New York City Tends to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

New York City Tends to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

This different path of the home city of the United States actually aligns with the ambitious aim of the Paris accord i.e. bordering global warming to 1.5C.

And for this, de Blasio introduced a citywide plan, outlining the measures to be taken in the first three years, and which are to be taken to cut emissions below 2005 levels i.e. by 80% by 2050. The plan; also known as 1.5C – Joining New York City with the Paris Climate Accord – calls to offset all the residual carbon pollution by 2050.

However, to achieve the target of carbon neutrality, in the next three decades, New York tends to lead the ‘global protocol’ development as per the plan. And the plan may also include carbon sequestration, large-scale renewable and carbon offsets to make up for the remaining carbon pollution.

Executing the Different Path: New York Carbon Neutrality Target by 2050

In order to execute the plan and to continue achieving the targeted results, the mayor is calling up every agency of the city government to make some strategies that would help to comply with the target of 1.5C.

De Blasio stated: “Big problems require big solutions – and New Yorkers are already hard at work to meet the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. In the Trump era, cities have to lead the way when it comes to fighting climate change. Hotter summers and powerful storms made worse by climate change are an existential threat to a coastal city like ours, which is why we need to act now.”

Showing confidence in the New York plans, the executive director of C40 cities group, Mark Watts, stated that the plan is nonetheless, a leading example in the world in terms of evidence-based planning.

Short Term Target to Meet the Big Challenge

New York’s target constitutes of many short-term targets that are expected to be achieved in the coming years. The plan focuses on achieving some specific actions by the year 2020, also covering building codes, efficiency, and transport and energy production. Also, the plan aims at heralding the electric car advent and announcing the budget of $10 million in the account of fast charging hubs and that too, in all the five boroughs by the year 2018. And in next five to seven years, the city aims at installing almost 50 citywide hubs.

According to the Daniel Zarrilli, Climate Policy Senior Director;

“In the face of federal inaction on climate change, it is now more important than ever for cities like New York to step up to fulfill the Paris Agreement,”

Ever since Trump has taken the presidency of the US, almost 200 states, nations, and cities, which also include New York City, have successfully signed up to a coalition majorly led by the Jerry Brown, governor of California.

This coalition aims at developing plans that are in line with the goals of the Paris climate accord and that too, by calling on the signatories.

Australian Government Denies Claim and Reveals Joint Action Plan with China

The Chinese invitation to issue a formal joint statement with regards to climate change was rejected by the Turnbull government earlier this year. Meanwhile, Greenpeace claimed that Australia vetoed the extraordinary step in the emerging international role of Asian power, in curbing the greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the claim was strongly denied by the Australian government and they stated that the energy departments of both countries were actually working for a ‘joint action plan’ with regards to climate change and that too, as one of their responsible commitments of Paris Agreement.

According to Li Shuo, the senior advisor of climate change at Greenpeace East Asia, the government silently knocked back the offer during the state visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Australia in last March.

Mr. Li claimed that the offer suggested; China is now ‘diplomatically proactive’ unlike previously, where the country was at the receiving end of offers from the United States and the European Union to outline mutual climate change commitments.

Mr. Li called the offer ‘very very significant’.

The Uncertainty after the Election of Donald Trump

Mr.Li observed that the offer would have been a strong political signal throughout the international community. And that too, in the middle of uncertainty which was triggered by President Donald Trump’s election, which has actually wound back the leadership of America on climate change, and initiated the withdrawing process of the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Mr. Li said “The Chinese delegation with Li Keqiang came with the proposal but that didn’t get the green light from the Australian side. It was clearly the intention from the Chinese side to build up international climate momentum. I think the proposed bilateral statement was part of that effort to send a signal back to the rest of the world and primarily the US.”

Mr. Li claimed to receive this information from the figure directly involved in the Chinese government.
However, the Australian government’s spokesperson said that Australia “did not decline an offer from the Chinese government earlier this year to make a joint statement on climate change” and said that the March leaders’ meeting was ‘highly successful’.

The spokesperson further added, that both the states also “discussed ways to strengthen bilateral co-operation and action on climate change”.

