#ClimateChange in Focus at #NBB16

nbb-16-inglisFormer Republic Congressman Bob Inglis of South Carolina brought his message of conservative climate realism to the 2016 National Biodiesel Conference opening general session last week in Tampa.

“Free enterprise can solve the problem of climate change,” said Inglis, who talked about the Energy and Enterprise Initiative he founded in 2012. RepublicEn, as it is called, is a nationwide public engagement campaign promoting conservative and free-enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing now because it gives me the opportunity to be about something that’s big enough to be about,” he said.

Learn more about RepublicEn and how conservatives can be part of the climate change solution in Inglis’ speech: Bob Inglis Speech

2016 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

More Renewable Energy = Higher GDP

According to a new report, achieving a 36 percent global share of renewable energy by 2030 would increase global domestic product (GDP) by up to 1.1 percent or nearly U.S. $1.3 trillion. “Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics,” conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), provides a global estimate of the macroeconomic impacts of renewable energy deployment. Specifically, it outlines the benefits that would be achieved under the scenario of doubling the global share of renewable energy by 2030 from 2010 levels.

“The recent Paris Agreement sent a strong signal for countries to move from negotiation to action and rapidly decarbonise the energy sector,” explained  Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.08.14 AMDirector-General. “This analysis provides compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide.”

The report also looks at country-specific impacts. Japan would see the largest positive GDP impact (2.3 percent) but Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea would also see growth of more than 1 percent each. In addition, the impact of renewable energy deployment on welfare is estimated to be three to four times larger than its impact on GDP, with global welfare increasing as much as 3.7 percent. Employment in the renewable energy sector would also increase from 9.2 million global jobs today, to more than 24 million by 2030.

The report also found that a transition towards greater shares of renewables in the global energy mix would also cause a shift in trade patterns. It would more than halve global imports of coal and reduce oil and gas imports, benefiting large importers like Japan, India, Korea and the European Union. Fossil fuel exporting countries would also benefit from a diversified economy.

“Mitigating climate change through the deployment of renewable energy and achieving other socio-economic targets is no longer an either or equation,” added Amin. “Thanks to the growing business case for renewable energy, an investment in one is an investment in both. That is the definition of a win-win scenario.”

The Climate Trust

As the new year has kicked off, The Climate Trust has released its prediction list of 10 carbon market trends to watch in 2016. The trends range from climate change playing a larger role in federal decision making to increased carbon market linkage and momentum in conservation finance.

Image credit: Flickr/Yann Caradec

Image credit: Flickr/Yann Caradec

“The Trust pays close attention to market signals throughout the year, identifying areas where we can have the greatest impact,” said Sean Penrith, executive director for The Climate Trust. “Each year, we look forward to putting together our team’s collective knowledge and sharing our industry insights.”

And the top trends….

1. Carbon pricing will play a key role for many jurisdictions worldwide as they plan to meet their emission reduction targets from the Paris negotiations. Roughly one quarter of the world’s emissions now fall under some form of carbon pricing system.

2. In Oregon, policies related to clean energy will take center stage in 2016. Importers of transportation fuels will be under obligation to comply with the state’s Clean Fuels Program in 2016. This program is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels 10% by 2025, by integrating more low-carbon fuels (like ethanol and biogas) into the fuel supply.

3. Climate Risk Gets Real for Private Industry. Beginning with the groundswell at Climate Week in New York in September 2015, and becoming more strident at the Paris climate summit, it is clear that the era of managing and disclosing a corporation’s exposure to climate risk has arrived.

4. Addressing climate change will play a larger role in federal decision-making and political platforms in 2016. With the energy created by the COP21 gathering in Paris still buzzing around us, a presidential campaign well underway, and a little more than a year left for members of the Obama Administration to leave their full mark on history, it seems clear that 2016 will be a year of climate action.

5. Increased U.S. carbon market linkage as states prepare for the Clean Power Plan. The final draft of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan was released in 2015, with 24 states filing a lawsuit against the plan questioning EPA’s authority. The lawsuit is unlikely to succeed. In fact, many of the states involved in the lawsuit are still drafting compliance plans; 24 other states launched a countersuit in support of the Plan; and George Bush’s EPA chief reminds the states that EPA’s authority has been upheld by the Supreme Court twice before.
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Americans United for Change New Climate Video

COP21 will go down in history as nearly 200 countries came together to reach an historic climate agreement. Despite the efforts, there is still a political contingency of “climate deniers” (check out the Climate Deniers Anthem spoof released by Funny or Die last week) and Americans United for Change noted they will be taking the presidential debate stage tomorrow in Nevada. Today the organization released a new video called ‘Still Not a Scientist’, a sequel to the Webby Award nominated video ‘Not A Scientist’.

According to Americans United for Change, ‘Still Not A Scientist’ features numerous Republican leaders and presidential hopefuls all singing from the same climate denial hymnal, all refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific data that climate change is happening and is man-made. The truth, the organization says, is 99.99 percent of peer-reviewed climate science papers have concluded that climate change is happening and that it’s man-made, but that doesn’t matter when the Koch brothers own 99.99 percent of the GOP.

