Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s outlook shows renewables will be cheaper almost everywhere in just a few years.
Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast.
That’s the conclusion of a Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlook for how fuel and electricity markets will evolve by 2040. The research group estimated solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S. and by 2021 will do so in quick-growing markets such as China and India.
The scenario suggests green energy is taking root more quickly than most experts anticipate. It would mean that global carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels may decline after 2026, a contrast with the International Energy Agency’s central forecast, which sees emissions rising steadily for decades to come.
“Costs of new energy technologies are falling in a way that it’s more a matter of when than if,” said Seb Henbest, a researcher at BNEF in London and lead author of the report.
The report also found that through 2040:
BNEF’s conclusions about renewables and their impact on fossil fuels are most dramatic. Electricity from photovoltaic panels costs almost a quarter of what it did in 2009 and is likely to fall another 66 percent by 2040. Onshore wind, which has dropped 30 percent in price in the past eight years, will fall another 47 percent by the end of BNEF’s forecast horizon.
That means even in places like China and India, which are rapidly installing coal plants, solar will start providing cheaper electricity as soon as the early 2020s.
“These tipping points are all happening earlier and we just can’t deny that this technology is getting cheaper than we previously thought,” said Henbest.
Coal will be the biggest victim, with 369 gigawatts of projects standing to be cancelled, according to BNEF. That’s about the entire generation capacity of Germany and Brazil combined.
Capacity of coal will plunge even in the U.S., where President Donald Trump is seeking to stimulate fossil fuels. BNEF expects the nation’s coal-power capacity in 2040 will be about half of what it is now after older plants come offline and are replaced by cheaper and less-polluting sources such as gas and renewables.
In Europe, capacity will fall by 87 percent as environmental laws boost the cost of burning fossil fuels. BNEF expects the world’s hunger for coal to abate starting around 2026 as governments work to reduce emissions in step with promises under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Beyond the term of a president, Donald Trump can’t change the structure of the global energy sector single-handedly,” said Henbest.
All told, the growth of zero-emission energy technologies means the industry will tackle pollution faster than generally accepted. While that will slow the pace of global warming, another $5.3 trillion of investment would be needed to bring enough generation capacity to keep temperature increases by the end of the century to a manageable 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the report said.
The data suggest wind and solar are quickly becoming major sources of electricity, brushing aside perceptions that they’re too expensive to rival traditional fuels.
By 2040, wind and solar will make up almost half of the world’s installed generation capacity, up from just 12 percent now, and account for 34 percent of all the power generated, compared with 5 percent at the moment, BNEF concluded.
JAMAICA’S CLIMATE Change Division (CCD) is working on strengthening coordination and overall efficiency within the island’s focal point network, tasked to ensure climate change considerations are included in the planning and operations of each ministry, department and agency of government.
A first step is a lunch meeting to be held this Friday to share on the state of play with international climate change deliberations, post the entering into force of the historic Paris Agreement Jamaica’s ratification of which became official on May 10.
“We will also have a discussion about how we prepare for a pre-COP (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), what type of pre-COP event we would want to have this year (ahead of the international talks to be held in Bonn), and the mini-COP we have planned for schools with the Ministry of Education,” revealed Una May Gordon, principal director for the CCD.
This meeting follows on a recent stocktaking of how the focal point representatives currently do their work and the way in which they use their knowledge of climate change.
The next step will be to secure a dedicated officer to handle coordination of the network, which currently has some 27 representatives from across the public sector.
“We are hoping that the consultant should be on board in June,” Gordon told The Gleaner, adding that funding for that person has come through the Japan Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (JCCCP).
The Jamaica component of the JCCCP was launched in June last year by the United Nations Development Programme and is designed to “bring together policymakers, experts and representatives of communities to encourage policy innovation for climate technology incubation and diffusion”.
The island is set to receive US$1.8 million of the US$15 million earmarked for eight Caribbean islands to help with climate change adaptation and mitigation.
In addition to coordination of the focal point network with a focus on sectors such as forestry, water and energy, for which adaptation and mitigation plans are being or will be developed Gordon said the consultant will also support the climate change board and its activities.
Attention is also being paid to the composition of the network.
