Berlin launches climate and security initiative

  • Market: Emissions
  • 11/10/22

Germany's foreign ministry today officially launched the "Climate, Environment, Peace and Security Declaration and Initiative", which aims to ramp up knowledge and action on the interlinkage between climate change and security risks.

The initiative draws on the declaration agreed by G7 foreign ministers in May this year under German presidency to recognise the impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises as a threat to international peace and stability, Germany's climate envoy Jennifer Morgan told delegates at this year's Berlin Climate and Security Conference (BCSC). The G7 declaration was to pave the way for enhanced multilateral action on climate security. "We need to move from study to action," Morgan said.

"Fighting climate change, in the end, is about peace," German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock told delegates. The initiative is to help better co-ordinate projects, share best practices and launch joint projects, Baerbock said.

While it is now common knowledge that there is a connection between climate change and peace, more data and more knowledge is needed on this interlinkage, Baerbock said. This can include information on new heat-resistant crops, educating peacekeepers on how climate change is affecting conflicts where they operate, or applying machine learning to collate data for risk analysis on how drought and heat are damaging agriculture and causing conflict between local communities.

Germany, for instance, is acting on the basis of such analysis as it plans to install solar panels in refugee camps in the Sahel, which are less polluting and less prone to failure than diesel generators in the event of a security incident, Baerbock said.

Since the Green Party's Baerbock took up her post in December last year climate policy has been a priority of Germany's foreign policy, the foreign ministry said, with a focus on the connection between climate, peace and security.

Germany's foreign ministry has repeatedly stressed the urgency to push the issues of climate finance and loss and damage at the UN Cop 27 climate conference in Egypt next month.

Egypt prepares climate, peace initiative

Egypt will present its own "Climate Responses for Sustaining Peace" (CRSP) initiative at Cop 27.

Ambassador Ahmed Abdel-Latif of the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding (CCCPA) told delegates at the BCSC that the CRSP initiative focuses on the African continent, being the most impacted by the consequences of climate change while contributing the least to this phenomenon. At the same time, Africa is the continent witnessing the greatest number of armed conflicts, and is the focus of most peace-building efforts.

The CRSP initiative aims at "moving to action" and addressing gaps such as the mismatch between climate action and peace policy. Under the initiative, a range of programmes and activities will address the link between climate adaptation and peace-building, between climate-resilient food systems and peace, look at scaling up climate finance, and finding durable solutions for displacement triggered by climate change.

The finance gap will be a "big priority" at Cop 27, Abdel-Latif said, pointing to the "unprecedented" strong focus on adaptation and vulnerability in the latest working group report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC report was one of the "frames of reference" for the CRSP initiative, Abdel-Latif said.

The CRSP initiative was first presented following joint technical discussions held last month between the CCCPA and the UN Development Programme.

German ambassador Hinrich Thoelken, permanent representative at the UN in Rome, said the two initiatives are "overdue", and that the time is ripe to move "beyond talks". The two initiatives can complement and strengthen each other, Thoelken said, adding that duplication can be avoided "by working together and being open and transparent".


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22/05/24

UK general election set for 4 July

UK general election set for 4 July

London, 22 May (Argus) — A general election will take place in the UK on 4 July, prime minister Rishi Sunak said today. The announcement coincides with official data showing that UK inflation has fallen to its lowest level in nearly three years. Labour, the country's main opposition party led by Keir Starmer, has held a substantial lead in polls in recent months and performed well in local elections earlier this month. It won nearly 200 seats on local councils, as well as several regional mayoral contests, while the ruling Conservative Party lost almost 500 council seats. The Conservatives have been in power since 2010 and have fielded five prime ministers during that time. The two main parties are likely to release more detailed manifestos once the election campaign begins, but their current respective energy policies have many similarities. Both back a windfall tax on oil and gas producers and support nuclear power. They both also support offshore wind and solar power, although Labour has incrementally more ambitious targets for those renewables and has plans for more onshore wind. Labour also wants a zero-carbon power grid by 2030 , while the Conservatives are aiming for that in 2035. The Conservatives have rolled back some climate policy since Sunak became prime minister, while Labour in February backed down on its pledge to spend £28bn/yr ($35.6bn/yr) on the country's energy transition, if it wins the election. For a general election to take place in the UK, the prime minister must request permission from the British monarch — King Charles III — who then dissolves parliament. A general election must take place at least once every five years in the UK, although a prime minister can call one at any point. The UK's last general election was held on 12 December 2019 and Boris Johnson was elected prime minister. There have since then been two prime ministers — Liz Truss in September-October 2022 — and Sunak. Truss was selected by Conservative Party members and Sunak became prime minister in October 2022 after the only other candidate withdrew from the leadership contest. The Conservatives hold 344 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons, the UK's lower house of parliament. But 105 members of parliament have said that they will not run at the next election, 66 of whom are Conservatives. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Q&A: Over 100 entities trading Australia's ACCUs