“This included opportunities to support the implementation of the Paris agreement through a joint action plan between China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy. These discussions are ongoing,” added the spokesperson.

Nonetheless, seizing the American withdrawal opportunity, Mr. Li’s regime aims at more a prominent international role in terms of climate change. And for this, the state is stepping up and cooperating with the other nations along with pursuing some domestic measures. These efforts include cancelling numerous projects of coal-power, national emissions trading schemes and rapid development renewable power.

As the debate continues, the fact that Australia has great potential to contribute to climate change is undeniable. Australia has been a great supporter of the Paris Accord, and it takes the challenge of climate change as one of the many issues which do not respect national borders.

European Climate Change – Portuguese Children Takes a Step

The failure of European countries in addressing the climate change issue has become more severe. Recently, the world witnessed the incident of a deadly forest fire in the central Portugal -Leiria region that not only left thousands of people injured but also killed more than 50 people.

As a result, Portuguese schoolchildren of the affected area, which were also victimized in that deadly forest fire, are now seeking to crowdfund in order to sue almost 47 European countries.

The step is taken to allege the failure of the state in tackling the prevailing issue of climate change that is now threatening their right to live, even more frequently.

Portuguese schoolchildren crowdfunding – what to expect!

The bid was raised on the Crowd Justice platform and has already been supported by the GLAN – Global Legal Action Network. They are hoping for an initial £35,000 in order to facilitate the case through the European Court of Human Rights.

The lawyers of the case will seek a ruling from the judiciary that all the sued countries must strengthen their policies of emission reduction significantly, and commit that most of the fossil fuel reserves will be existing in the ground.

“This case intends to build on the successes which have been achieved through climate change litigation across the world so far. It will be unique because it will be the first case in which multiple governments are brought before a court at the one time in relation to their failure to properly tackle climate change.
Climate change poses a major and increasingly worsening threat to a number of human rights and governments in Europe are simply not doing enough to address it.”
–Says Marc Willers – lead council – QC of Garden Court Chambers

While the lack of measures to tackle climate change issues have already been claimed as the main cause of this forest fire eruption, a 14-year-old child, also a part of group said;

“Climate change causes many problems, but if I had to name the ones that worry me the most, it would be the sea level rise, which leads to the destruction of shores and infrastructure such as dams, roads and houses, and also the increase in the number of forest fires that we’ve been observing lately – especially this summer, as the fires caused many deaths and left our country in mourning.”

Nations likely to be targeted by legal action

If legal action is taken against the case, it will target almost 47 European countries that are also the major emitters and include Ireland, UK, France, and Germany. All of them are responsible collectively for almost 15% of emissions on the global level along with holding a huge proportion of known reserves of fossil fuel.

While there is an urgent need of addressing these natural calamities, many countries all around the world need some serious adjustment to their prevalent policies of climate change.

No matter how the case is executed, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights is ultimately going to be binding for these states.

France Takes the Lead – Leaving out Trump’s Propositions for Climate Change

When the US government or to be specific, Donald Trump, withdrew the country from the Paris Climate Change Accord, the world started looking towards other nations to enhance global leadership towards climate change.

And in these collective efforts, France is announced to be the first country that will phase out the gas and oil exploration, including production by the year 2040 – according to the draft bill.

This has raised questions in the heads of many. People are making speculations if France is truly stepping up into the era of global leadership towards climate change.

One major aspect of the Paris Climate Change Agreement is to keep the temperature below 2 degrees, striving for 1.5 degrees in actual, as, in the case of failing to do so, a quarter of the marine life, including almost half a billion people will be completely wiped out.

Emmanuel Macron Takes the Lead

According toBen Oquist – Executive Director of Australia Institute – the easiest way to meet the agreement responsibilities, made under the government of Abbott, is to focus on the energy sector. Otherwise, the nation might head down a difficult path in the near future.

He stated to Guardian Australia:

“While political uncertainty continues to shroud energy policy, this new modeling analysis shows higher levels of renewables will be needed if Australia is to meet the Paris targets in an economically efficient manner.Regardless, Australia’s 26-28% emissions targets will have to be lifted in the future if Australia is to meet its obligations to help avoid the 1.5-2 degrees of global warming agreed to in Paris.The reality is that the electricity sector will have to ‘go faster’ in reducing emissions than other sectors of the economy.Outside the electricity arena abatement is more expensive and the technical and political complexities are greater.”

