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News

May 17, 2021

The key resource for a climate revolution: citizens

Communities or individuals producing, using and selling their own renewable energy could provide up to 89 percent of the electricity demanded in the residential sector by 2050. Research has found that, in the coming years, governments have a unique chance to support ‘prosumerism’ and, in doing so, shepherd in an effective and socially just energy transition.

Learn more at the ICLEI News Center

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category : Topics

May 8, 2021

EU publishes rulebook to classify ‘green’ investments

[Reuters, 21 April 2021] By: Kate Abnett
The European Commission on Wednesday published its long-awaited system to classify "green" investments in sectors from industry to transport, but delayed vexed decisions on whether to label nuclear energy and power plants fuelled by natural gas as green.
By making green investments more visible to investors, Brussels hopes to help steer huge sums of private capital into activities that support EU climate goals. The rules also aim to stamp out "greenwashing", where organisations overstate their environmental credentials.
"Too much money is going into the wrong areas, areas which are damaging the climate. We can harness that money," EU financial services chief Mairead McGuinness told Reuters.
"We talk a lot about sustainability and how to achieve targets. In a very granular way we now have, by sector, how that is to be done," she said.
The EU's new rules, known as the "sustainable finance taxonomy", are a list of economic activities and the rules they must meet to be deemed green. Starting next year, they will decide which activities can be labelled as a sustainable investment in the EU. “
The Commission published climate-related criteria for green investments ranging from building renovations to the manufacture of cement, steel and batteries, reflecting draft plans previously reported by Reuters.
The Commission said it will address natural gas in a second set of criteria due later this year. Nuclear power is also being reviewed separately.
The rules on those issues have faced months of fierce lobbying from governments and industry. The EU's expert advisers and typically wealthier western and Nordic EU states say it is not credible to label gas, a fossil fuel, as green. Central and eastern states say it should be promoted to help them quit higher polluting coal.
Some EU advisers and green groups said the sections on forestry, bioenergy and shipping were unacceptably lax. Representatives from five NGOs and consumer groups advising the Commission said they would stop doing so in protest.
"Environmentalists will not come back to the process until the Commission comes back to science," said Luca Bonaccorsi, director of sustainable finance at NGO Transport & Environment.
The rules will apply unless blocked by a majority of EU countries or by the European Parliament - considered unlikely.
To earn a sustainable label, an activity must make substantial contribution to one of six environmental aims and not impede the other five. The rules published on Wednesday cover two of those six aims - fighting climate change and adapting to its impacts.

Lear more at here.

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category : Topics

April 27, 2021

How to finance a nature-positive economy

The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) has released the fourth episode of their monthly podcast, the Green Renaissance. This episode explores the role of sustainable finance in creating a nature-positive economy as part of a green recovery.
COVID-19 is the product of a biodiversity crisis, and has shown the devastating and immediate impacts that nature can have on society. How do we redirect finance flows to create a more a nature-positive economy tomorrow?
The next episode, centred around circular economy, will be released at the end of the month.
Learn more at the PAGE news center.

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category : Topics

April 20, 2021

Release of global factsheets exploring how procurement can tackle the climate crisis

The Global Lead City Network on Sustainable Procurement has published a set of factsheets exploring the links between procurement and the climate crisis. These factsheets provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities facing the transport and mobility sectors as well as the construction sector in the context of the global climate emergency.
The factsheets explore some innovative actions cities have taken to address the climate crisis locally through public procurement and to drive sustainable change in these sectors.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center

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category : Topics

April 9, 2021

Alibaba’s Ant Group pledges to be carbon neutral by 2030

In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed that China would reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, which has inspired more Chinese enterprises to contribute to higher emission reduction targets.

On March 12nd, 2021, as Alibaba’s financial affiliate, Ant Group announced that it will aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and that it plans to leverage tech innovations to reduce emissions for example by using blockchain to track progress in carbon reduction, joining the urgent global efforts to tackle climate change and its devastating effects.

Ant Group pioneers its action towards carbon neutrality and detailed a path to achieve the aim, including neutralize carbon emissions associated with direct and indirect energy consumption since 2021 (Scope 1 and Scope 2), regularly disclose progress on its carbon neutrality aim, fully cancel out carbon emissions generated by sources it does not own or control by 2030, covering areas such as supply chain and business travel (Scope 3). In its comprehensive roadmap, Ant Group emphasizes to take concrete actions to reduce GHG emissions rather than purchasing credit to offset. Relevant direct activities include energy-efficiency and emission-reduction renovation of existing office parks; design, construction and operation of new office parks in line with green building standards; incentivizing low carbon office behavior; and promoting green investment. In addition, Ant Group will take innovative measures to improve the energy efficiency of its data centers and develop green procurement mechanism to promote emissions reduction of its supply chain.