“We are re-examining the focal points to see if we have the right people in place and to ensure we get more depth and adequate coverage across all the portfolios,” Gordon noted.
“I think we can add a few more (representatives) because some ministries have changed. There is (for example) the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, so we need two there. Another is the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport,” she added.
The CCD, meanwhile, has managed to add to its own team over recent months. There is now a mitigation officer Omar Alcock who takes over from Gerald Lindo, who left last year.
There is also a climate finance adviser whose services have been provided through support from the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as a public awareness and behaviour change officer, appointed through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience.
“I am quite satisfied with my little team,” said a smiling Gordon.
The earth has warmed barely a single degree Celsius, and yet virtually no place on the planet is unaffected by climate change. That’s the conclusion of both a new study published in the journal Science and a popular-science book out this week, The Unnatural World, by David Biello, the science curator at TED and a Scientific Americancontributing editor.
“This new age is not just climate change,” Biello writes, “it is everything change: the sky, the sea, the land, the rocks, life itself.”
The Science article reviews dozens of field studies and assembles them into a mosaic of ubiquitous change, from the genes of organisms to entire regions. More than 80 percent of the 94 biological and ecological systems surveyed show signs of the changing climate. Led by Brett Scheffers of the University of Florida, a team of 17 scientists trawled academic journals and enumerated observed changes across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments. The study’s seven pages are a dense catalog of pervasive, dynamic weirdness that paint a picture of changing ecosystems.
No particular item should strike fear in the hearts of readers but, taken together, the data portray a living world that’s trying to cope. Some highlights: Pink salmon are migrating about two weeks earlier in the summer than they did 40 years ago, spawning in ever-warmer waters and causing the fish’s genome to change. Southern flying squirrels, native to the eastern U.S., are becoming northern flying squirrels, now native to the Pacific Northwest, Canada, and Alaska. Colors—which help determine an animal’s sensitivity to light and consequently its ability to thrive in unfamiliar conditions—are shifting in butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. Some places have new diseases, and old diseases have arrived in new places.
The changes, large and small, illuminate the overarching global and regional changes that scientists have warned about, and now documented, for decades. The chemical and physical stability of many ecosystems, and therefore biodiversity, are under assault. The consequences for human society are both foreseen and unforeseen. “Losing genetic resources in nature may undermine future development of novel crop varieties and compromise key strategies that humans use to adapt to climate change,” the Science authors write.
They also suggest where to start: “It is now up to national governments to make good on the promises they made in Paris” to cut emissions and keep ecosystems safe. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to leave the historic climate accord, backed by almost 200 countries.
Change is so pervasive that geologists, keepers of the earth’s chronology, are considering the dramatic gesture of creating a new epoch, called the Anthropocene, to mark humanity’s influence.
The Anthropocene is the frame through which Biello peers in The Unnatural World. Read together, the book and the Science article demonstrate the astounding scale of human influence on the natural systems that sustain our planet.
“One of the longest-lived impacts of this new people’s epoch, longer lasting even than all the CO₂ piling up in the atmosphere,” Biello said about the Science paper, “will be our impact on evolution. The question now is: Will the Anthropocene be a blip in the rock record, like an asteroid impact, or can people learn to ameliorate our impacts and lengthen the span of this new epoch?”
At least one local environmentalist has hit back at Sally Porteous, custos of Manchester, over her arguments urging the Government’s authorisation of a coal plant for a US multibillion-dollar investment into the Alpart alumina plant in St Elizabeth.
The Chinese-owned Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) is planning to spend US$3 billion or J$387 billion for the upgrade of Alpart’s alumina plant in Nain and expansion into a special economic zone. More than 3,000 people are expected to be employed over the six-year period of initial investment.
However, a proposal to use a coal-fired plant has angered environmentalists, forcing the Government to come out declaring that any decision on whether to use coal is almost two years away.
Speaking last week at a Gleaner Jobs & Growth Forum in Manchester, Porteous did not hold back.
“While I listen to, and respect, the environmentalists, I sincerely hope that it is not going to be a case of crying wolf and preventing an enormous opportunity for Jamaicans to get work.
“From what I understand, they will not be using coal from China, they will be using coal from Colombia. The Alpart plant itself would be run on oil, and the coal they are going to be using for the coal plant will not emit any worst emissions than oil,” she added, noting that she recently met with Chen Chunming, the JISCO chairman.