The analysis of the institute takes reforming the energy sector as the easiest path.

“The good news is that renewables are now driving down prices and more renewable in the future will lead to even lower costs. With a combination of a ‘smarter’ grid, storage and demand management, much higher levels of renewable penetration can be achieved with strong reliability and in a more cost-effective way than a coal-dominated system.” – says Oquist

Tough Call for Turnbull Government:

French President Emmanuel Macron stated to the United Nations that the Paris Climate Change Agreement is a pact between future generations. Moreover, he also confirmed to Donald Trump that the climate agreement is not going to be renegotiated on any terms.

However, Macron showed support for the US by stating that the doors of the agreement will remain open if the US wants to re-join the efforts towards climate change, and suggested that he hopes he will convince Trump accordingly.

In past years, Macron has shown exceptional leadership for climate change. He also rebuked Trump after his move of withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement and tweeted; ‘To make planet great again’ which went viral all over the world.

In the continuation of efforts put by France, the country has decided to ban diesel and petrol sale by the year 2040 and was also adopted by the UK to handle air pollution. Whereas Germany is also following the lead, Norway has already decided to sell only plug-in or electric hybrid cars by the year 2025. And with that, China also joins the anti-fossil fuel force.

Whereas President Donald Trump is still trying to figure out the climate issue, France is already leading in the green finance area. France launched a bond costing 7 billion Euros earlier this year – the longest and the largest most issuance of green bonds till today.Also, France has introduced carbon and climate risk reporting as mandatory from the pension fund, institutional investors, and insurance companies.

Wider Impact on Governments, Banks, and Markets

Since France is not a top producer of oil, the major concern is for other markets across the globe. For instance, France has banned fracking, and without considering public opinion, although it had the largest reserves of shale gas in Europe.

Since not much can be expected from the US, other governments must take up the mantle and ban fossil fuel exploration to cut down climate risks. Also, considering the unprecedented hurricanes’ power witnessed in the last month, with Irma, Harvey and now Maria shows that the cost attached to climate change is pretty dramatic.

Hence, the best bet for the world is not to adapt to the changes but to fight the climate change by reducing emissions and that is something that must be achieved fast.

Paris Climate Agreement – Australia is failing to meet the Commitments

The Australian government previously agreed to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change but in just a year’s time, a report has established the fact that Australia is at a risk of falling short of its national emission targets.

Moreover, the situation is being faced without ramping up the shift of the electricity sector towards renewable energy.

The report concluded that for electricity generation by the year 2030, Australia would need at least 66% – 75% renewable energy in order to meet the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement.

If not, they are likely to face a delay in the necessary transition, increasing final cost to the economy.

This issue needs to be addressed with the right measures so that the burden of emission reduction is not transferred to other sectors such as agriculture or manufacturing.

As per the agreement, Australia is supposed to cut down carbon emissions by almost 28% below 2005 figures. Considering that; the energy sector of Australia accounts for at least 35% of Australia’s emission – having a big part to play in reducing emissions.

Australia Aims at Passing Down the Emission Burden:

According to Ben Oquist – Executive Director of Australia Institute – the easiest way to meet the agreement responsibilities, made under the government of Abbott, is to focus on the energy sector. Otherwise, the nation might head down a difficult path in the near future.

He stated to Guardian Australia:

“While political uncertainty continues to shroud energy policy, this new modeling analysis shows higher levels of renewables will be needed if Australia is to meet the Paris targets in an economically efficient manner.Regardless, Australia’s 26-28% emissions targets will have to be lifted in the future if Australia is to meet its obligations to help avoid the 1.5-2 degrees of global warming agreed to in Paris.The reality is that the electricity sector will have to ‘go faster’ in reducing emissions than other sectors of the economy. Outside the electricity, arena abatement is more expensive and the technical and political complexities are greater.”

The analysis of the institute takes reforming the energy sector as the easiest path.