To ensure the pledge and path credible and transparent, Ant Group commissioned China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC), an independent certification body with CDM/CCER DOE qualification, to provide the scientific demonstration for its target. Meanwhile, Ant Group will cooperate with CEC to launch a carbon neutrality implementation guide for the fintech industry, leading low carbon actions for digital finance companies.

Learn more at One Planetwork Newsroom and CEC News Room

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category : Topics

March 26, 2021

Game-changing solutions in light of the UN Food Systems Summit: multi-stakeholder mechanisms

Consensus has been built around the idea that the world must adopt a ‘food systems approach’ to food policies to re-think food systems governance. Food systems issues and solutions, however, are context-specific, and the complexity of these interconnected issues can deter action.

A new research initiative by the Sustainable Food Systems Programme members is exploring how food systems multi-stakeholder mechanisms, at both the national and sub-national level, can contribute to transitioning to sustainable food systems and act as a catalyser for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn more at One Planet Network News Center

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March 24, 2021

Turning science into action: new report on the Value-Chain Approach

The One Planet network and International Resource Panel Task Group presented findings from its report on the Value-Chain Approach as a catalyser for science-based policy action on Sustainable Consumption and Production at a UNEA-5 digital side-event.

This report, the product of an 18-month collaboration, explains the ‘Value-Chain Approach’ methodology, highlights strategic intervention points on how to improve natural resource management and shares findings from its application to three critical sectors: food, construction and textiles.

Learn more at: One Planet network website

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category : Topics

March 11, 2021

[SCP] WEF, Partners Launch Initiative to Improve Trade Rules for SCP

IISD, 15 February 2021-A virtual panel session on ‘Greening Trade,’ which convened as part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Davos Agenda, explored the role of trade in delivering a greener, fairer global economy. The WEF and partners launched ‘Climate Trade Zero’ – an initiative to improve trade rules for climate-friendly production and consumption.

Haslinda Amin, Chief International Correspondent, South-East Asia, Bloomberg News, moderated the session. She said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls on all countries to use trade to create a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive world, and while international trade accounts for about 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the links between trade and climate change have been “underexplored.”

Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness of France, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, highlighted the role of trade in bringing many people out of poverty and delivering jobs and indispensable goods around the globe. Stressing the need for more ambitious standards to ensure consistency between trade and sustainable development, he outlined the EU’s efforts to address carbon leakage through the proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism(CBAM). Riester said trade agreements can push trading partners to do better on sustainable development, biodiversity, deforestation, and climate change.

Jeroen Ouwehand, Global Senior Partner, Clifford Chance, described trade as “a driver of environmental and sustainable productivity and efficiency,” and said the move to net zero must be supported by trade policies. He identified four areas where governments can “bring together” the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Paris Agreement on climate change:

• Elimination of tariffs on environmentally beneficial goods and services;
• Removal of non-tariff barriers to trade in environmentally friendly goods;
• Removal of fossil fuel subsidies; and
• Carbon border adjustments.

Noting that trade is fundamental to “thinking of carbon footprint in a holistic way,” Anna Krutikov, Head, Sustainable Development, Glencore International AG, said any transition strategy must take into account the full spectrum of operational portfolio and commodity impacts. She identified regulations anchored in thinking of scrap as a hazard as a barrier to safe recycling at scale, limiting the ability of the formal sector to grow and enabling proliferation of informal practices that can further marginalize the vulnerable. Krutikov cautioned against “widening the gap of inequality” through irresponsible mining practices, and highlighted the example of the Fair Cobalt Alliance, which recognizes that artisanal mining can play a legitimate role in the supply chain, seeks to improve mining conditions, and advances efforts to eradicate child labor.

On the role of trade in better supporting sustainability, Riester said trade agreements are “good tools” to ensure consistency between climate ambition and trade. He said going forward, the Paris Agreement will be an essential component of bilateral trade agreements between the EU and third countries, and called for including sustainable development provisions in multilateral trade agreements.

On fossil fuel subsidies, Ouwehand pointed to a “significant” potential of redirecting such subsidies to other initiatives in light of limited fiscal space countries operate in as they respond to COVID-19.

On carbon border adjustments, Riester highlighted the need to convince trading partners of the CBAM’s pertinence. Ouwehand acknowledged that while adjustments can lead to protectionism, they can also level the playing field and bring together the WTO and the Paris Agreement.