22/05/24
News
22/05/24

Q&A: Over 100 entities trading Australia's ACCUs

Cairns, 22 May (Argus) — The Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) market has developed significantly in recent years, with demand moving away from the federal government to the private sector. Argus spoke with the country's Clean Energy Regulator's (CER) chair and chief executive David Parker and executive general manager Carl Binning about that transformation. Edited highlights follow: Demand for ACCUs had been typically driven by the federal government through carbon abatement contracts awarded in auctions but the market is becoming more diverse with rising volumes cancelled for voluntary purposes and an expected increase in surrenders under the safeguard mechanism . What's the approximate number of participants actively trading ACCUs now? Parker: There's more than 100 entities trading actively in the market. That's both on the demand side and the supply side. Some of them are in both. How does that compare with a few years ago? Binning: It's growing year on year. Parker: Around 20-30pc growth in successive years. What's the role of the government in purchasing ACCUs now? Parker: We no longer do the purchasing side [through auctions]. The government now has that function through the Department [of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water] but they can do other things. Binning: The government transferred the ERF [Emissions Reduction Fund] funding to the Powering the Regions Fund and that fund has a mandate to purchase ACCUs. But at this time there is no government direction to purchase . The CER still has a purchasing function to build up volumes under its cost containment reserve, which can only be accessed by safeguard facilities that exceed their annual emissions baselines and are unable to buy ACCUs from other sources. In that case, they would need to pay more than A$75 during the next fiscal year . This is more than double the current prices for ACCUs but how would that cost containment reserve work exactly if spot prices reached that triggering level? For instance, would a single company be able to buy all or most volumes if it bid first? Parker: Good question, we don't know the answer. Binning: The government is currently consulting on the design of the cost containment measure. One of CER's main works is the implementation of a new registry replacing the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units (ANREU). Is this going to solve some of the transparency limitations of the current registry? Parker: I'm very much in favour of transparency. We'll do as much as we possibly can in terms of putting out data, subject to the legal constraints. Binning: The Chubb review has been implemented in three stages. That created the capacity to make a rule under the legislation which enables more data to be published. And the government has accepted the recommendation, so we would expect some time over the next 12 to 18 months for some rules to be made to make that data available. And as David said, as a regulator, we welcome the shift towards greater transparency. What sort of data should we expect to see publicly available for the first time? Binning: I think some project level data. One of the challenges with the integrity debate is that we have data that is not accessible to the marketplace. So where there are on-ground checks being done, for example, making some of those checks more transparent and visible to the marketplace will give it confidence. Should we expect to have access to individual ACCU transfers between accounts, as we currently have for large-scale generation certificates in CER's REC registry or even ACCU holdings of individual account holders? Parker: We hope so. We do publish some information on that but it's aggregated information. Binning: One of the challenges with the ANREU registry is distinguishing between intermediaries in the marketplace that are holding ACCUs to further sell them versus entities that may be holding ACCUs to pass on to safeguard facilities for compliance purposes. Safeguard entities are large corporations, so they often have quite a significant number of related entities. Over time — and you'll see in the next quarterly market report — we're trying to get better at understanding those holdings that are held by related entities for the safeguard mechanism, so we get a stronger sense of how much of the demand has been taken up through the new safeguard mechanism. I think progressively we'll get better at that, but it's not as simple as it might be said. Is the new registry still expected to be operational in the second half of 2024, with the new carbon spot exchange coming online by the beginning of 2025 ? Parker: We hope so. We are about to put out a consultation paper on what the market wants to see in the exchange traded platform. Binning: Our consultation is about understanding the role of an exchange traded fund in complementing all the other markets that are emerging — including futures markets and secondary markets — whilst we still progress the registry, which underpins the whole thing. By Juan Weik Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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G20 seeks to ease climate funding to cities


