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5 reasons why the Paris Agreement is a joke (and how we can fix It)

by Sasja Beslik March 18, 2019 on Medium here

The Paris climate agreement is a joke. And I should know — I was there when it was drafted. Three and a half years ago, I was one of the hundreds of politicians and heads of industry who convened in Paris with a singular goal: Devise a plan to combat global warming and avoid a global environmental disaster….

…Here’s how we can amend the Paris Agreement to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050:

  1. Institute a global carbon tax. Countries respond to incentives, and a tax on carbon is the perfect incentive for a more sustainable future. Countries will reduce their carbon emissions to protect their bottom lines, and the countries that don’t will pay the price (literally).
  2. Create a regulatory body to hold countries accountable. A carbon tax means nothing if you can’t enforce it. The United Nations should create an agency to monitor Paris Agreement countries and make sure they’re progressing toward their carbon emission and green energy goals. Countries that fall short of their commitments should be subject to sanctions and fines. The fines should subsidise green energy projects in other countries and investments in sustainable companies.
  3. Stop subsidising fossil fuels. Governments across the world currently spend a combined 150 billion for renewable subsidies which can be compared to the costs associated with subsidising fossil fuels currently at 5.3 trillion USD. This is destroying the planet. We need a global ban on all fossil fuel subsidies.
  4. Re-allocate capital to sustainable companies. All of the money we used to spend propping up fossil fuel industries should instead go to companies that committed to energy efficiency, clean energy and repairing the environment. The UN estimates we need to invest 2.4 trillion USD into the energy system by 2035 (about 2.5 percent of the global GDP) to have stave off cataclysmic climate change. That’s an enormous number, and the investments need to begin immediately if we can even hope to reach it.

Time is running out. We need action targeted in a direction where it matters the most. And the Paris Agreement falls way short of achieving those goals.

Sasja Beslik is an international financial expert known for promoting financial sustainability across the world.

A win for wildlife: a new and improved sustainability standard for palm oil

by National Wildlife Federation

Whether or not you’ve heard of palm oil, you’ve likely either eaten it or used products that contain it. Each year, more than 60 million tons of palm oil is produced, making it the world’s most consumed vegetable oil. 85 percent of the oil palm grown to produce this quantity comes from South East Asia (primarily Indonesia and Malaysia), where mass deforestation of tropical rainforests has occurred to make room for plantations. This has resulted in the endangering of many species like orangutans, rhinos, and elephants.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an association of industry and environmental, social, and developmental NGOs. Our previous article explained that the RSPO was formed to tackle the environmental and social problems that were being created by the palm oil industry. The RSPO’s Principles & Criteria are a set of requirements that companies must comply with in order to be certified as sustainable. The Principles & Criteria are reviewed every five years and this year an intensive review process was undertaken by all stakeholders, including the National Wildlife Federation, giving the RSPO over 11,500 individual comments on how to improve the environmental and social aspects of this standard.

Read more: https://blog.nwf.org/2018/11/new-improved-sustainability-standard-for-palm-oil/

We help drive the clean energy economy forward

The Climate Center (CCP) developed the Business for Clean Energy (BCE) program six years ago because we believe that business drives innovation and can play a crucial role in helping to address the climate crisis. The BCE program provides a network and resources to support our members in incorporating sustainability into their businesses and keeping them abreast of the developments in climate protection and clean energy. BCE also supports research and advocacy on policies that help build the clean energy economy.

This year at our quarterly breakfasts we had presentations from Brad Heavner, Policy Director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, who spoke on the big regulatory changes in California and its impact on rooftop solar. Karissa Kruse, President of the Sonoma County Wine Growers, did a presentation on what the wine industry is doing to reduce carbon emissions. Assembly member, Marc Levine told members an insider’s perspective on a plethora of climate and energy bills in Sacramento that became laws this year. Just as valuable as these presentations is the peer to peer exchange at every meeting where members share what sustainability initiatives are happening in their businesses. Sometimes you can even see new projects being hatched.

In March of 2016 we hosted the Business of Local Energy Symposium in San Jose, which was attended by 350 people from all over California with an interest in Community Choice Energy. We had state regulatory leaders, leaders of operational Community Choice programs, operators of the electrical grid, and businesses leaders with technical, market, and financing expertise.  It was a day of sharing and incubating new solutions for local communities.

In the fall of 2016 we released a report called “Community Choice Energy: What is the Local Economic Impact?” which used San Jose as a case study. The report examined the potential for economic stimulus if San Jose were to pursue meeting a large percentage of their energy needs through local solar energy production. Under the scenario with the highest level of local solar build out, the report projected that more than 2,000 jobs per year over six years would be created regionally from Community Choice Energy activity, with an associated $1.25 billion of additional economic activity. The forecasting in the report was based on a nationally recognized model created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Now that we know how beneficial local solar development can be to the economy, The Climate Center is working with partners to accelerate this approach. Solutions that create jobs and business opportunities can spread rapidly.  As we race against the clock on the climate crisis, we will need all the speed we can get.