Tag Archives: climate

Eight steps to improve understanding of climate finance flows in your city or country

May 21, 2015 | and

 

Understanding how much climate finance is flowing, where it comes from and how it flows to which activities and projects on the ground is not only useful at the global level to help understand progress towards climate finance goals. It can also help countries, regions, cities, and organizations to understand their progress toward meeting their own development, economic, and environmental goals by:

– Establishing a baseline against which to measure progress, reveals current patterns of investment and any blockages in the system.
– Revealing interactions between public finance and private investment which can inform decisions about how to redirect flows from business-as-usual to low-carbon and climate-resilient investments.
– Helping international partners see how they can support domestic efforts.
– Identifying opportunities to increase climate finance and providing an important basis for policymakers to develop more effective policies, particularly when combined with analysis of what is working or not in different interventions.

Climate Policy Initiative produces the most comprehensive overview of global climate finance flows available. We have also carried out in-depth mapping of climate finance flows for Germany and Indonesia. The following eight steps summarise the approach we take to map climate finance flows in different contexts. Although the process is complicated because of significant data gaps and inconsistencies, the principles behind such mapping are relatively simple. Applying them can improve understanding of climate flows. They are:

1. Decide what finance you want to measure.The first step is to decide which activities you want to focus on. For some you’ll also need to decide what makes a particular activity low-carbon or climate-resilient. This is relatively easy to do for something like renewable energy generation. However if you want to understand how much finance is flowing towards more climate-resilient, productive and sustainable land use, you will have important decisions to make on what you want to include and what you should leave out.

2. Set the geographical scale.Are you going to track finance flowing to these activities at the international, national, regional, city or organizational level?

3. Decide whether to track public finance, private investment, or both. Information on some climate finance flows (e.g. official development assistance) is easier to track than for others and there are some – like private investment in energy efficiency – where very little reliable data is available at all. But ideally a mapping exercise for a country, region, or city would include both public and private flows to the extent possible because understanding how these different sources of finance interact is essential to making best use of your financial resources.

4. Consider total investments, not just additional investment costs.Research into the additional costs of low-carbon interventions above higher-carbon alternatives is useful and has even shown that some low-carbon transitions may be cheaper than business-as-usual. But, when dealing with the practicalities of tracking and managing climate mitigation and adaptation investment for planning purposes, it is simpler to consistently track current total investment rather than additional investment costs.

5. Focus on project-level primary financing.Project-level primary financing is finance going to activities and projects on the ground and the best indicator of progress on climate action. Aggregate data does not allow the same insights as project-level data while data on secondary market transactions (e.g. refinancing, selling stocks) represents money changing hands. Such transactions can play an important role in providing project developers with capital to reinvest in further projects but they do not necessarily represent additional efforts to reduce emissions or increase climate resilience.

6. Track public framework expenditures.Many projects would be impossible without the development of national climate strategies, specific regulations and enabling environments for investment but these costs are not seen at the project level. Tracking them is important to have a real understanding of how much public finance is flowing to and needed for climate action.

7. Exclude public revenue support for projects such as feed-in tariffs and carbon credit revenues.While these revenue support mechanisms are often essential for climate action they pay back the investments made in climate-relevant projects and activities that you are already counting. Including investment costs and policy-induced revenues would therefore mean you were counting the same flows twice.

8. Exclude private investments in research and development.These are investments that private actors try to recover when selling their goods and services so counting them in addition to investment costs would, once again, mean you were counting the same flows twice.

The quality of your mapping exercise will depend on the quality of the data you have. Fragmented data in the land use sector is the reason we are working with the European Forestry Institute and Climate Focus, in an upcoming publication, to provide policymakers with a series of mapping tools to understand potential entry points for climate finance flows in their land use sectors. Often these countries are aware of the opportunities to shift from unsustainable to sustainable land use but lack financing strategies to deliver their goals. This project will help them identify which fiscal and financial mechanisms are available to unlock new investors and more efficient investments.

We are happy to assist countries, cities, or organizations looking to better understand their climate finance flows by undertaking mapping exercises, just get in touch.
 