But Diana McCaulay, chief executive officer of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), said Porteous’ analysis is not deep enough, and so, too, is her view that coal is cleaner than oil.
“People are entitled to their views. But coal is a 19th-Century technology. It is time for us to move forward, and it is time for us to take the position that we want development and we want industry and we want business and we want jobs for our people, but not at the expense of public health and the climate.”
She added: “Jamaica is incredibly vulnerable to climate change. To say that you’re willing to take this risk for some short-term jobs, I find mystifying.”
Jamaica has been going through decades of low growth, double-digit unemployment and crippling debt levels that have created the circumstances for a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”
It is not the first time a local official has waded into controversy over securing needed investment for the country. Last year January, in the face of a hotel investment being derail over breaches, Robert Pickersgill, then environment minister, in lifting a cessation order remarked that he took note of the “the substantial value of the project to the Jamaican economy, which outweighs all other consideration”.
In September, Mining Minister Mike Henry said a decision on the coal proposal was at least 18 months away.
Global environmental advocacy group Greenpeace has said constructing the plant would violate the Paris climate agreement aimed at limiting global warming.
Porteous maintained that the Chinese investment represents an opportunity to bring well-needed economic growth to central Jamaica.
“This is the centre of the island’s only chance for revival. We have nothing else. We’re not near a beach, the north coast is taking care of itself very, very well, and I can see very great business going into Kingston.
“We have the opportunity of a lifetime with JISCO coming to take over that plant,” she said.
The Manchester Chamber of Commerce said it is already taking steps to get the parish ready to claim some of the spinoff benefits.
“We’re currently in discussions with investors to try and lure them and encourage them to come into the development of the parish to aid in the development of the parish, especially as it related to three main areas,” said Michael Gottshalk, the chamber’s manager of communications and public affairs.
He said housing to accommodate the expected influx of workers, entertainment and parking are at the top of the list.
Armed with comments from the Office of the Attorney General (AG), Jamaica is looking at next year to ratify the Paris Agreement, which sets the framework for the global response to climate change.
“We have received the comments of the AG, which point out the obligations the country would have under the agreement. We now have to complete a series of consultations with the various stakeholders that would have a critical part to play in meeting those obligations,” revealed Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
“So we are going to be entering into that period of consultation before we seek the formal approval to ratify. We do not anticipate any hurdles; it is just now a process that we have to go through to ensure that we do not leave anybody behind. When we ratify, everybody must understand their obligations,” he added. Among other things, Jamaica will need to satisfy the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requirement for nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which fuel global warming.
“We already submitted our INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) and we are to confirm they are to move from INDCs to NDCs. So we have to formally notify the UNFCCC of our NDCs,” Khan explained.
There are, too, a number of procedural matters to deal with “such as some reporting requirements that will have to be met”, he noted. Jamaica’s adaptation strategy and action plans are among those items that will need to be reported on. Already, the island has identified a number of priority sectors for these plans, including water, health, tourism, human settlement and coastal resources, in addition to agriculture, forestry and energy.
“We will have to keep the UNFCCC updated on our steps to implement and in preparing those annual reports that we have to make,” Khan said.
At the same time, the chief technical director indicated that ministries, such as the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, will have “a significant role to play”.
“A lot of our targets in the NDCs are things that fall under the energy policy in terms of switching to renewable energy and so on,” Khan noted. Once the consultations are finalised, they will report to Cabinet for the required approval to proceed with the instruments of ratification.
“We have to satisfy the Cabinet that we have engaged all the stakeholders so they have a fair appreciation of what is involved,” Khan said. He has, however, cautioned that the process will take some time.
“We can’t just wish it and it is done,” Khan told The Gleaner. “The time of the year we are in and approaching and with members of our Climate Change Division participating in the COP (the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Morocco), that kind of slows our process down in terms of our resources to undertake and lead in some of the consultations.”
Added Khan: “So for the month of November, we are going to be pretty much tied up and the environment in December will not be conducive to consultations. So we could end up seeing the process drag into next year.”
NEW YORK — The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) kicked off on Tuesday here with more than 140 heads of state and government and a yearly tradition of speeches made to the 193 member states of the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.
