Menjaga Momentum Pendanaan di Konferensi Perubahan Iklim 2017

February 26, 2018 |

 

Dunia sepakat batasi pemanasan global tidak lebih dari dua derajat Celcius dan beradaptasi terhadap dampak perubahan iklim. Bagaimana soal pendanaannya yang tak sedikit itu? Opini Suzanty Sitorus.

Pertemuan puncak negara-negara Pihak UNFCCC 2017 (COP 23) dilaksanakan di akhir tahun, seperti di tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Ini merupakan saat yang tepat juga untuk melakukan refleksi tentang berbagai tantangan dan hasil sepanjang tahun yang berpengaruh terhadap target-target yang harus dicapai pada tahun 2020 dan persiapan pelaksanaan Kesepakatan Paris yang akan dimulai di tahun 2020. Dunia telah bersepakat untuk bersama-sama membatasi pemanasan global tidak lebih dari dua derajat Celcius dan beradaptasi terhadap dampak perubahan iklim.

Salah satu tantangan terbesar adalah perkembangan politik dan ekonomi, domestik dan internasional, yang memicu dinamika pelaksanaan kesepakatan global tersebut. Meskipun sudah tercapai kesepakatan, kemungkinan perubahan komitmen selalu terbuka. Keputusan Presiden Donald Trump tentang penarikan diri Amerika Serikat dari Kesepakatan Paris dan hasil pemilihan umum di berbagai negara-negara kunci memercikkan keraguan akan efektivitas pembahasan persiapan teknis untuk Kesepakatan Paris selama tahun 2017 hingga 2019. Perubahan komitmen semacam itu juga dikhawatirkan menimbulkan efek psikologis bagi aktor politik, bisnis, dan masyarakat di berbagai negara sehingga enggan berkontribusi untuk penanganan perubahan iklim.

Aliran pendanaan iklim di tingkat global

Dalam konteks ini, para juru runding yang akan menghadiri COP 23 dan juga publik internasional dapat memetik pelajaran dari laporan yang diluncurkan oleh Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) minggu ini tentang aliran pendanaan iklim di tingkat global. Laporan Lanskap Pendanaan Iklim Global 2017 merupakan yang paling komprehensif dengan data dari tahun 2015 dan 2016 yang juga menyajikan untuk pertama kalinya tren lima tahun tentang bagaimana, dimana dan dari mana pendanaan berasal. Laporan ini juga mengidentifikasi kesenjangan dan peluang untuk meningkatkan investasi.

Lanskap Pendanaan 2017 tersebut mengindikasikan bahwa dua tahun sejak dicapainya Kesepakatan Paris, masyarakat global masih menghadapi tantangan yang signifikan dalam memobilisasi investasi yang dibutuhkan untuk memenuhi Kesepakatan Paris. Pemerintah sedang memusatkan perhatian pada cara-cara yang efektif untuk membiayai pelaksanaan Nationally Determined Contribution(NDC)—kontribusi yang dijanjikan oleh setiap negara sebagai bagian dari Kesepakatan Paris. Sementara itu, lembaga-lembaga keuangan publik dan swasta berupaya untuk memanfaatkan sinyal politik yang kuat yang disampaikan oleh Kesepakatan Paris untuk mengembangkannya menjadi peluang investasi hijau.

Berikut beberapa intisari dari Lanskap Pendanaan Iklim Global 2017:

•      Aliran pendanaan iklim mencapai rekor tertinggi sebesar 437 miliar dollar AS pada tahun 2015, diikuti oleh penurunan 12 persen di tahun 2016 menjadi 383 miliar dollar AS, meskipun masih lebih tinggi daripada tahun 2012 dan 2013. Dengan memperhitungkan fluktuasi tahunan, aliran pendanaan rata-rata di tahun 2015/2016 sebesar 12 persen lebih tinggi daripada di tahun 2013/2014.

•      Kenaikan pada tahun 2015 didorong oleh lonjakan investasi untuk energi terbarukan, terutama di China, dan untuk panel surya atap rumah di AS dan Jepang.

•      Meningkatnya investasi oleh sektor swasta menunjukkan pasar yang mulai berkembang untuk energi terbarukan dari angin dan surya, sehingga kebutuhan dukungan pemerintah tidak lagi sebesar sebelumnya. Meskipun demikian, secara umum, investasi pemerintah tetap menjadi landasan bagi investasi swasta dari tahun ke tahun.

