The following events were covered by IISD Reporting Services on Friday, 14 December 2018:
Photos by IISD/ENB | Natalia Mroz / Diego Noguera
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Managing Carbon Risks and Raising Climate Ambition – New Policy Approaches for Countries with Fossil Fuels
Presented by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Chatham House
The side event aimed to draw attention to carbon risks across a range of policy areas, including energy, industrial and long-term development planning. Presenters highlighted areas in policy and practice where development assistance can help countries overcome barriers to transitioning and building carbon resilience into long-term planning.
Glada Lahn, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House, moderated the event, and noted that the “elephant in the room” at COP 24 is the role of oil and gas in development in the context of the Paris Agreement. She highlighted global discussions around raising economies out of poverty via oil and gas extraction in order to spur growth and development, and stressed the risks posed by the fossil fuel market in transitioning to a low carbon economy.
Siân Bradley, Energy, Environment and Resources Department, Chatham House, noted high expectations from countries on the role of oil and gas in their economies, highlighting a current reassessment of their value in the global economy. She underscored that the linkages between the oil and gas sector and the wider economy may deliver a shared value under a Business-as-Usual scenarios, whereas they would deliver a shared risk towards the economy under a 1.5°C scenario. She stressed the need to have a joint approach to carbon risks, adding that there is no point in pursuing climate solutions that undermine governance and socioeconomic stability.
Chebet Maikut, Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda, noted that Uganda has prioritized oil and gas as key sectors to spark socioeconomic development in the country. He stressed that his country needs to learn lessons from producer countries and highlighted his country’s commitment to reduce emissions from oil and gas by 22% by 2030.
Rose Mwebaza, African Natural Resources Center of the AfDB, highlighted Nigeria as a good case study for including oil and gas emission reduction measures in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). She noted, however, that the NDC showed what to achieve but not how to achieve it, drawing attention to the lack of a carbon strategy to implement these reductions. She urged for the exchange of knowledge with producer countries on how to extract the resources in the least disruptive manner.
In the ensuing discussion, panelists and participants discussed issues regarding: conflicts between biodiversity conservation and resource extraction, noting that Uganda’s petroleum reserves overlap with 80% of the country’s protected areas; implications of transitioning to low carbon development, considering the heavy dependence of transport systems on fossil fuels; whether subsidies for oil and gas compete with renewable energy; and the role of the insurance industry.
The Paris Agreement and the Nexus of Water, Energy and Food: Policy Coherence and Serious Games
Presented by Stichting Wageningen Research
This panel considered the effects of future climate policy in the nexus across water, energy, food, land and climate via simulations and serious games.
Sabine Reinecke, University of Freiburg, University of Freiburg, moderated the panel and opened the event by pointing out the dearth of references to water, energy and land in the Paris Agreement.
Floor Brouwer, WUR, presented the results of the SIM4NEXUS project’s simulations of the effects of the application of a carbon tax in two scenarios across the globe and in Europe. He showed two examples of carbon price simulations, which suggested that carbon emissions would likely be significantly reduced, even in a 2°C warming scenario, and that livestock production would most likely be stabilized rather than reduced.
Chrysi Laspidou, University of Thessaly, drew attention to the growing recognition of the interconnected securities of the Water-Energy-Land-Food-Climate nexus. She highlighted research on the effects of single factor policies on each across the other sectors, and discussed the “downward spiral” whereby population increase has led to increased intensification of agriculture, which places a continuously higher demand on water and energy to extract ground water. This, she said, eventually results in highly reduced water tables that can no longer sustain food production. She presented SIM4NEXUS, a serious game that facilitates the design of policies within this nexus.
Robert Oakes, United Nations University (UNU), said that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be considered an environmental policy nexus of their own. He described the explicit and implicit linkages between the SDGs, and the ways in which the Water-Energy-Land-Food-Climate nexus can align with these linkages. He warned that there will be trade-offs to satisfying the SDGs, because “you can’t maximize everything.” He concluded by presenting a global case study, which used a systems dynamics model to explore these trade-offs in the form of a serious game for policymakers.
Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, India, reported that solar PV and wind power require significantly less water and contribute both to the reduction in freshwater use as well as carbon intensity of power generation. In India, he noted, the transition from once-through to recirculating cooling systems has reduced water withdrawal in the energy sector. He stressed that even though these technologies are reducing water uptake, the land footprint of solar is high, and that the massive areas required for solar will compromise and compete with land required for food production.
In the subsequent discussion, participants discussed: using serious games and simulations in urban settings rather than rural ones; the need to obtain accurate data to integrate into modeling; the ways in which communities can play a role in enhancing the Water-Energy-Land-Food-Climate nexus; and challenges in presenting serious games to policymakers.
Leveraging Innovative Technology Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) for Mobilizing International Resources towards Talanoa Pledges
Presented by the Solomon Islands and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
This event discussed the importance of technology research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) for innovating low-carbon development practices. Chien-Te Fan, National Tsing Hua University, moderated the event, which also sought to identify opportunities to scale and share best practices through international cooperation.
Melchior Mataki, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster and Meteorology, Solomon Islands, emphasized that combating climate change must be done inclusively with the active involvement of non-Party stakeholders. He said that RD&D is critical for developing climate adaptation and mitigation solutions for countries, such as the Solomon Islands, noting that traditional knowledge can be an important component of this. Mataki closed by stressing the need to “noodilize” new technologies to ensure they are as rapidly and widely adopted as noodles or mobile phones.
Robert Yie-Zu Hu, ITRI, presented on ITRI’s work on innovative and cooperative climate solutions from green technology. Noting Taiwan’s energy efficiency efforts to decouple GDP and energy consumption, he highlighted Taiwan’s energy transition goals, including to phase out nuclear power plants and grow the share of renewable energy from 4% to 20% by 2025. He further outlined Taiwan’s green technology development, including cross-disciplinary software and hardware integration, and building energy simulation technology with artificial intelligence to improve building energy efficiency. Hu concluded by emphasizing the importance of demonstrating the applicability of these technologies in pilot projects and scaling up through international cooperation.
Alex Shyy, International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), discussed ICDF’s work in the Solomon Islands, and, in particular, its comparative advantage in supporting agricultural development there because of Taiwan’s agricultural history, RD&D strength, and comparable climates and geographies. Shyy highlighted case studies of ICDF supporting crop resilience and diversification and circular economy practices for agriculture. He suggested that circular economies could play an important role in supporting resilience in the Solomon Islands, which face high transport costs with its population spread across over 190 islands.
In the following discussion, responding to a question on how Taiwan plans to reach 20% renewables, Hu underscored the importance of simultaneously sustaining Taiwan’s industry through seeking further investment, for example, in solar energy. Commenting on linkages with the Talanoa Dialogue, Mataki stressed the importance of increasing ambition on finance, technology and capacity building in addition to directly reducing emissions. He thanked Taiwan for its support to the Solomon Islands in this regard.
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