Category Archives: Climate Change

Op-Ed: A call to arms – the climate change crisis amidst mass unemployment

Jonathan Neale, Daily Maverick, 29 October, 2017.

We have been living through a persisting global economic crisis. A global crisis of climate change is happening at the same time. In South Africa we face the reality of a massive jobs crisis. We need solutions to all three. Urgently. By JONATHAN NEALE.

A new 64-page report – One Million Climate Jobs: Moving South Africa forward towards a low-carbon, wage-led, and sustainable path – by the Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC) provides the detail, with extensive research citations, showing how this can be done and financed.  The focus is on South Africa, but the remedies are broadly replicable across the globe.

The whole world is full of voices saying there is a stark choice between jobs and action on climate. In South Africa, they tell us to choose between jobs for coal miners and saving the planet.

The either/or choice is misconceived. There are many immediately available alternatives – with (insufficiently recognised) sources of finance available.

These alternatives include:

  • A decent public-sector job or monthly government grant for everyone who loses their job because of a shift to renewable energy.
  • Monthly government grants for every subsistence farmer who loses their livelihood because of climate change.
  • Creating a million jobs by a determined tackling of climate change.

The urgency of climate change makes meeting these needs urgent.  The most serious of the climate changes include:

Drought, heat and storms kill – and will increasingly kill –crops. In the economic system we live in, that means famines.

Rising sea levels and terrible storms flood and ruin – and will increasingly flood and ruin – many of the world’s cities. The recent floods in Johannesburg and Durban and the havoc in Durban Harbour are timely harbingers…

..

And, as climate change bites, poor rural people will need more land, and better land. Land reform is their second requirement.

Everywhere, there is the need for jobs. Private companies and the market have created unemployment. A publicly-driven attack on climate change can create a million climate jobs.

Here’s how:

We need to cut emissions from burning coal, oil and gas by 90%. Instead of cutting back on production and consumption – the standard expectations – we can stop burning coal and gas. We can make almost all our electricity from wind and solar power.

We can provide buses and cars that are comfortable, fast, reliable and cheap. While taking many cars off the roads, we can run cars, buses and trains on renewable electricity, not oil.

We can insulate houses so they lose less energy. We can heat homes with solar energy. We can build millions of new public houses that are heated and cooled with renewable electricity.

We can transform industry and agriculture to use less energy.

And, to do all this, will create at least a million jobs.

Renewable Energy                     250,000 jobs
Public Transport                        390,000 jobs
Construction                             200,000 jobs
Agriculture                               100,000 jobs
Waste, Industry and Education   110,000 jobs

TOTAL                                  1,000,000 jobs

With those jobs, research shows we can cut South Africa’s climate changing emissions by at least 75% in 20 years.

Here is the full article.

BNP to Halt Shale Oil Financing, Expand Funds for Renewables

Bloomberg, 11 October, 2017

BNP Paribas SA pledged to stop financing shale and oil sands projects, expanding earlier commitments in support of global efforts to tackle climate change.

France’s largest bank will no longer do business with companies whose main activity stems from oil and natural gas obtained from shale or oil sands, it said in a statement Wednesday. The policy covers companies involved in activities ranging from exploration to marketing and trading. The company also won’t fund oil or gas projects in the Arctic region.

BNP Paribas said it’s committed to bringing its financing and investment activities in line with international efforts to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Achieving that goal relies on reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels,  starting with energy from shale and oil sands, the bank said…

Once a global leader in oil financing, BNP has withdrawn from funding coal mines and coal-fired power plants in recent years, along with other big European banks including Societe Generale SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Agricole SA. Energy excluding electricity represented 4 percent of BNP’s total lending commitments, down from 6 percent in mid-2015, according to its filings.

“Our role is to help drive the energy transition,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Laurent Bonnafe said in the statement. “We’re a long-standing partner to the energy sector and we’re determined to support the transition to a more sustainable world.”

Here is the full article

 

New IEA Report Delivers Failing Grades to Most Green Technologies

GreenTechMedia, 13 June, 2017

Say you’re a member of the world community and a signee committed to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals. You’d probably want to track your progress and assess your results.