•      Selama tahun 2015-2016, 79 persen pendanaan digalang dari negara dimana investasi dilakukan. Tren investasi domestik yang terus meningkat menunjukkan pentingnya kerangka kebijakan dan peraturan yang kuat oleh pemerintah nasional untuk mendukung proyek-proyek mitigasi dan adaptasi perubahan iklim.

•      Peningkatan drastis investasi untuk energi surya dan energi angin lepas pantai memberikan harapan bahwa pergeseran dari energi berbasis fosil ke arah energi terbarukan mulai terjadi dan akan membantu dunia menahan laju pemanasan global. Meskipun demikian, investasi untuk teknologi terbarukan dan sektor lain masih jauh dari kebutuhan yang nilainya sekitar 1 triliun dollar AS per tahun. Sektor lain yang masih sangat membutuhkan investasi antara lain kelistrikan, efisiensi energi industri, transportasi, pertanian, air, pengurangan deforestasi, dan adaptasi.

•      Total investasi untuk bahan bakar berbasis fosil masih jauh lebih besar dibandingkan investasi pro-iklim. Hal tersebut mengurangi efektivitas investasi hijau dan juga meningkatkan risiko dalam sistem keuangan, misalnya aset perusahaan minyak atau batubara akan menjadi “stranded asset”—aset yang mengalami penurunan atau kehilangan nilai secara prematur.

•      Meskipun aliran pendanaan masih jauh dari yang dibutuhkan, laporan mencatat beberapa tren positif yang dapat mempengaruhi prospek peningkatan pendanaan iklim di tahun-tahun mendatang: Beberapa negara mulai menjabarkan rencana NDC mereka sehingga memberikan kejelasan mengenai peluang investasi untuk mewujudkannya; pemerintah dan lembaga keuangan berinisiatif untuk menghijaukan aliran keuangan publik yang ada; diskusi di seluruh industri tentang keterbukaan dalam pelaporan mengenai risiko keuangan yang ditimbulkan oleh perubahan iklim; dan penggunaan lebih luas berbagai jenis pendanaan campuran dan inovatif.

Menanti komitmen pemerintah

Perkembangan positif yang terjadi dalam investasi pro-iklim menegaskan bahwa keteguhan komitmen dan ambisi pemerintah dalam mengatasi perubahan iklim perlu terus dijaga karena hal tersebut menjadi dasar pertimbangan investasi hijau oleh swasta dan masyarakat.

Kebijakan dengan target yang jelas dan ambisius ditambah dengan dukungan insentif akan memicu derasnya investasi oleh swasta dan masyarakat. Sebaliknya, kebijakan yang tidak pro-iklim akan dipahami oleh sektor swasta sebagai risiko untuk investasi hijau. COP 23 di Bonn, Jerman, harus mampu mempertahankan momentum Kesepakatan Paris agar investasi hijau terus meningkat dan makin pesat.

Tulisan ini telah dimuat di rubrik IPTEK, Deutsche Welle, pada tanggal 13 November 2017. Tulisan ini juga dapat diakses melalui tautan ini.

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Blended Finance in Clean Energy: Experiences and Opportunities

January 25, 2018 |

 

Blended finance is a key tool to help nations meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, while also addressing the risks and barriers faced by investors when pursuing the opportunities these afford. By using a combination of public and philanthropic concessional funding to leverage multiples of private investment, blended finance seeks to deliver both attractive returns to private investors and social and environmental impact to the public, bridging the gap to long-term commercial viability. But, like any tool, its deployment requires knowledge of how best to utilize it to achieve the results sought.

Fortunately, a rich foundation of experience in blended finance already exists, notably in the clean energy sector, where public, philanthropic, and private sector organizations have been innovating for many years, including through the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance (the Lab), for which CPI acts as Secretariat. CPI’s recently released publication for the Business & Sustainable Development Commission’s Blended Finance Taskforce, “Blended Finance in Clean Energy: Experiences and Opportunities,” synthesizes this vast knowledge base and proposes a path forward.

Here are a few notable findings from the report:

Seek the sweet spot: Aligning the impact goals of public and philanthropic sector funding with the requirements of private investors to generate returns that reflect the risks taken can be difficult to achieve, especially in developing economies or for new technologies. Blended finance needs to find the “sweet spot” – those countries that are still considered “risky” for investors, but have implemented policies conducive to private sector and clean energy investment, and that also have significant potential to achieve social and environmental impact goals. Our report identifies the top regions, countries, and energy sub-sectors that are the best fit for blended finance.