Under President Obama, the U.S. has made huge strides on climate, cites Americans United for Change, leading here at home with the Clean Power Plan and leading abroad by helping negotiate key commitments from countries like India, Brazil and China ahead of the Paris agreement. However, that could change, says the group, if the presidential candidates show their commitment to Big Oil. Because of the Koch brothers hold, Americans United for Change said, President Obama sent actual scientists and negotiators like Secretary of State John Kerry to Paris. While Ted Cruz, the group said, was showing he’ll rely on conservative shock jock radio host fill-ins for Rush Limbaugh for counsel on climate science, because Republicans know the further they drive their heads into the sand on climate change, the bigger the “Hero” they are to their big polluter donors.

Sing Along to the Climate Change Deniers’ Anthem

Funny or Die has done it again with their latest video “produced” by the Koch Brothers, the fossil fuel billionaires. In the video spoof, the Koch brothers pay celebrities to sing climate change denier’s anthem to the “We Are the World” music.

The video features actors Beau Bridges, January Jones, Darren Criss, Jennette McCurdy, Emily Osment, Ben Feldman, Estelle and more.

Like what you see? Then consider visiting ClimateTruth.org to fight back against the Koch brothers and all those blocking climate change action.

U.S. & Britain Partner to Power Up Africa

Bringing reliable, renewable power to Africans has been an ongoing conversation around the climate talks in Paris this month. Both the U.S. and the UK have programs with goals to do just this. Going forward, however, the programs will be power amplified with the new collaboration between the two countries. The partnership was announced during COP21 by UK International Development Minister Nick Hurd and Associate Administrator of USAID Eric Postel.

The goal of the new partnership between the UK’s Energy Africa campaign and the America’s Power Africa initiative is to leverage much-needed private investment, develop networks to share power across borders and harness geothermal resources to boost access to electricity across the continent.

ID 40753251 © Meshmerize | Dreamstime.com

ID 40753251 © Meshmerize | Dreamstime.com

“It is shocking that 600 million Africans still live without power at home. This is not just holding back individuals; it is holding back an entire continent,” said Hurd during the announcement. “No one can tackle Africa’s energy challenge alone. We will only make progress if we work together. That is why this new partnership is so important.

Hurd added, “The US has led the way over the past few years with its Power Africa campaign. Together with our Energy Africa campaign we can boost access to reliable, clean and affordable household energy, helping millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.”

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries was signed at COP21 during the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and New Climate Economy event “Climate change in Africa: Financing low-carbon pathways for Development”. The new deal will harness the skills, expertise and investment power of the private sector to help improve energy access, boost economic growth and reduce poverty.

“The United States Government is thrilled to work closely with DFID on the Energy Africa campaign, to accelerate the household solar market,” added Postel. “In partnership with DFID, development agencies, African governments, the private sector, and civil society, we can help accelerate Africa’s energy path toward economic and environmental sustainability and ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.”

PG&E Service Centers to be 100% Solar Powered

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has launched a new renewable energy initiative. The company plans to power all its operations service centers – nearly 100 in Northern and Central California – with solar energy. In addition, through the Solar Choice program, customers will have the choice to choose 50 or 100 percent of their electricity from solar sourced from new small to mid-sized solar projects that range in size from 0.5 to 20 MW. The program officially kicks off in early 2016.

COP21 logoThe news came on “Action Day” during COP21, a day where businesses and governments around the globe announced new climate-centric initiatives to reduce carbon emissions. PG&E hopes that through their company commitment to use solar energy, their customers will also make the choice. The Solar Choice program also enables homeowners without rooftop solar to still power their homes with clean energy.

“Solar power is critical to achieving California’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and we strongly support its growth—whether it’s for customers who install rooftop solar or for others through our Solar Choice program,” said PG&E’s Geisha Williams, President, Electric.

PG&E has already connected more than 200,000 rooftop solar customers to the grid, more they say, than any other U.S. utility. The company has also made other climate commitments and this fall, signed the White House’s American Business Act on Climate pledge.

Global Geothermal Alliance Launched at #COP21

As a means to increase geothermal energy globally, this week during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, (COP21) a coalition of 38 countries along with 20 development and industry partners have launched the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA). The nonprofit was organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and was founded with the goal of achieving a 500 percent increase in global installed geothermal capacity by 2030 as well as a 200 percent increase in geothermal heating.

From left to right: Minister Ségolène Royal, France; President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland; Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA. Photo by IISD/ENB

From left to right: Minister Ségolène Royal, France; President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Iceland; Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA. Photo by IISD/ENB

“Geothermal has proven its potential to be part of both the global climate and energy action agenda,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “While geothermal can provide baseload power at some of the lowest costs for any power source, it remains under-developed. The Global Geothermal Alliance will provide a platform for partners to share best practices, further reduce costs and get the most benefit out of this sustainable energy resource.”