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California’s New 2030 Climate Target Aims to Reduce Emissions by 40%

May 1, 2015 |

 

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an ambitious new emissions reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. It’s being lauded as one of the most aggressive climate targets in North America.

The new target is as an important step between California’s goal of reducing emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, set in an earlier executive order, and the interim target of 1990 levels by 2020, set under California law AB32 in 2006.

In 2013, AB32 launched one of its key policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet these targets – the Cap and Trade program. Unlike many such programs around the world, California’s Cap and Trade program acts as a backstop to a series of complementary policies that cover major emitting sectors in the state with the goal of returning California emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

CPI’s California Carbon Dashboard continues to offer the latest on AB32 and California’s Cap and Trade program, including current and historic carbon prices in California, emissions caps and history by sector, and relevant updates from the California Air Resources Board. It also provides a comprehensive overview of AB32 and complementary policies, as well as the role of the Cap and Trade program in meeting the emissions reduction target.

CPI analysis shows that the carbon price is making a difference. A 2014 study explored how industrial firms, which are responsible for 20% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and are required to buy allowances to cover some of their emissions, are making decisions under the Cap and Trade Program. We focused on the cement industry, which is the largest consumer of coal in California, and found that the carbon price is making a difference in how cement firms approach business decisions about actions that would reduce emissions, such as investing in energy efficiency or switching to cleaner fuel.

It’s clear that California is well on its way to achieving the 2020 target, but meeting the 2050 target would require reducing emissions five times faster than the current pace. Governor Brown’s new 2030 target will put pressure on the state to pick up the pace. The next step is for California’s legislature to put in place a legal framework for post-2020 emissions reductions. CPI will update the California Carbon Dashboard once a post-2020 framework is in place.

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Six climate finance themes out of Lima that will shape 2015

December 17, 2014 |

 

Government representatives from around the world met last week in Lima, Peru to negotiate global emissions reductions as part of the annual UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP20). Once again, the need to mobilize more investment in a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy was an important point of debate.

Climate Policy Initiative’s analysis is playing a key role informing serious discussion on climate finance and finding solutions to increase the effectiveness and scale of climate finance investments. Here are the themes we saw at this COP that we feel will shape climate finance action and debate over the next year.

Entrance-to-Lima-Cop20

Entrance to Lima COP20

1. Finance is flowing but it’s not enough.

The COP20 High-Level Finance Ministerial began with a presentation of the UNFCCC’s Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows 2014. This research, which draws on Climate Policy Initiative’s work to track climate finance, tracked between 340 and 650 USD billion in annual investment. As CPI has shown, this figure is far short of the need.

Global Landscape of CLimate Finance needs

Annual climate investment compared to the need

2. Governments voiced support for innovative initiatives that unlock private finance.

CPI’s analysis shows that while public finance often provides the conditions for climate investment to take place, private investors contribute the largest share of finance, year after year, in countries across the world. It also shows that public finance alone will not be enough to meet the investment need. Several government representatives spoke of the need to find innovative ways to unlock increased private investment. Representatives from Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, and U.S. used their time on the COP plenary floor to voice support for one such initiative – The Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance – which CPI supports as its Secretariat, advancing innovative financial instruments to drive significant additional investment in developing countries.

3. The Green Climate Fund reached more than $10 billion in commitments – good progress ahead of COP21 in Paris next year.

Following the pledges from Japan, the U.S. and UK over the last weeks, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Austria, Spain, Norway, and Canada helped the Green Climate Fund reach its $10bn goal at this COP with new pledges. These pledges to help developing nations deal with climate change are good news. They increase the chances for a global climate deal next year in Paris, and if spent wisely, can supplement domestic public resources where they fall short and drive billions in private investment toward low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.

4. Finance for adaptation is becoming a higher priority.

The Green Climate Fund restated its intention to use half of its finance for adaptation purposes. Germany also stepped up on adaptation, committing an additional 50 million euros to the Adaptation Fund. CPI’s work shows that while adaptation finance grew by 12% last year, it still falls short of the need.