The greatest opportunities for impact are in Sub-Saharan Africa, and South and East Asia.

As an example of such an approach, Climate Investor One, an instrument from the 2014-15 Lab cycle, managed by Climate Fund Managers and supported by the Netherlands’ FMO, is a lifecycle financing facility for renewable energy projects. It focuses on the development, construction, and re-financing of projects in multiple countries that are sub-investment grade, thereby diversifying risk, reducing transaction costs, and deploying targeted concessional capital to countries that need it, all while delivering competitive returns to investors. The instrument has already raised more than USD 400mn from institutional investors and public finance institutions.

Blend risk, not just finance: Despite impressive reductions in the cost of clean energy, investors continue to face a wide variety of barriers that prevent investment, especially in developing economies. By analyzing 75 existing blended finance initiatives, we found a gap between the investment risks and barriers addressed by earlier blended finance initiatives – which were largely focused on reducing the cost of clean energy – and those cited today by the largest classes of investors – institutional investors and commercial banks – as most important to address going forward. Investors today are concerned with the lack of liquidity and small scale of many clean energy investments, as well as risks from volatile currencies and off-takers who lack credit-worthiness. Many are also concerned with the uncertainties present in early-stage businesses, such as start-up off-grid companies or grid-connected projects that face policy and permitting uncertainty before they even advance to construction. This means that risk mitigation instruments such as guarantees, hedging, and insurance are more important today, as are initiatives that absorb early stage risks and those that focus on aggregating and securitizing investments. 

Another Lab instrument, the Long-Term FX Risk Management facility managed by TCX, has helped extend local currency financing for renewable energy by offering currency hedging solutions when commercial solutions are not available. Backed by a EUR 30mn concessional investment from the German government, the instrument mobilized another EUR 100mn in investments. Its currency hedging solutions have enabled M-KOPA, a Kenyan solar home systems provider, to connect nearly 500,000 homes in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to solar power by matching the currency of the company’s loans with the currency of its cash flows.

Choose innovation and scale. Blended finance is still a relatively young market, offering opportunities for both new innovations as well as replicating, scaling, and mainstreaming ideas that are proven to work. Understanding whether to develop new solutions or to adapt existing ones requires local, market-specific knowledge and analysis, in addition to support from multi-stakeholder networks to identify strong initiatives and create connections among various national and international market players.

To give a sense as to how this could work, take Energy Savings Insurance, an energy efficiency instrument that was pioneered by the Inter-American Development Bank with the support of the Lab, as an example. After first being piloted in two countries in Latin America, this tool has mobilized at least USD 100mn in investment from public and commercial bank lenders to be replicated in 10 countries across three continents. The most recent implementations are being undertaken by the French Development Agency, another Lab member, which is replicating the early successes in countries outside the IDB’s territory.

Bring the whole toolbox. As a tool, blended finance is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. For the results of blended finance efforts to be sustainable in the long run, the parallel deployment of other tools is required, such as continued policy and investment environment reforms and technical advisory services to build capacity on the ground. Systematic data gathering of technology and business model track records is also needed to develop a robust, quantitative case for investors, and lead to the demonstration effect that many initiatives cite as their rationale.

Many innovators are already taking these lessons to heart and building the next generation of blended finance initiatives. We’ve come a long way in understanding what it takes to succeed in blended finance, but there’s much more to be done to reach the aspirations of the global goals.

To read the full “Blended Finance in Clean Energy: Experiences and Opportunities,” report, please click here.

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Climate finance developments in 2017, and what to watch for in 2018

January 4, 2018 |

 

As world leaders sought to strengthen efforts to combat climate change in 2017, climate finance remained a prominent theme of international discussions between developed and developing countries – both as a tool for renewed collaboration, and as a potential point of friction.

COP23 premise and key climate finance themes

In November, leaders gathered for the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties (COP23) global climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. At the outset, negotiators hoped to focus efforts on operationalizing the Paris Agreement, including progressing the implementation guidelines (known as the Paris Agreement Rulebook) and defining the 2018 global stocktake process (known as the Talanoa Dialogue Approach in recognition of the Fijian COP presidency).