21/05/24
News
21/05/24

G20 seeks to ease climate funding to cities

Sao Paulo, 21 May (Argus) — Climate funds need to make it easier for countries and especially individual cities to access resources, a G20 working group said in Brazil today. Experts, representatives of G20 member countries and financial organizations gathered in Rio de Janeiro to discuss ways to leverage financing to face extreme climate events. The two-day event was hosted by the G20 — which Brazil presides over this year — the country's finance minister, global network Finance in Common (FiCS) and the Brazilian NGO climate and society institute (iCS). Delegates agreed that climate funds — especially the green climate fund, the adaptation fund, the global environment facility fund and the special climate change fund, which will hold a combined $30bn in the next five years — need to allow better access for cities to combat climate change. That means easing bureaucracies and identifying bottlenecks, according to Ivan Oliveira, deputy secretary for sustainable development at Brazil's finance ministry. Guaranteeing funding for climate projects can take many years, Oliveira said. But "climate change requires climate funds to deliver quickly," he added. FiCS' chairman Remy Rioux — who is also the chief executive of France's development agency — pointed to the different accreditation processes for different climate funds as hindering climate financing. A single accreditation process would ease access, he added. "We will do our best to find innovative financial solutions for climate resilience and resilient infrastructure," he said. Climate projects should also be able to tap into multiple funds more easily, Oliveira said. Rioux also called for the creation of an international guarantee fund to back individual national banks should they need resources to combat climate change. Additionally, local governments should be able to deal directly with climate funds, instead of having to work through the federal government, he added. The director of Brazil's development bank Nelson Barbosa also noted that a lack of financial guarantees and exchange rate volatility hinder banks and country's ability to access climate funds. The G20 working group will present a report with suggestions to address these issues in July, in Belem — the capital of northern Para state — Oliveira said. The city will also host Cop30 in 2025. Rio Grande do Sul Brazil's federal government is discussing a line of credit to southern Rio Grande do Sul state, which has been hit by heavy rainfall and historic flooding since late April, Barbosa said. "A special line of credit will be needed for reconstruction," he said. "We already have lines for adaptation and mitigation and now we have to think about lines to take care of losses and damages. Reality has arrived, and development banks have to deal with the effects of the climate." But he did not give further specifics on the measures. On Monday, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for the creation of an international fund backed by "people that pollute the planet" to aid Rio Grande do Sul. He has in the past called on rich nations to fund global efforts to mitigate climate change. Rains in Rio Grande do Sul have left 161 people dead, 85 missing and over 581,600 people displaced, according to the state's civil defense. Rebuilding the state will cost over R19bn ($3.7bn), according to the state government. By Lucas Parolin Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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UK will not bank ‘surplus’ from third carbon budget


21/05/24
News
21/05/24

UK will not bank ‘surplus’ from third carbon budget

London, 21 May (Argus) — The UK overachieved on emissions reduction targets under its third carbon budget, but it will not carry forward the emissions ‘surplus' to the next carbon budget, the government said today. A carbon budget is a cap on emissions over a certain period. The UK's third carbon budget covered 2018-22, while the fourth carbon budget covers 2023-27. UK emissions over 2018-22 stood at 2.15bn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e) — 319mn t/CO2e below the third carbon budget cap. Emissions on average over the period were 47pc lower than emissions in 1990 — the baseline year. "By the end of the period in 2022, UK net greenhouse gas emissions were 50pc lower than base year emissions", the government said. The country is also on track to overachieve during the fourth carbon budget, it added. "The government decision not to carry forward the surplus keeps the UK within its ambitious target with no additional headroom to emit greenhouse gases over the coming years", the government said. The UK has made progress on cutting emissions, including phasing out coal. But the surplus was largely down to external factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the independent advisory Climate Change Committee (CCC) found previously. The UK has a legally-binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. It also has targets to cut emissions by 68pc by 2030 and 77pc by 2035, both from the 1990 base level. The CCC warned in February that the government should not carry forward any surplus from the third carbon budget, to avoid weakening action on decarbonisation. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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States have duty to cut GHGs, protect oceans: Court


21/05/24
News
21/05/24

States have duty to cut GHGs, protect oceans: Court

London, 21 May (Argus) — States that are party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) have an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to protect oceans, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea said today in an advisory opinion. The opinion was requested by the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law in December 2022. The tribunal found unanimously that states party to Unclos "have the specific obligation to take all measures necessary to ensure that anthropogenic GHG emissions under their jurisdiction or control do not cause damage by pollution to other states and their environment". The group of small island states welcomed the outcome, and said they saw it as a victory. Small island states are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Unclos has 169 parties — including the EU, China and almost all G20 nations. But the US — the second-highest emitter — is not a party to the convention. Countries must submit new national climate plans — known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — by early next year to UN climate body the UNFCCC. "Today's outcome will be instrumental to push the countries most responsible for the climate crisis to ramp up their ambition", lawyer at environmental law firm ClientEarth Lea Main-Klingst said. "And because business must follow where governments lead, companies and financial institutions are going to feel a knock-on effect from this development, too", Main-Klingst added. Similar cases, focused on climate change, are awaiting an advisory opinion or ruling from various international courts. The Inter-American Court is hearing arguments on how climate change is affecting human rights this month, while the International Court of Justice will consider a similar question later this year. The European Court of Human Rights ruled last month that signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) must protect their citizens from the "serious adverse effects of climate change", in a landmark ruling for climate litigation. The ocean is the world's biggest carbon sink, capturing emissions and much of the excess heat generated by GHGs. Sea surface temperatures have hit record highs in recent months, while the global temperature was in 2023 on average 1.45°C higher than pre-industrial levels , the World Meteorological Organisation said earlier this year. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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