The ‘Climate Trade Zero’ project will analyze the obstacles businesses face in achieving their net zero commitments and climate goals, and seek to identify policy changes governments can make to lower trade costs for climate-friendly products and services. The objective is to share the views of business to help shape international commitments to be made at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC to “move the needle on climate change.”

Learn more at:http://sdg.iisd.org/news/wef-partners-launch-initiative-to-improve-trade-rules-for-scp/

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category : Topics

March 5, 2021

UN Environment Assembly concludes with an urgent call for action to solve planetary emergencies

Nairobi, 23 February 2021 –Ministers of environment and other leaders from more than 150 nations today concluded a two-day online meeting of the Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in which the Assembly warned that the world risks new pandemics if we don’t change how we safeguard nature.

The UN Environment Assembly meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law; decisions and resolutions then taken by Member States at the Assembly also define the work of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Due to the pandemic, Member States agreed on a two-step approach to UNEA-5: an online session (22-23 February 2021) and an in-person meeting planned for February 2022.

Attended by thousands of online participants, including more than 1,500 delegates from 153 UN Member States and over 60 Ministers of the Environment, the Assembly – which was broadcast live – also agreed on key aspects of UNEP’s work, kicked off the commemoration of UNEP’s 50th anniversary and held leadership dialogues where Member States addressed how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.

"It is increasingly evident that environmental crises are part of the journey ahead. Wildfires, hurricanes, high temperature records, unprecedented winter chills, plagues of locusts, floods and droughts, have become so common place that they do not always make the headlines," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in remarks to the Assembly. "These increasing adverse weather and climatic occurrences sound a warning bell that calls on us to attend to the three planetary crises that threaten our collective future: the climate crisis, the biodiversity and nature crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis."

In a political statement entitled “Looking ahead to the resumed UN Environment Assembly in 2022 – Message from online UNEA-5, Nairobi 22 – 23 February 2021” endorsed at the close of the Assembly, Member States reaffirmed UNEP’s mandate as the leading global environmental authority and called for greater and more inclusive multilateralism to tackle the environmental challenges.

The statement said the Assembly of UNEA-5 wished “to strengthen our support for the United Nations and for multilateral cooperation and remain convinced that collective action is essential to successfully address global challenges.” It went on to warn that “more than ever that human health and wellbeing are dependent upon nature and the solutions it provides, and we are aware that we shall face recurring risks of future pandemics if we maintain our current unsustainable patterns in our interactions with nature.”

Sveinung Rotevatn, President of UNEA-5 and Norway's Minister for Climate and Environment, echoed the warning.

"Everyone gathered at the Environment Assembly today are deeply concerned about how the pandemic causes new and serious health, socio-economic and environmental challenges, and exacerbates existing ones, all over the world," he told a press conference on the closing day of UNEA-5.

"We shall work together to identify actions which can help us address climate change, protect biodiversity, and reduce pollution, at the same time,” he added.

The Assembly agreed to a new Medium-Term Strategy, Programme of Work and budget for UNEP. The new Strategy – which will take UNEP from 2022-2025 – sets out a vision for UNEP’s role in delivering the promises of the 2030 Agenda.

“The strategy is about transforming how UNEP operates and engages with Member States, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society and youth groups, so we can go harder, faster, stronger,” said Ms. Inger Andersen, UNEP ‘s Executive Director. “This strategy is about providing science and know-how to governments. The strategy is also about collective, whole-of-society action – moving us outside ministries of environment to drive action.”

At an event commemorating UNEP’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2022, Ms. Andersen acknowledged the importance of the moment to reflect on the past and envision the future.

“Indeed, the strides taken so far towards safeguarding the environment are testament to UNEP’s work,” President Kenyatta noted. “UNEP has had a lasting impact on how we care for the environment, nature and our livelihoods.”

In the run-up to the Assembly, UNEP launched a major report, together with UN Secretary-General António Guterres – Making Peace with Nature – which provides a comprehensive blueprint for solving the triple planetary emergencies of climate change, biodiversity and pollution. A number of events were also held in support of UNEA-5, including a Global Youth Assembly, a Science Policy Business Forum and the launch of a Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency.

“The last few days have been encouraging. We saw a new global effort on resource-efficient, circular economies. A push on financing emission reductions from forests. Governments, scientists and businesses coming together to look at big data as a tool for change. Youth raising their voices and telling us ‘nothing about us, without us’ and calling for targeted funds to enable their deeper engagement,” Ms. Andersen added.

Learn more at UNEP News Center

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