Amidst these goals, several key climate finance themes loomed large over the COP, and resonated in discussions throughout the year:

  • “Loss & Damage” and increasing investments for climate resilience and adaptation. In a year of extreme, record-breaking weather disasters in developed and developing countries alike, ongoing conversations about compensation to the countries that will suffer disproportionate economic losses and damages from climate change remained important. Related, high-profile discussions around private and public sector investments needed for adaptation, current levels of adaptation investment, and how to close the finance gap also remained crucial.
  • The “$100 billion by 2020” pledge, the Green Climate Fund, and maintaining international momentum. Since 2009, when developed countries first committed to jointly mobilize “USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries,” defining how the world will achieve this goal has remained complex. Rising nationalism around the world, and the decision from the U.S. to renege on Green Climate Fund and Paris Agreement commitments make the need to strengthen international cooperation even more urgent.

COP23 progress

While a lot of work remains, leaders at COP23 made significant progress on several key themes within the ongoing climate finance discourse.

The decision that the Adaptation Fundshall serve the Paris Agreement” helps to reiterate the continued importance of adaptation finance as a means of creating a low-carbon, climate-resilient sustainable future in both developed and developing countries.

Loss and damage remained contentious and didn’t make it into the agenda for 2018 efforts to solidify the Paris Rulebook; however, there will be an “expert dialogue” during mid-2018 intersessional meetings where finance discussions can resume. In addition, InsuResilience Global Partnership, a private sector initative that aims to extend insurance access to 400 million people living in climate vulnerable countries by 2020, launched. The UNFCCC also released its own Clearing House for Risk Transfer platform, to provide to both connect insurers and vulnerable populations, and to provide technical assistance to countries seeking to implement new risk solutions.

Efforts to bolster cooperation in the face of U.S. obstruction and decrease barriers to fulfilling climate finance pledges also had significant success. Syria and Nicaragua, the lone Paris Agreement holdouts, both signed, and the U.S. “We Are Still In” coalition reiterated U.S. commitment to meeting climate goals. Leaders from California established new channels for international cooperation with the EU and China on carbon markets, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others in the so-called “shadow delegation” strengthened ties to the international community, and suggested an established role for sub-national actors in future negotiations.

Macron summit premise & key announcements

Following COP23, French President Emmanuel Macron held the One Planet Summit, marking the 2-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement. This event gathered heads of state, investors, and other leaders to mark the progress made since Paris, and generate ambition towards 2020 climate goals. It produced a number of key announcements that continued to build on progress from the COP, while engaging investors, corporations, and governments to redirect finance from dirty investments towards low-carbon, climate-resilient activities.

  • The World Bank announced that it would end oil and gas exploration and production projects, and increase transparency on greenhouse gas emissions from the rest of its portfolio.
  • 225 investors and asset managers representing more than USD 26 trillion in assets. launched Climate Action 100+ to engage the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters on climate-related financial disclosure.
  • 237 companies with a combined market cap greater than USD 6 trillion, pledged to support greater climate-related financial disclosure through the TCFD.
  • ING announced its decision to accelerate the reduction of financing for coal power generation, and to eliminate it by 2025.
  • French insurance multinational AXA announced both divestment of more than EUR 2 billion of coal holdings and oil sands, and tripling its green investments to more than EUR 3 billion.

What to watch for in 2018

In 2018, it will be essential to build upon the progress coming out of COP23 and the Macron Summit. Countries must continue to work towards the ”$100 billion by 2020” goal, however, they must also engage the private sector in order to build on current momentum, and “shift the trillions” in assets from high-carbon to low-carbon pathways as effectively as possible.

There are several key climate finance developments to track in the coming year:

  • UNFCCC’s Standing Committee on Finance will publish its next Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows in 2018, which can help countries glean greater insight on the how, where, and from whom finance is flowing toward low-carbon and climate-resilient actions globally, and how it can be scaled-up.
  • Further advancements in climate-related financial disclosures for public companies and improved portfolio transparency of climate impacts among international development finance institutions can help investors and shareholders understand embedded risks more effectively, and help to shift assets towards low-carbon, climate-resilient growth.
  • Expanding roles of subnational actors – for example, California’s upcoming Global Climate Action Summit – can continue to overcome political barriers, facilitate collaboration between governments and private sector actors, and can help to mobilize needed investments.