 5. Tracking of climate finance continues to improve.

Following on recommendations from the UNFCCC’s Biennial Assessment and Overview of Climate Finance Flows 2014, many countries used their time on the COP20 plenary floor during the Finance Ministerial to talk about the need for an agreed-upon definition of climate finance and improved tracking systems. CPI’s analysis supports this need and shows that climate finance tracking can support countries’ attempts to formulate better policies.

 6. Economic growth and combating climate change can go hand in hand.

Last but not least – there was a growing sense that acting on climate can also spur economic growth at this year’s COP. Many experts have documented that climate change and the resulting extreme weather would have huge social and financial costs to the global economy. This year, the New Climate Economy report showed that measures that reduce climate risk can not only help to avoid a shrinking economy in the future, but can also help grow the economy, today.

 FelipeCalderon-speaks-about-New-Climate-Economy-from-COP20

President Felipe Calderón speaks about the New Climate Economy report from the COP20 plenary floor

Going into 2015, one big-picture lesson is clear – climate finance will continue to be an important focal point for those working to respond to climate change. CPI will continue to work to provide analysis that supports these discussions.

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With new market structures and business models, consumers can help states reduce carbon emissions

July 8, 2014 |

 

On June 2, in a historic move towards addressing CO2’s climate impacts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Clean Power Plan proposed rule for regulating carbon emissions from existing power plants. The regulations encourage states to take advantage of a range of CO2-reducing methods, like energy efficiency and renewable energy, rather than requiring all emissions reductions to occur at the power plants themselves. Electricity consumers can play an important role in states’ plans to meet the regulations, if regulators can take advantage of all the resources they can provide. Fully utilizing consumers’ electrical resources may require the help of new market structures and business models.

The value that individuals, households, and businesses can provide to the electric grid could be quite significant. Technologies such as rooftop solar panels, “smart” thermostats, more efficient appliances, and electric vehicles, especially when combined with smart meters and other smart grid technologies, could enable consumers to reduce the demands on the grid at peak times and help absorb excess generation from renewable generation when demand is low. As CPI discusses in our Roadmap to a Low Carbon Electricity System, many factors are already conspiring to make these consumer-level resources more valuable and accessible.

Wise use of these so-called distributed energy resources could replace some of the fossil-fuel power plants that would otherwise be needed to balance a renewable-generation-heavy grid, creating cost-effective emissions reductions. They could even make the grid more resilient to future severe weather.

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Paving the way for emissions reductions in California

July 1, 2014 |

 

California’s budget for the next fiscal year, signed by Governor Brown on June 20, includes $832 million in auction revenues from the Cap and Trade Program, which will go toward high-speed rail, public transportation, energy efficiency, and other projects to support low-carbon, sustainable communities. Where did that money come from? In some cases, from industrial firms like cement producers and food processors, which are responsible for 20% of statewide greenhouse gas emissions and are required to buy allowances to cover some of their emissions.

Our new study, Cap and Trade in Practice: Barriers and Opportunities for Industrial Emissions Reductions in California, explores how those industrial firms are making decisions under the Cap and Trade Program. More specifically, we wanted to know if industrial firms, given their typical decision-making processes, would invest in the emissions reductions options that are most cost-effective on paper — and if not, what are the barriers? We focus on the cement industry, which is a major player in the industrial sector and is also the largest consumer of coal in California.

The carbon price is making a difference

We find that the carbon price is making a difference in how cement firms approach business decisions about actions that would reduce emissions, such as investing in energy efficiency or switching to cleaner fuel. Firms are considering the carbon price when they make investment decisions, and our modeling shows that the carbon price significantly changes the financial attractiveness of several abatement options.

As an example, this graph shows how the carbon price adds to the value of an investment in energy efficiency. The additional savings from reducing the firm’s obligations under the Cap and Trade Program would add around 50% to the value of the investment if the carbon price is near the price floor — or could more than triple the value of the investment if the carbon price is at the top of its target range.

Cap and Trade - Lifetime Value of Energy Efficiency Investment

The Cap and Trade Program magnifies the value of an energy efficiency investment

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The Clean Power Plan means changes for coal, but not the ones you might expect

June 18, 2014 |

 

Under President Obama’s recently announced Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed that states cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels.

Commenters on both sides of the aisle say this rule means big changes for the coal industry.

