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Tackling Australia’s Coal Mine Methane Problem

June 7, 2022

Ember has conducted an in-depth analysis to equip policymakers and campaigners to understand the scale of methane emissions from Australia's coal mines.The report provides an overview of the policy levers and practices which could lead to a reduction in coal mine methane, and makes recommendations targeted at improving the measurement, reporting, mitigation and, ultimately, avoidance of coal mine methane emissions. Particular focus is given to Queensland and New South Wales – Australia's two largest coal mining states.We assessed data from the Australian Greenhouse Emissions Information System, Clean Energy Regulator, Australian Chief Economist, Department of Natural Resources and Mines, International Energy Agency and Global Energy Monitor. 

Lighting the Path: What IPCC energy pathways tell us about Paris-aligned policies and investments

June 7, 2022

This report outlines key implications for governments and investors aiming to align their policies and investments with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement, based on different energy pathways published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Sixth Assessment Report, published in April 2022.This report shows that significant structural changes are required in the energy sector to align with pathways limiting warming to 1.5°C. The pathways consistent with the IPCC's assessment of feasible and sustainable deployment of Carbon Dioxide Removal and Carbon Capture and Storage technologies leave no room for delayed action. The oil and gas phase-out timelines presented in this report constitute the ambition level consistent with the best estimates of the current and future capacity of mitigation technologies. Accordingly, this report presents the key implications for governments and financial institutions aiming to align their policies and investments with feasible 1.5°C pathways. Its recommendations are designed to guide the understanding of the Paris alignment, consistent with the IPCC findings, and should inform plans to strengthen and amplify policy interventions.

Seeking Clarity on Nature-Based Climate Solutions for Adaptation

June 6, 2022

While there is increasing policy momentum for NbS, criticisms and controversy cloud its application and upscaling. This guidance note clarifies the concepts behind NbS and related terms and shines a light on how to achieve equitable outcomes through a focus on gender responsiveness, social inclusion, and positive outcomes for biodiversity and ecosystems.As the world witnesses and experiences the impacts of climate change, turning to nature could be a pragmatic way to adapt. Governments are being urged to implement ecosystem-based approaches, which include conservation, restoration, and improved land management, in both adaptation and mitigation. Such approaches, framed under the umbrella concept of nature-based solutions (NbS), are expected to be a key component of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and are already integrated into many countries' National Adaptation Plans (NAPs).However, controversy remains about what constitutes as NbS and how to achieve equitable outcomes while enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. Compounding this challenge is the unprecedented scale of biodiversity loss as a result of climate change and other interrelated drivers of change.This guidance note aims to clarify the concepts of NbS and nature-based climate solutions (NBCS) with an emphasis on climate adaptation. These adaptation-focused NbS are captured using the widely known term ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA). Beyond awareness and knowledge of these terms, it is vital to unpack the social and biodiversity safeguards necessary for NbS to ensure that solutions are gender responsive, socially inclusive, and deliver biodiversity benefits. This guidance note is a knowledge product of the Nature for Climate Adaptation Initiative (NCAI).

Flying Towards Climate Failure: An Analysis of the Seven Biggest European Airline Groups

June 2, 2022

Globally, aviation is a major contributor to rising greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In recent years, annual emissions from aviation have increased by 4-5%, up to the start of the COVID crisis in 2020. Although the pandemic has led to a temporary decline in aviation emissions, air travel is projected to return to its skyrocketing pre-pandemic levels as early as 2024. Without political action to counter its growth prospects, the aviation industry will become one of the biggest emitting sectors globally and by 2050 it will have consumed up to a quarter of the global carbon budget for achieving the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal.Under pressure for their skyrocketing emissions, some actors in the aviation sector have recently pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. But no company in the sector has pledged to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve real-zero decarbonisation. Instead, the industry and political leaders are relying on excessive optimism about false or technological solutions, such as carbon offsetting, electric planes and alternative fuels that are either ineffective, harmful for the environment or a long way from being viable in the coming decades or easily available at the required volumes. Researchers have highlighted that these "technology myths" are stalling the necessary progress in climate policy for aviation. While other transport sectors, such as rail and road, can – to a certain extent – directly use electricity based on renewable sources such as solar and wind power, similar solutions do not yet exist for aviation. The goal of real-zero emissions will not be achieved without a significant reduction in flights.

Shocked into action: Answering multiple threats to security, European countries are accelerating the shift from fossil fuels towards renewables.

June 1, 2022

In this report, CREA and Ember analyse European national responses to the gas crisis and Russia's war on Ukraine. They show that the majority of European countries have significantly stepped up their ambition in terms of renewable energy deployment since 2019, while decreasing planned 2030 fossil fuel generation to shield themselves from geopolitical threats.

A Blue Wave of Ocean Action

June 1, 2022

The year 2020 was dubbed the Ocean Super Year given the confluence ofcritical global meetings for the ocean, as well as seminal events such as thekickoff of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.Although the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement or alterationin format for several key meetings, critical ocean action has continuedboth formally and informally across all levels and sectors. As we look to theremainder of 2022, we continue to see a "blue wave of ocean action" withpivotal decision points on the horizon—from creating the first generationof high seas Marine Protected Areas and adopting a post-2020 globalbiodiversity framework, to further integration of the ocean-climate nexusinto formal UN processes and country commitments.Our Shared Seas prepared this document to help the marine conservationcommunity track ocean meetings, policy decisions, and reports due out inthe second half of 2022. This guide aims to provide coverage of globallysignificant moments on the ocean calendar; it does not endeavor to featurecomprehensive treatment of every ocean event or report. 