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California’s cap and trade program leads the way on US climate action

November 28, 2017 | and

 

In recent weeks, California has continued to cement its leadership role in American climate policy – most recently at the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany. In partnership with other states, cities, indigenous communities, businesses and investors, faith organizations, and numerous other institutions, California has led the U.S. “We Are Still In” coalition representing more than 130 million Americans and more than $6.2 trillion of the U.S. economy.

California Governor Jerry Brown recently announced plans to boost technical and political cooperation on carbon markets with the leaders of the EU and China. This announcement follows enormous legislative progress, compromise, and policy innovation in recent years in California to provide long-term certainty and stability to California’s cap and trade program and broader climate policy regime. This legislative progress includes:

  • SB 350, which strengthens energy efficiency standards for buildings and increases California’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030
  • SB 32, which legislatively reiterates and extends previous emissions goals to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030
  • AB 398, which legislatively extends the cap and trade program to 2030

AB 398 – the extension of cap and trade through 2030 – is an enormous boon to one of the world’s most effective, large-scale, economy-wide carbon pricing regimes, and an important fortification of California’s climate policy infrastructure.

Prior to the extension, cap and trade revenues were used for high-speed rail and numerous other climate finance projects throughout the state, with 25% of revenues specifically earmarked to support projects in disadvantaged communities. However, California Air Resources Board (CARB) allowance auctions in early 2017 reflected legal and policy uncertainty about the future of cap and trade, and failed to sell out.

The passage of AB 398, with a legislative supermajority, puts to rest past concerns about legal challenges from the fossil fuel industry on the basis of California’s Proposition 13 or Proposition 26 rules regarding new taxes or fees. This decisive victory for carbon-pricing prompted record-breaking sellouts of allowances in the recent August and November auctions, totaling close to $2 billion in revenue generated, sold at clearing prices well above the price floor in both auctions. Analysis from Energy Innovation suggests that the cap and trade extension will generate at least an additional $1.3 billion in revenue for the Greenhous Gas Reduction Fund between now and 2020, and an additional $26 billion in new revenue from 2021-2030.

To achieve this level of support, AB 398 involved key compromises on compliance measures and on how revenues are spent, to assuage concerns from both environmental justice advocates and from traditional industry opponents of cap and trade policy. The key agreements of AB 398 are:

  • It increases the allocation for local climate finance for investments in disadvantaged communities to 35%.
  • It decreases the fraction of compliance that can come from offsets.
  • A companion measure AB 617 increases regulation of local air quality to prevent pollution hotspots in vulnerable communities.
  • And statewide ballot measure ACA1 goes before voters in 2018 proposing a constitutional amendment that would set a higher (two-thirds) legislative threshold for how future cap and trade revenues are spent.

California’s cap and trade extension is not a panacea, and no legislation in an economy and a political landscape as large and complex as California can be perfect. Future challenges to reaching 2030 goals (like allowance oversupply) remain. And California’s climate policy regime will have to remain dynamic and innovative in order to continue to lead, and to make good on stated goals.

But the extension of California’s cap and trade program remains an important legislative step forward, giving markets the stability they need to function while achieving success in pursuit of aggressive emissions reductions.

Climate Policy Initiative’s California Carbon Dashboard continues to provide the latest news, prices, and information to understand California’s cap and trade program and suite of climate policies. You can learn more at www.calcarbondash.org.

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How Big Dollars Are Catalyzing India’s Small-Scale Solar Market

October 23, 2017 |

 

In order to meet India’s energy access goals, distributed solar has to scale significantly. While there has been growth in this Indian market segment, it has been from a very small level of installations. While the government’s target for distributed solar power deployment is for 40 gigawatts by 2022, only 1.4 gigawatts had been deployed by early this year. That means we need a 100 percent compound annual growth rate between now and 2022 — a blistering pace of development.

Luckily, the distributed solar market in India is ripe for rapid expansion, with falling technology costs and government initiatives that have reduced the levelized cost of electricity to make rooftop solar competitive with not only commercial and industrial tariffs, but also with residential tariffs in many cases. However, it’s also a young industry. Many of the companies are in significant need of early stage funding for project preparation services to help them scale up, de-risk and become investment-ready.

Recognizing this need, the Indian and U.S. governments jointly created — in partnership with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Indian Renewable Energy and Development Agency (IREDA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Good Energies Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust — a facility that leverages the unique risk attributes of grant dollars to mobilize finance for early stage project preparation for Indian distributed solar power developers, called U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF). Climate Policy Initiative serves as the program manager.

