support climate-vulnerable countries. These actions, which are imperative to rebuilding trust and solidarity throughout 2024 and at COP29, will need a full-scale commitment by nations to be successful. Here are the top priorities from ACT2025’s Call to Action:

Set an Ambitious New Climate Finance Goal

At COP29, countries will negotiate a new climate finance goal, replacing the existing commitment of $100 billion annually until 2025. Success at COP29 hinges on establishing a new goal that is based on the needs of developing countries and addresses the previous goal’s shortcomings. Wealthy countries will need to fulfil their responsibility of playing their role in providing climate-vulnerable countries with a level of support that’s needed to transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient future.

From the perspective of climate-vulnerable developing countries, here’s what’s needed for the New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance:

  • Responsibility and Leadership: Developed countries, which have historical responsibilities and international legal obligations regarding climate change, must take the lead in providing and mobilizing financial resources to support vulnerable countries in their transition to a climate-resilient future aligned with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree C goal.
  • Meeting the needs of the developing world: To effectively implement national climate plans by 2030, developing countries need at least $5.8 trillion in financing. The new goal must reflect these needs and recognize the pivotal role of international public funding.
  • Holistic coverage: Finance is needed to support emissions reductions and the transition to low-emissions economies, adapt to the impacts of climate change and address unavoidable loss and damage. The new goal on climate finance should include quantified sub-goals for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, encompassing the three pillars of climate action.
  • Ensuring quality finance: Building on lessons from the $100 billion goal (for example, around 70% of finance mobilized was linked to loans), the new framework must prevent further unsustainable debt. Specifically, it should prioritize a greater proportion of grants and highly concessional finance for low-income and climate-vulnerable nations, with financial instruments tailored to match specific needs and investment priorities of each country.
  • Accountability: A strong transparency framework, building on the Paris Agreement’s Enhanced Transparency Framework which guides countries on tracking and reporting mitigation and adaptation progress, is essential to ensure countries follow through on commitments and that there’s transparency and accountability of the funds. 
Deliver and Implement More Ambitious Climate Action Plans

COP29 will be one of the last major opportunities for countries to signal their intention to put together new and enhanced climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), before submitting them in 2025. NDCs to date fall far short of what is required to avert dangerous levels of climate change. It is especially crucial for the Group of 20 countries, responsible for 75% of the world’s emissions, to commit to ramping up the scale and speed of action.

The countries in the G7 and G20 must lead by example and send a loud and clear signal that solidifies 2025 as the year of increased ambition. These countries can do so by submitting strengthened 2030 NDCs consistent with 1.5 degree C pathways and in line with learnings from the Global Stocktake, as well as putting forward ambitious 2035 emissions-reduction targets that will collectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 relative to 2019 emissions levels.

In practice, this requires swiftly shifting away from fossil fuels towards cleaner energy sources to drive down GHG emissions while ensuring the transition is people-centered and inclusive, particularly for marginalized communities and populations.

Opportunities for this shift lie not only in the energy and transportation sectors but also in the agriculture, forest and land-use, and water sectors, all of which are interconnected with climate.

Dedicated work streams in the UN climate talks — such as the Just Transition Work Programme can help in the design of ambitious NDCs, as long as justice and equity are kept at the center of these discussions. While all countries need to work towards these goals, countries with more capacity and resources should lead the charge, tailoring support to fit the unique needs of vulnerable communities.  

Accelerate Adaptation Efforts and Finance

Last year at COP28, countries agreed to a new framework — the UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience — to support the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s overarching Global Goal on Adaption (GGA). However, the framework does not adequately address the financial support needed — given that developing counties adaptation priorities require $215 billion to $387 billion in finance annually — or the technology development and transfer and capacity building needed by developing countries to respond to climate impacts. Looking ahead to COP29, it is essential that the enactment of the targets proposed by the GGA framework is accelerated to enhance planning and implementation, not only through action but also by sector-specific and quantitative metrics.

ACT2025 provides a valuable go-to guide for understanding global adaptation. It examines COP28 outcomes on adaptation and sets expectations for what is needed in 2024 and at COP29 to ensure adaptation efforts are effective, equitable and in line with the urgent needs of vulnerable developing countries. The paper also goes beyond the UNFCCC and outlines the trends expected in the global adaptation space in 2024. Learn more here.

Additionally, work is currently underway through the UAE-Belém two-year work programme to develop indicators for measuring progress on the adaptation targets agreed under the UAE Framework. In practice, this means that the work programme must be organized effectively, utilizing a range of strategic approaches (such as hosting workshops dedicated to identifying principles and broad categories for indicators) and forming thematic working groups that actively engage diverse stakeholders, from technical experts to community representatives to historically marginalized groups such as women, youth and indigenous populations. Ensuring adaptation indicators align with the specific needs of vulnerable regions, countries, and demographics is critical for effectively measuring progress toward achieving targets.

Build a Sufficient Response Package for Loss and Damage

Following the launch of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP28, the next steps include securing and scaling more funds and establishing transparent and inclusive funding structures that ensure direct access to the fund’s operations. To this end, during the Fund’s initial board meetings this year, it is paramount to ensure the process is transparent, civil society and observers are actively engaged and to be well coordinated with the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage, which aims to provide technical assistance to developing countries on addressing loss and damage. Commitments made at COP28 totaled $770.6 million; however, this is a drop in the ocean considering the total amount of finance needed for loss and damage is estimated to reach up to $580 billion annually by 2030 and $1.7 trillion annually by 2050.  

The outcomes of the process must result in accessible scalable finance and institutional frameworks that support vulnerable developing countries in responding to loss and damage without imposing further burdens or exacerbating debt issues. Support through the Loss and Damage Fund should be coherent with other funding efforts (such as disaster risk reduction) and avoid  transaction costs and further fragmenting aid. Progress on this front is essential to achieve a fair outcome at COP29. This also provides an opportunity for the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Seventh Assessment Report (AR7) that will  provide further scientific insights on loss and damage. Climate-vulnerable countries are expecting solidarity and dedicated financial support, and they’ll be looking for a robust, well-funded and expanded Loss and Damage Fund to deliver it.

Getting on Track: An Opportunity to Act Ambitiously

As climate-vulnerable countries grapple with escalating impacts of climate change, the sluggish pace of international politics is glaringly out of step with the urgency of the crisis. Rather than impeding action, political decisions must catalyze a step change in climate action and support at a far greater pace and scale.

Governments and world leaders must seize COP29 as an opportunity to ensure that the most vulnerable countries and communities can build transformative resilience against the changing climate and thrive.

Countries have a lot on their plate this year, including preparing ambitious national climate commitments, accelerating current efforts to achieve existing targets and scaling up funding to address the urgent needs of climate-vulnerable nations. At COP29, collaboration, alignment and trust-building will be crucial ingredients to make progress on all of these aims and deliver a resilient and sustainable future for all.

flooding-bangladesh.jpg International Climate Action Climate climate impacts Equity & Governance Paris Agreement climate finance Type Commentary Exclude From Blog Feed? 0 Projects Authors Gabrielle Swaby Chikondi Thangata Kiyomi de Zoysa
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