Mapping India's Energy Policy 2022

May 31, 2022

Carefully designed energy support measures—subsidies, public utilities' investments, and public finance institutions' lending—and government's energy revenues play a key role in India's transition to clean energy and reaching net-zero emissions by 2070. Looking at how the Government of India has supported different types of energy from FY 2014 to FY 2021, the study aims to improve transparency, create accountability, and encourage a responsible shift in support away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy.Mapping India's Energy Subsidies 2022 covers India's subsidies to fossil fuels, electricity transmission and distribution, renewable energy, and electric vehicles between fiscal year (FY) 2014 and FY 2021.We found that fossil fuels continue to receive far more subsidies than clean energy in India. This disparity became even more pronounced from FY 2020 to FY 2021, going from 7.3 times to 9 times the amount of subsidies to renewables.

Europe Eats the World: How the EU’s Food Production and Consumption Impact the Planet

May 23, 2022

Despite being the world's largest exporter of agri-food products in economic terms, the EU carries a significant trade deficit when measured for what actually matters in nutritional terms, such as calories and proteins. The EU consumes more than its fair share and our current high levels of food production are only possible thanks to massive imports of resources.

Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electricity Across Canada by 2035

May 19, 2022

Reliable, affordable, 100 per cent emissions-free electricity in Canada by 2035 is entirely possible. Not only that, it would create numerous jobs and help Canada meet its international climate obligations."Shifting Power: Zero-Emissions Electricity Across Canada by 2035" is the first Canadian modelling study to explore pathways to zero-emissions electricity by 2035 without relying on expensive and sometimes unproven and dangerous technologies like nuclear or fossil gas with carbon capture and storage. The analysis uses purpose-built electricity modelling to explore reliable, affordable pathways that prioritize wind, solar, energy storage, energy efficiency and interprovincial transmission, while also accounting for a growing economy and aggressive electrification up to 2050.

Environment of Peace: Security in a New Era of Risk

May 19, 2022

The environmental crisis is increasing risks to security and peace worldwide, notably in countries that are already fragile. Indicators of insecurity such as the number of conflicts, the number of hungry people and military expenditure are rising; so are indicators of environmental decline, climate change, biodiversity, pollution and other areas. In combination, the security and environmental crises are creating compound, cascading, emergent, systemic and existential risks. Without profound changes in approach by institutions of authority, risks will inevitably proliferate quickly.Environment of Peace: Security in a New Era of Risk surveys the evolving risk landscape and documents a number of developments that indicate a pathway to solutions––in international law and policy, in peacekeeping operations and among non-governmental organizations. It finds that two principal avenues need to be developed: (a) combining peacebuilding and environmental restoration, and (b) effectively addressing the underlying environmental issues. It also analyses the potential of existing and emerging pro-environment measures for exacerbating risks to peace and security. The findings demonstrate that only just and peaceful transitions to more sustainable practices can be effective––and show that these transitions also need to be rapid.Environment of Peace: Security in a New Era of Risk offers policy principles and recommendations for navigating this new era of risk. A longer report setting out the evidence base in detail will be published later this year.

Words vs Actions: The truth behind the advertising of the car and airline industries

May 19, 2022

New analysis by environmental research group DeSmog, commissioned by Greenpeace Netherlands, "Words vs. Actions, the truth behind the advertising of the car and airline industries", shows how European airline and car companies use advertising to evade their climate responsibilities by either exaggerating their corporate response to the climate crisis or completely ignoring the damage their products cause. Greenpeace Netherlands selected a representative sample of ten European airlines and car makers, and DeSmog then analysed a year's worth of their advertising content from the Facebook Ad Library, comprising ads posted on both Facebook and Instagram for European audiences. The analysis of 864 car advertisements and 263 airline advertisements suggests that the companies are greenwashing, in other words presenting a deceptively environmentally friendly image.In Europe, more than 30 organisations are supporting a campaign to legally end fossil advertising and sponsorship in the EU, much like the long-established directive banning tobacco sponsorships and advertisements. If the campaign collects one million verified signatures in a year, the European Commission is obliged to respond to the proposal. 

Everything is Climate Now: New Directions for Industrial Policy from Biden’s Supply Chain Reports

May 17, 2022

On February 24, 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a massive, history-making collection of supply chain reports. A combined 1,358 pages in length, these 19 reports were written by seven federal agencies and numerous staff from a network of 17 national labs. Collectively, they represent the first time since the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration that the US federal government has taken it upon itself to not only inventory the industrial resources of the national and global economies, but also set out detailed industrial policy targets designed to equip those industries to meet today's most important existential challenges. Released on the same day as Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the reports understandably received little notice from the press and public. But amid the growing geo-economic rift wrought by the war, policymakers of democracies are attempting to rapidly unwind their economic exposure to autocracies—making the reports even more relevant.This issue brief highlights three of the reports' most important contributions. First, the reports demonstrate that everything is related to climate now. Whether the authoring agency is seen as having an environmental mandate or not, and whether the industry under study in a given report is obviously climate-related (like green hydrogen) or not (semiconductors), guaranteeing the future resilience of every industry requires planning for the destabilization that the climate crisis has brought and will continue to bring. Second, the supply chain reports show that policy in Washington is increasingly oriented toward a broader conception of the role of the state in the economy that goes beyond remedying narrow market failures. The final—and crucial—point these reports demonstrate is that policymakers have still not settled on a fully fledged paradigm for what precisely this broader role for the state could or should look like, nor what governance institutions should be formed to support that new role. The scope of this new role could include fostering better coordination among competing and complementary demands for scarce resources, standing up new institutions and sticks to hold industry accountable, and directly producing and owning needed resources. Additionally, policymakers should rewrite international rules to better support this agenda and learn to leverage the power of organized labor as a partner in industrial policy, which can in turn aid racial justice and material equality.