USICEF will deploy millions of dollars in early-stage project preparation support, including market estimation, product development and testing, and engineering and legal costs, which will help developers become ready enough to attract commercial investment. USICEF’s support catalyzes long-term debt financing for distributed solar power from OPIC, IREDA and other public sector financial institutions, to in turn drive more investment from private sources.

USICEF is based on the Africa Clean Energy Finance Facility, a similar program that successfully leveraged $1 billion in clean energy investment with as little as $20 million in early-stage grants.

Announced a year ago, USICEF recently became operational. It selected its first round of grant recipients, which in total will receive an estimated $900,000 in project preparation support. They are:

  • Argo Solar, which provides custom designed end-to-end solar rooftop power solutions for commercial and industrial organizations in India
  • HCT Sun India, a subsidiary of U.S.-based HCT Sun LLC and an early-stage rooftop solar developer in India
  • OMC Power, an integrated rural power utility company that brings affordable and reliable power to mobile tower operators, surrounding small businesses and communities through smart mini-grids
  • SMG Ventures, which implements rooftop solar projects primarily for commercial and industrial customers in India
  • SunFunder, an experienced debt provider for beyond the grid and grid deficit solar projects and companies, which will provide inventory, construction, and structured asset finance loans for solar lighting, home systems, mini-grids and commercial rooftop solar projects in India

USICEF is continuing to accept applications for support from distributed solar power companies through its website.

The question that arises for these young companies and the dozens of others that USICEF will support throughout the life of the program is whether early-stage project preparation can help distributed solar reach scale. By creating a pipeline of projects, USICEF is hoping to answer that question with an emphatic yes — an answer that can drive the investment needed for India to achieve a robust, distributed solar power market and energy access for all.

***

A version of this blog first appeared on Greentech Media. Gireesh Shrimali serves as India Director at the Climate Policy Initiative. Justin Guay is a program officer at the Packard Foundation.

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Climate Finance Insight Videos: Meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement

October 4, 2017 |

 

On May 8-9 2017, at the sixth meeting of the San Giorgio Group (SGG) in Venice, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) brought together key financial institutions actively engaged in green, low-emissions finance for frank discussions on the most pressing policy and investment issues related to scaling up climate action. Hosted this year by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), the SGG is organized by CPI in collaboration with the World Bank Group, China Light Power (CLP), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In a series of interviews filmed during this year’s SGG, produced in collaboration between CPI and ICCG, representatives of governments and financial institutions discuss financing needs, opportunities, and trends as countries work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Several representatives of governments and financial institutions discuss financing needs, opportunities, and trends as countries work to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement in a summary video.

Barbara Buchner, Executive Director of the Climate Finance program at CPI, reflects on what has changed in climate finance since the first SGG in 2011.

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CPI receives MapBiomas team for workshop on land mapping and use in Brazil

August 17, 2017 |

 

MapBiomas workshop in CPI in Rio de Janeiro

Project aims at helping researchers with a fast and detailed system

Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) hosted the Brazilian Annual Land Use and Land Cover Mapping Project (MapBiomas) team for a workshop to present the platform and explain how it operates. The event, held in early August at CPI’s office in Rio de Janeiro, gathered researchers, analysts and university faculty from CPI and other institutions including IBGE, FIOCRUZ, BVRio, and UFRJ.

MapBiomas is an initiative that involves a collaborative network of biomes, land use, remote sensing, GIS (Geographic Information System) and computer science experts. It relies on Google Earth Engine platform and its cloud processing and automated classifiers capabilities to map and present dynamics of land use changes in agriculture, farming, forests and urban areas, among others.

In Brazil, CPI works to support policymakers to implement the most effective policies for protecting Brazil’s natural resources while also advancing the nation’s agricultural production.

For CPI executive director Juliano Assunção, MapBiomas greatly expands the volume of information for land use analysis in Brazil and provides an example for other initiatives involving collaborative work. Assunção believes that the project enhance CPI’s research. “CPI focuses its efforts on generating evidence on the effectiveness of policies and their various impacts on Brazilian society. With MapBiomas, we can now investigate dynamics of land use conversion inside and outside the Amazon biome with much more precision,” he says.