IRENA cites that nearly 90 countries have potential for geothermal energy resource development; however, just 13 gigawatts of installed capacity exists worldwide. The agency says the main obstacle for geothermal power investment and development has been the high upfront costs of surface geophysical studies and drilling to explore for geothermal resources. However, the agency explains, once a geothermal project is in operation, it can generate electricity at a low cost. The GGA will aim to overcome these barriers by mitigating risks, promoting technological cooperation, coordinating regional and national initiatives and facilitating geothermal energy investments into energy markets.

The launch took place in the context of the Energy Action Day at COP21, co-organised by IRENA along with several members. In two years of preliminary consultations, IRENA says the GGA has gathered substantial support from governments, leading industry players, development partners, regional and national institutions and non-governmental organizations. The initiative was initiated in September 2014 at the Climate Summit organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Global Groups Call on COP21 to Support Biofuels

Biofuels organizations representing multiple nations may have their differences but they have come together in a call for world leaders attending the COP21 in Paris to set a goal for increasing use of biofuels for transportation.

climate-summitThe call for a global commitment to replace at least 15 percent of the world’s total oil use in transport with sustainable biofuels by 2030 was issued by five biofuel and biotech organizations in conjunction with a joint industry event held at the World Climate Summit on Sunday in Paris during COP21. The event was organized by five biofuel and biotech organizations that collectively represent over 330 companies responsible for 90 percent of the world’s biofuels production.

At the Summit, the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) released a new report showing the significant contribution that biofuels have made to greenhouse gas reduction worldwide and could make in the future. According to the report, total GHG emission reductions from biofuels for 2014 was estimated at 169 million tonnes CO2 equivalent. Projecting a conservative annual growth rate of 2.8 percent in biofuel production and use through the year 2030, the report forecasts that emission savings could increase to 264 million tonnes CO2 equivalent, a 56 percent increase.

“This report sends a clear message to policy makers around the world that while the GHG emission reductions currently being delivered by biofuels are substantial, the sector can deliver much more,” said GRFA president Bliss Baker.

The COP21 United Nations climate change conference concludes December 11.

#COP21 Participants Commit to Energy Transition

Over the weekend UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) attendees made commitments to accelerate the ongoing energy transition through several initiatives discussed during the Lima-Paris Action Agenda Focus on Energy (LPAA). New analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that achieving a 36 percent share of renewable energy by 2030 would result in half of all emission reductions needed to maintain a two-degree pathway, while energy efficiency measures could supply the rest.

From left to right: Nick Nuttall (Moderator), UNFCC; Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO, Accenture Resources; Steve Howard, CSO, IKEA; Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA; Rachel Kyte, incoming CEO, SE4All; Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment, Egypt, Chair of AMCEN

From left to right: Nick Nuttall (Moderator), UNFCC; Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO, Accenture Resources; Steve Howard, CSO, IKEA; Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA; Rachel Kyte, incoming CEO, SE4All; Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment, Egypt, Chair of AMCEN

“With the energy sector accounting for some two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, the decarbonisation of energy must be at the heart of any effort to keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “The energy transition is underway worldwide but more action is needed. To scale up efforts to the level needed, we must utilise all available technologies, increase ambition among all actors in all regions of the world, and mobilise the funds needed to enable the transition.”

The announcements included new initiatives emerging to help further drive this transition including:

  • The Global Geothermal Alliance launched during the event. This Alliance is set to achieve a 500% increase in global installed capacity for geothermal power generation and a 200% increase for geothermal heating by 2030. The world contains vast geothermal energy potential, proven across nearly 90 countries. However, almost 90% of this remains untapped with roughly 12 GW installed so far. What was only an idea a year ago, is now a partnership of 36 countries and 23 institutions with an action plan in place to guide its success.
  • The Africa Clean Energy Corridor aims to boost renewable power deployment, reduce carbon emissions and support sustainable, climate-friendly economic growth. By facilitating a larger electricity market, the initiative could attract sufficient investments to meet half of all power needs in eastern and southern Africa by 2030. At COP21, IRENA and its partners announced efforts to develop a clean energy corridor in western Africa as well.
  • The Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Lighthouses initiative announced that Saint Lucia is the 29th island to join the initiative. Since its launch in September 2014, 18 SIDS have developed roadmaps for deployment of renewable energy, USD 150 million has been mobilised for renewable energy projects on SIDS, and 18 MW of renewable energy has been deployed. The initiative will also announce a new pilot project development facility to help develop more bankable projects.
  • To meet climate objectives, renewable energy uptake would need to increase six-fold from current levels. This would require global annual investment to nearly double to exceed USD 500 billion in the period up to 2020, and more than triple to exceed USD 900 billion from 2021 to 2030. The Sustainable Energy Marketplace was launched to provide a matchmaking platform for renewable energy projects and investors to connect. The Marketplace expects to house 100 projects by the beginning of 2016, and to mobilize USD 10 billion in project financing over the next 3 years.

These initiatives are the latest in a series of renewable energy announcements made during COP 21 including the African Renewable Electricity Program; Breakthrough Energy Coalition; and the Mission Innovation initiative.