“The good news is that renewables are now driving down prices and more renewable in the future will lead to even lower costs. With a combination of a ‘smarter’ grid, storage and demand management, much higher levels of renewable penetration can be achieved with strong reliability and in a more cost-effective way than a coal-dominated system.” – says Oquist

Tough Call for Turnbull Government:

The findings of the report come at a very critical time for the government. Being under attack from within, the Turnbull government seems to be stuck in a dangerous no-man’s land regarding both the renewable energy policy and the climate.

Such uncertainties with regards to policy settings can also affect the investment and might increase the capital cost, with the flow of effects coming on the electricity price in the market.

While the government claims to be consistent in putting efforts to meet the commitments of the emission target, it still remains to be seen if the Australian government chooses to meet the agreement in the hard or the easy way.

US to Submit Withdrawal Notice from Paris Climate Accord in the UN

However, the US will remain engaged in hoping to get more favorable terms from the climate deal

There are various reports that the Trump administration will formally submit a notice to the UN that the US is going to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. The letter to the UN will be the first development after Trump’s announcement in June that he wants to withdraw and renegotiate the participation terms of the US in the deal.

Sources from the State Department told E&E News that internal briefings had begun to inform employees in the department that the US was going to tell the UN that it will remain engaged in the provisions of the Paris accord till their official departure from the Arocess in 2020. They will also tell the UN that they are open to review the decision if conditions (still unspecified) are met by the UN. However, intentions of leaving the deal have been made very clear in the body of letter.

The Paris Climate Accord doesn’t permit signatories to submit any formal request to leave until three years after the deal was struck. Even after the completion of this time period, it requires a one-year-notice for complete withdrawal from the pact.

The total time for full withdrawal makes an interesting scenario in the US: the country can’t fully withdraw from the accord until one day after the next US elections will be held on 4 November, 2020. It means any formal or informal communication with the UN right now regarding the Paris Climate Accord will not hold any legal weight.

 

US wants ‘favorable’ renegotiations

As reported by The New York Times, a letter from the White House to the UN states, “As the President indicated in his June 1 announcement and subsequently, he is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the US can identify terms that are more favorable to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers.”

The letter also confirms that the State Department will continue to be part of climate talks going to take place in Bonn in the coming November. This continuation highlights the fact that the US wants to ensure the availability of all future options regarding the climate policy in order to protect its interests.

The CEO of World Resource Institute, Andrew Steer, is of the thought that the US intentions to remain involved in the process might be taken with positivity and openness from the UN.

Steer thinks that the US should have a constructive attitude in these engagements. Issues such as transparency should be put forward by the US to show its seriousness. Otherwise, pretending to be an outsider that is going to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord will not help the US when it comes to voicing opinions.

Both the State Department and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are not available for comments on this ongoing development.

France Aims at Putting an End to Petrol and Diesel Vehicles by 2050

Pursuing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, France aims at putting an end to petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and becoming carbon neutral 10 years later.

Same was also stated by Nicolas Hulot – Ecology Minister, at a presentation with regards to measures required for keeping up momentum on the Paris climate changeagreement. In extension to that, the president – Emmanuel Macron also want to emphasize on the implementation of the pact to combat climate change, even more now, since Donald Trump – the US president, has pulled out of the remarkable deal, agreed upon in Paris in the year 2015.

As stated by Nicolas Hulot;

“One of the symbolic acts of the plan is that France, which previously had made the promise to divide its greenhouse gas emissions by four by 2050, has decided to become carbon neutral by 2050 following the US decision. The carbon neutral objective will force us to make the necessary investments.”

Determined to speed up the measures, Hulot presented almost 23 policy proposals and an array of preventive measures and that too, under six different themes but almost all of them fell short of particular details with regards to the achievement of the objectives.

 

Putting an End to Fossil Fuels

In the first half of the year, gasoline and diesel vehicles represented almost 95.2% of French car fleets (new) whereas the market percentage held by electric vehicles was almost 1.2 percent and hybrid cars was 3.5 percent.