 

Land use and land cover maps, satellite images mosaics, and a public web platform are among the MapBiomas products. According to the coordinator of the project Tasso Azevedo, the platform aims to provide analysts and researchers with the tools needed to analyze data and build on. “We wanted to replace the simple matrix “forest and non-forest” with a more nuanced one. The challenge is and has always been to map in a cheap, fast and historical way”, he says. One of the unique characteristics of MapBiomas is that it classifies using temporal and spatial filters, which can be applied to a more detailed analysis.

MapBiomas provides a series of scientific analyses for the improvement of policies. According to Assunção, besides putting together detailed information on territories, MapBiomas presents the data in an intuitive and comprehensible way. “Although the actual data are not precise for calculating deforestation rates, for example, its potential is huge. For example, important topics such as infrastructure can be studied in depth,” the CPI director says.

Currently, only Brazil develops a mapping of tropical countries and their lands. Nevertheless, it is expected that over the next two years a project like MapBiomas might become a potential investment for other countries. The development of MapBiomas is constant and an updated version, with adjustments in the filters, will be launched soon.

For more information about MapBiomas, see http://mapbiomas.org/.

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Mainstreaming energy efficiency in International Finance Institutions could lower cost of meeting green growth goals

July 7, 2017 |

 

One of the many topics of discussion on the agenda for this weekend’s discussions at the G20 leader’s summit will be on how to kickstart the global economy. Leaders should take a serious look at energy efficiency as a means of increasing productivity and boosting growth.

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Financial institutions identify opportunities to accelerate climate action

June 28, 2017 |

 

This week, we posted an in-depth summary of the main insights from this year’s San Giorgio Group, a CPI event organized in collaboration with the World Bank Group, China Light Power (CLP) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and kindly hosted by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei. The San Giorgio Group brings together key financial institutions actively engaged in green, low-emissions finance for frank discussions on the most pressing policy and investment issues related to scaling up climate action. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. We have made a lot of progress in recent years on getting a clearer idea of climate finance flows, and of investment risks related to climate change, through efforts by CPI and other groups. However, there are still data gaps. These are particularly prevalent for adaptation finance, as well as in defining mobilization of climate finance and understanding more broadly how to track progress towards implementation of the Paris Agreement. The main challenge remains to make tracking helpful for decision makers and to ensure that they have ownership of it. There is a need to further integrate climate change considerations into daily decision-making and the financial system more generally, to enable investors to understand both the risks and opportunities related to climate change. Legislation such as France’s recent climate-reporting law, which introduces mandatory climate change-related reporting for institutional investors, will enable investors to access data on companies’ climate risks and use this information to allocate capital. In this vein, balancing the need for robust disclosure data and tools and the need for simple, comparable, and standardized formats will be key. It is clear that the discussions started in the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which aim to create one set of standardized metrics for climate reporting, will need to continue. Elsewhere, national-level data and tracking is an important starting point to realign public budgets and incentives to promote climate action particularly if it is tailored to countries’ own definitions and accounting systems.
  • Green banks or greening banks? There was a consensus among San Giorgio Group attendees on the importance of refocusing attention on domestic actors, especially in light of national commitments made as part of the Paris Agreement and given the fact that most green investment is raised and spent domestically. There was a discussion of whether new entities such as green banks are needed, or whether mainstreaming climate considerations into existing institutions’ practices can address the current climate finance gap. In many countries, the latter may prove more efficient. Additionally, streamlining international climate finance architecture to reduce overlaps, improve efficiencies, and channel more finance through domestic organizations could increase the effectiveness of the system as a whole.
  • Cities need better access to finance but for new technologies. Many of the actions needed to prevent dangerous temperature rise and adapt to climate change involve cities. Cities and their many layers of decision-making present a challenge but also a huge investment opportunity. There was a consensus among San Giorgio Group attendees on the need to increase cities’ access to finance and better target city-relevant solutions, and discussion on whether there is an opportunity for cities to leapfrog to better, more innovative technologies.
  • With the right investment products and a pipeline of bankable projects, investors are ready to act on climate. The investment needs for transitioning to low-carbon, resilient economies are such that public finance alone will never be enough. Green growth requires increased finance from mainstream private investors, some of whom already invest at significant levels in some green technologies in some countries. There is capital available and many investors looking for opportunities. Innovative financial instruments that blend public and private finance will help but simplicity, scale, and speed are essential.