You’d essentially be asking, “How well is the human race doing in its quest to transform its energy mix away from polluting sources?”

The answer is not so well, according to a new report from the IEA, Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2017, which looked at 26 technologies and their performance in meeting the 2°C Scenario (2DS) in 2025. (The 2DS is defined as “an energy system pathway and a CO2 emissions trajectory consistent with at least a 50 percent chance of limiting the average global temperature increase to 2°C by 2100.”)

Only three of the 26 technologies are on track to meet that goal, while eight are significantly off-track and will need strong policy corrections to hit the 2DS.

The bright spots are:

  • Solar and onshore wind, combined into one category as mature variable renewables, had strong annual capacity growth and record-low long-term contract prices
  • The global stock of electric vehicles grew to 2 million, with 750,000 EVs sold in 2016
  • Energy storage reached almost 1 gigawatt in 2016 (excluding pumped hydro)
  • Failing grades go to:
    • Coal still had more than a 40 percent share in 2016. Meeting the target will mean retiring inefficient technologies and equipping plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS).
    • CCS has stalled. IEA reports: “The pipeline of projects has effectively stalled due to lack of new investment decisions,” as well as economics that do not pencil out.
    • Advanced biofuels would need “a 25-fold scale-up in production volumes” by 2025 to be on track with the 2DS target.
    • The report points out that most countries do not have building energy-efficiency codes in place.

Here is the full article

John Oliver on Trumpian pronouncements (to be taken lightly!)

John Oliver on the Last Week Tonight show

A brilliant explanation of the Paris Agreement, with some Trump asides. Well worth watching for as long as you can stand it.

https://www.crediblecarbon.com/news-and-info/news/john-oliver-trum…ts-taken-lightly/

SA’s first climate change suit to set important precedent

LegalBrief, 7 March, 2017.

Ironically, as SA’s first climate change lawsuit kicked off last week, the defendants were forced into taking a position they do not support, mostly because they lack the capacity to enforce legislation, writes Legalbrief.  The case began last week in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), with Earthlife Africa asking the court to revoke the environmental impact assessment for the proposed privately run Thabametsi power station near Lephalale in Limpopo, notes a Pretoria News report. The issue before court is whether it is necessary to properly assess the climate change impacts of a proposed coal-fired power station, before environmental authorisation is granted in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema). Advocate Steven Budlender, acting for Earthlife Africa, told Judge John Murphy that if the answer is yes, this case must succeed ‘because environmental authorisation was granted without any proper climate change assessment having been done’. The report notes the case concerns the proposed 1200 MW coal-fired power station, which will be in operation until at least 2061. Budlender argued that a climate change impact assessment required, at the very least, an assessment of the extent to which a proposed coal-fired power station will contribute to climate change over its lifetime, by quantifying its greenhouse gas emissions during construction, operation and decommissioning. Environment Minister Edna Molewa subsequently agreed that the climate change impact of the power station had not been properly addressed and found that it was necessary for Thabametsi to conduct a full climate change impact assessment regarding the power station. Molewa, however, proceeded to uphold the environmental authorisation and merely required Thabametsi to complete a climate change impact assessment. Budlender said in doing this, the Minister acted unlawfully and undermined the purpose of the climate change impact assessment and the environmental authorisation process.

Full Pretoria News report

 

Opposing the application for the Minister and her department, Advocate Gilbert Marcus SC argued there was no provision in domestic legislation expressly stipulating a climate change impact assessment must be conducted before the granting of an environmental authorisation. He pointed out that the government was in any event taking extensive steps to address the issue of climate change. Earthlife lawyer Nicole Loser highlighted SA’s vulnerability to climate change, according to an SABC News report. ‘We have a national climate change response policy, which acknowledges that SA is a country extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Some of the examples of this kind of impact are water scarcity. The policy acknowledges that we will be suffering from increased drought, increase flooding, extreme weather patterns. We will also be seeing increased temperature. These are some of the things that we are already seeing and climate change is going to make this worse,’ she is quoted as saying.

Full SABC News report