Mr.Hulot takes the removal of fossil fuels as one of the main objectives of France in order to eradicate carbon emissions, in terms of becoming more carbon neutral by the year 2050. Among the major policy proposals, the key plan is to stop hydrocarbon license delivery in France and the legislation of this is due around the end of this year.

“The 2025 date is the objective, I hope we will keep to it,” – Mr. Hulot.

By 2022, France plans to end its production of coal-generated electricity while the government maintains its goal of cutting nuclear power generation share towards French electricity. Moreover, France also aims at taking serious measures to restrict using palm oil for bio-fuels production, aiming at reducing deforestation indirectly.

Greenpeace – an environmental campaign, on the other hand, also claims that although the analysis of the French government is carried out correctly but the presented proposal is still short of solid measures that would be needed to deal with the challenges faced from climate change.

“We are left wanting, on how these objectives will be achieved,” Cyrille Cormier – Greenpeace campaigner said in his statement.

He further added;
“The goal to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2040 sends out a strong signal, but we would really like to know what are the first steps achieve this, and how to make this ambition something other than a disappointment”

While Mr. Hulot seems quite confident about the proposal, they also cited the finest examples such as of Geely’s Volvo, that plans to transform electrically with some major new models by 2019 and 2030 respectively.

California Doing its Part to Deal with Climate Change by Using Renewable Energy

The state is hoping to go 100% renewable before the mid-century

California, of the world’s sixth largest economy, is demonstrating how you can switch from gas and coal to renewable energy options such as solar, wind or battery storage to the whole world. A number of innovative companies in California – comprehending the need for urgency — are wasting no time in debates concerning whether or not renewable forms of energy can take over conventional sources of energy. They are actually showing governments and utility companies how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to achieve green energy targets.

Mr. Kennedy, the managing director of the California Clean Energy Fund — an NGO which helps environment friendly start-ups to take off — says that the political debate has progressed so much now that it is about whether to achieve 80% renewable or go full 100%.

As of now, California is powered with 26% renewable, and is planning to have 50% share of renewable by 2030. The state is also planning for legislation to increase the target to 100% by 2045.

While Trump’s administration is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, California is persisting with its lone battle for clean environment. Trump’s decision has reignited the resolve of the state governor to continue with their ambitious plan to roll-out 1 million electric cars in California by 2020 to reduce greenhouse emissions of transport.

Right now, renewable energy sources are the second largest sources of electricity generation. The other sources include wind (9%), solar (8%), geothermal (2%), biomass (2%) and small-scale hydro (2%).

 

California Energy Commission (CEC): The driving force behind California’s exceptional progress for climate control

As stated by the commissioner of CEC, Karen Douglas, they are looking for the next big and ambitious target of going fully renewable before the middle of the century. According to her, the state’s ability to meet clean energy targets is owed to diverse renewable options and willingness of companies to help with technological innovations. It is noteworthy that California is not only relying on wind and solar energy to fulfill the clean energy needs, the state also has the largest geothermal facility in the US.

California is also working to rapidly increase the capacity of battery storage. Companies like Tesla, AES Energy and General Electric, have contributed to rolling out 100MW battery storage in the last six months. Rapid addition in battery storage of the state is also helping utilities to tackle the hours of peak demand.

 
 

The establishment of hybrid peaker plants has helped to reduce the emission of carbon

GE/Southern California Edison peaker plant in Norwalk, Los Angeles, is the world’s first natural gas/electricity hybrid plant. Hybrid peaker plants are traditional power plants with the addition of battery storage, which helps them to respond swiftly to the changing energy needs. Conventionally, peaker plants are always running on standby, wasting energy and adding more greenhouse gases to the environment. On the other hand, hybrid peaker plants don’t need to run on standby when they are not required by the grid.

This G20 Summit: A Mix and Match of Division and Unity

19 out of 20 Countries are on the same page but there is still a lack of a deeper ambition regarding climate action

On the climate front, the recent G20 meeting have not seen the desired progress, thanks to the US for its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and repeated attempts to convince other nations to care less about climate change.

However, the summit can’t be termed as an outright failure, since all the global leaders expect one has agreed that global climate action is the need of the time and reiterated their sincerity to meet the challenges of the Paris Agreement. Due to the determination of the majority of the nations, the structure of climate action remained intact but it’s still a long road.