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CPI participates in a project that encourages rural producers to reforest Mata Atlântica

May 23, 2017 |

 

Dimitri Szerman explains the initiative, which takes place in the South of Bahia

Interview with one of the 3,000 rural producers selected for the Sul da Bahia project. Photo: Dimitri Szerman

 

Encourage forest restoration in the northeastern Brazilian of Bahia – this is what the South of Bahia project aims to. Supported under INPUT, it is a collaboration between Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), Brown University, Floresta Viva Institute and Santa Cruz State University. The survey project that began in 2015 and includes nearly 3,000 producers will evaluate payment for environmental services to rural producers of the cacao region of Bahia. Dimitri Szerman, CPI analyst, coordinates part of the work related to economic issues. He explains the project in the following interview.

WHAT IS THE SOUTH OF BAHIA PROJECT’S OBJECTIVE?

DIMITRI SZERMAN: This project consists of payments for environmental services, with two main objectives. The first objective is to understand how to motivate rural producers to restore their properties with species from the Mata Atlântica biome. Also, we seek to understand more about the biome’s natural vegetation restoration process. Our focus is how sustainable rural development aligns with compliance with the Forest Code.

WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE PARTNERSHIP? AND WHAT IS CPI’S CONTRIBUTION?

DS: The project is the result of a partnership between CPI, Brown University, Floresta Viva Institute and Santa Cruz State University. The multidisciplinary team of researchers is composed of ecologists, agronomists, sociologists, and economists, such as me. CPI’s contribution is to design financial incentives for restoration and to analyze rural producers’ choices and preferences.

 

“This involves constant care. Generally,

the challenge is greatest in the driest areas or

where pastures have prevailed for many years”

 

HOW IS THE PROJECT RECEIVED BY RURAL PRODUCERS?

DS: Very well. We have already been collecting field data for one year. We selected 3,000 producers at random from the region to participate in the project. Most of them agreed to talk to our team and we have already completed two rounds of interviews with each one of them. Our implementing partner’s team in the field has contributed to such a high participation rate. Sixteen young agronomists from the region, who recently graduated from the State University of Santa Cruz, were selected for the Floresta Viva Institute survey team.

WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS OF RURAL PRODUCERS WHO WILL RECEIVE FINANCIAL INCENTIVES TO RESTORE VEGETATION IN THEIR PROPERTIES COMPLETE?

DS: They must set aside a half of a hectare of their property for the restoration, and look after this area for the restoration to occur. This includes removing species that are not woody, planting seedlings, and, in some cases, enclosing the area so that cattle do not disturb it. This involves constant care. Generally, the challenge is greatest in the driest areas or where pastures have prevailed for many years.

 

“The availability of labor workers 

is an obstacle for restoration”

 

WHERE IN BAHIA IS THE WORKING GROUP BEING CONDUCTED AT THIS MOMENT? HOW FREQUENTLY HAVE YOU TRAVELED TO BAHIA?

DS: The survey was launched in 26 municipalities in the cacao region of Bahia. On average, I travel every three months to supervise the field work. I attend meetings with producers and communicate directly with the team to better understand the reality on the ground. Good communication with the team in Bahia is fundamental to the quality of the work, since I have to understand what is going on in the field and they have to understand the survey’s requirements.

Dimitri Szerman, CPI analyst

 

PLEASE EXPLAIN IN GENERAL TERMS THE METHODOLOGY THAT IS BEING APPLIED FOR THE PROJECT.

DS: The methodology is the same as in a controlled clinical trial, known as Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). The idea is to test different types of incentives for restoration, as well as different restoration methods. To do so, the 3,000 producers are sorted to receive different types of incentives. As such, it is possible to isolate the effects each type of incentive has on the acceptance of the restoration program, as well as on its fulfillment.

 

After the drought that hit the region last year

many farmers started to better understant the forest’s

importance in building resilience for their crops”

 

ARE THERE ANY PRELIMINARY RESULTS?

DS: We are still analyzing the data, but we already have a good description of the producers’ profiles. Some features are surprising. For example, the average age of respondents is 59 years – they are older than we might have expected.

We have also observed the availability of labor workers is an obstacle for restoration. Taking care of these areas and planting seedlings demand a lot of work.  If you are a small producer living in a rural area, it is not always easy to find people to work on your property. We have also learned that after the drought that hit the region last year many farmers started to better understand the forest’s importance in building resilience for their crops. Let’s see how much this influences their attitudes towards restoration.

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