But before we get fired up about the changes, it’s important to take a look at the facts: While states will need to retire coal plants at the end of their useful lives to meet the proposed limits, EPA’s rule would give states a great amount of flexibility to avoid coal asset stranding and still meet emissions reduction targets. In fact, valuing the right services from coal plants will prove the more important question for a low-cost, low-carbon electricity system.

Let’s look at why.

First, we need to understand what the rule really means for coal asset stranding. An asset is “stranded” if a reduction in its value (that is, value to investors) is clearly attributable to a policy change that was not foreseeable by investors at the time of investment.

In our upcoming analysis of stranded assets, Climate Policy Initiative finds that if no new investments are made in coal power plants and existing plants retire as planned (typically, 60 years for plants with pollution control technology investments and 40 years for plants without), the U.S. coal power sector stands to experience approximately $28 billion of value stranding from plants that are shut down. While that’s a big sounding number at first glance, it’s very small relative to the size of coal power sector. As the figure shows, that retirement schedule puts the U.S. coal power sector on track to come close to the coal power capacity reductions called for in the IEA 450 PPM scenario to limit global temperature increase to 2°C.

U.S. Coal Power w emissions (2)

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Looking behind IPCC’s WG3 climate finance figures

April 15, 2014 |

 

Last Sunday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final version of the Summary for Policymakers for its working group dedicated to the assessment of the options for mitigating climate change. This is the first time an IPCC assessment report features a chapter dedicated to investment and finance. We are thrilled to see that the results draw heavily on CPI Climate Finance pioneering work in the field.

To demystify the term ‘climate finance’ and better understand the magnitude and type of climate financing available, CPI has provided an overview of the climate finance landscape for the past three years. Three particular objectives have guided our work:

(1)  identifying the main dimensions of climate finance,
(2)  highlighting issues and gaps in the tracking of flows, and
(3)  pointing to remedies when needed.

The third edition of this study, the Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013 is the most comprehensive look at climate investment to-date.

$356-363 bn. went to climate finance projects in 2012…

The Summary for Policymakers indicates that “published assessments of all current annual financial flows whose expected effect is to reduce net GHG emissions and/or to enhance resilience to climate change and climate variability show USD 343 to 385 billion per year globally.” These numbers are taken from the 2012 edition of the Global Landscape of Climate Finance and are relative to the year 2011. We updated these numbers in the 2013 edition and found that climate investment plateaued at an average $359 billion in 2012, far short of even the most conservative estimates of the investment need.

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Climate policy in 2014

February 14, 2014 |

 

Around the world, nations are striving to use increasingly scarce resources more productively, meet energy security goals, and reach economic growth targets, all while reducing climate risk. These are complex and urgent challenges, and policy plays a critical role in addressing them.

Since our inception in late 2009, Climate Policy Initiative has been working hard to answer pressing questions posed by decision makers through in-depth, objective analysis on some of the most significant energy and land use policies around the world, with a particular focus on finance.

As we continue to tackle these important and complex issues, your feedback on how we’re doing is extremely important. We hope you’ll help us reflect on the past, as we ring in a new year, by participating in a five-minute survey about our work.

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Why risk coverage matters and what can be done to scale up green investment

December 6, 2013 |

 

Risk, whether real or perceived, matters. It is the biggest barrier preventing private capital from flowing into investments and, given the enhanced risk profile of low-carbon technologies, it is even more crucial for climate finance investments. Higher risks demand higher returns and higher financing costs, making low-carbon technologies even less competitive.

While not all risks need to be reallocated, whenever risk falls onto a party not suited or not willing to bear it, risk coverage instruments (such as guarantees) can be key to unlocking private resources without depleting public budgets.

CPI has observed this phenomenon time and time again in our case studies.

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COP19: A video primer on global climate finance with Barbara Buchner

November 21, 2013 |

 

The report says $359 billion has already been spent this year, but it is less than last year.

The bulk of the money (62%) comes from the private sector, enabled by public activities and most of the money has gone towards renewable energy. $22 billion has been spent of adaptation and $32 billion on energy efficiency.

This video interview was recorded, produced, and originally published by Responding to Climate Change.

Read “The Global Landscape of Climate Finance 2013.”

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