Due to the untiring efforts of the host country Germany, 19 out of 20 global leaders showed their complete support for the Paris Agreement. Their unrelenting support to this crucial climate deal has made it clearer that all the propositions of the deal are ‘irreversible’.

The final declaration of the summit reflects how oblivious and secluded the Trump administration is, especially regarding climate control and action.

 

US traveling on the opposite lane

Not only did they remain elusive to the concerns shared by the other 19 major global economies, but they also want to add statements on the behalf of all G20 nations encouraging the use of fossil fuels, especially from the countries outside of G20. Thankfully, the statement was not included in the final statement because there is a unanimous realization in the summit that increasing the dependency on fossil fuel will sabotage the efforts being made to limit the damages to the environment and climate.

 

There are some highs indeed

Even before the commencement of the summit, France took the leading position by announcing a very promising decision. According to the announcement, France will completely end the sale of vehicles run on liquid fossil fuel (diesel and gasoline) by 2040.

There were reports that in order to avoid the isolation at G20 due to its bizarre position on climate control, the US had been persuading countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia to back off from the commitments of the Paris process. However, the successful diplomacy of German Chancellor Angel Markel trumped in the end to and 19 countries reached a consensus.

 

Concerns that remains

Even though the world has witnessed the determined position of world leaders on climate action, there are still things that remain unaddressed. For instance, the promises to add more provisions in every nation’s climate action plans couldn’t make it into the final statement.

‘Nationally determined contributions’ of the countries will only help in achieving one-third of the target set for a 2C world. It is important to mention that we need 1.5C world to make the temperatures safe for every country on the face of the earth. Since the position of US was being watched by the whole world and their intent of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement has associated this G20 Summit with division rather than the agreement.

However, there is a silver lining in this whole situation since many of the US states and companies are still committed to the aims of the Paris Agreement.

The Project of Energy Storage – Tesla takes Lead in Winning Contract for SA

To back up and support the blackout plagued South Australian power grid, Elon Musk’s Tesla inc. has taken the lead in winning the contract to supply the largest lithium-ion-battery in the world.

The step was taken to make good on a promise which was first made four months back over Twitter by Musk,  about resolving the energy woes of the state.

Pairing it with Hornsdale, a wind farm north of Adelaide, Tesla plans to provide almost 100 MW of storage by 1st DEC. According to the statement by Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier. In a separate statement, Musk also confirmed that the system, which is facilitated with the capacity of almost 129 MWh is likely to provide electricity to more than 25000 homes.

“We’re talking about something that’s three times as powerful as the next biggest battery installation in the world. We actually insisted when doing the contract that we be held to the 100 days or it’s free. That’s what we said publicly, that’s what we’re going to do” – Musk informs reporters in Adelaide.

“Battery storage is the future of our national energy market and the eyes of the world will be following our leadership in this space” says Weatherill in a statement. Moreover, Tesla also received the support of AGL Energy Ltd – Australia’s largest power generator.

Besides offering ‘powerwall’ to its customer – a residential unit of energy storage, Tesla is making a much larger scale system of energy storage called ‘powerpacks’ for world’s utilities and commercial businesses.

 

Battery Promise

Musk had previously promised to bring into operation the Tesla made battery storage project, designed to eradicate blackouts in South Australia. South Australia is the mainland state of Australia that is most dependent on renewable energy, however, this promise has brought Musk into a messy political spat over the policy of energy in Australia.

Australia is famous for being one of the largest producers of gas and coal worldwide, and the frequent power outages are now raising fear of suffering from more widespread outages across the nation. In addition, there is now more concern and question as to why the largest producer of gas and coal is itself deprived of electricity or, to be precise, struggling to keep the power on.

The idea of a 100-day battery that is presented by Musk received a receptive ear from the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull – who last year emphasized innovation and made it a flagship policy. Prior to politics, Turnbull made a fortune in the dotcom boom in the year 1990.

Mike Brookes, the tech billionaire, also showed interest and confidence in this project and expects it to be an effective move for the development in the South Australia.