This year marks the 71st session of the UNGA, convened under the theme ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world’, with particular focus on Goal #13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
This high-level week with world leaders is an opportunity for the Kingdom of Morocco to promote the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) set to take place in Marrakech, November 7 to 18. Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, will be on hand for a series of side-events and bilateral meetings aimed at reinforcing and promoting Morocco’s climate initiatives, including those on energy, agriculture, capacity building, adaptation and finance, discussing global warming issues affecting the most vulnerable countries and island states, and mobilising the international community for an ambitious global climate action agenda in Marrakech to implement the Paris Agreement.
United Nations Secretary
hosted a special event to encourage parties to ratify the agreement. According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, as of Tuesday, 29 parties have ratified the agreement, accounting for 40.12 per cent of global emissions. The Kingdom of Morocco will be among approximately 20 countries to deposit their instruments of ratification here during this week’s proceedings, inching closer to the 55 per cent necessary for legal entry into force when the agreement takes effect and becomes legally binding for those countries that have joined.
During his opening remarks, Ban underscored the importance of the climate change agenda.
“With the Paris Agreement we are tackling the defining challenge of our time. We have no time to lose. I urge you to bring the Agreement into force before the end of year. We need 26 more countries equalling 15 per cent of global emissions for entry into force,” he stated.
US President Barack Obama, during his last speech to the UNGA, called on the international community to keep working together to solve global issues including climate change. “The Paris Agreement gives us a framework to act, but only if we scale up our ambition,” he stated.
UNGA President Peter Thomson, the first from a Pacific Island nation (Fiji), underscored the need to act on climate change to avoid its negative impacts. “We are steadily moving towards the ratification of the Paris Agreement. We must not delay any further.”
Brazilian President Michel Temer affirmed his country’s commitment to fighting global warming, saying: “Tomorrow I will deposit Brazil’s instruments of ratification of the Paris Agreement.”
As the first African head of state to address the UNGA, Idriss Déby Itno, president of Chad, highlighted the importance of working with the international community to fight global warming on the continent. “It’s not about giving charity to Africa, it’s about true partnership with Africa to tackle climate and global challenges,” he said.
The traditional roll call of speeches to the UNGA starts with the United Nations secretary general, followed by the President of the UNGA, president of Brazil (first Member State to speak in the general debate since the 10th session of the General Assembly) and president of the United States (host country). For all other member states, the speaking order is based on the level of representation, preference and other criteria such as geographic balance.
Jamaica has begun preparations to participate in this year’s international climate talks set for Marrakesh in November, having earlier inked the historic Paris Agreement, which emerged from last year’s negotiations, held in France.
“I know the Government intends to be represented as usual, so discussions have started on the complement of the team to go and how we will fund that participation,” Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation told The Gleaner.
On Earth Day this year, Jamaica – represented by Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith – was among the more than 100 countries to sign the agreement that was the result of years long wrangling among world leaders and their technical teams.
In signing, they signalled their intent to ratify the deal, which sets out the road map for what many hope will be a climate-secure future, given its goal to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.
The inclusion of 1.5 in the text constituted a victory for small-island developing states, including those of the Caribbean. The icing on the cake for the Caribbean lobby was the region’s 1.5 to Stay Alive campaign – the collaborative effort of Panos Caribbean; the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre; the Saint Lucia Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology; the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; and the Regional Council of Martinique.
With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank, the campaign ran over five months – from October 2015, ahead of the Paris Talks, through February 2016.
Over the period, artists, artistes, media workers, civil-society organisations and government officials worked together to raise awareness of the importance of the negotiations and their implications for the region.
The key message conveyed was the need for a transparent and verifiable agreement that limits carbon emissions and ensures global temperatures do not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
It also sought to highlight the fact that it is the poorest countries, communities and people who are the most vulnerable to climate change, and that the fight against climate change is also the fight against poverty and for social justice.
Among the products from the campaign were a Facebook page (www.1point5.info) and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that attracted hundreds of followers; the 1.5 Selfie Video Challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral); and a flash mob held in Jamaica and involving Panos’ Voices for Climate Change Education artistes.
There were also a number of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Guy-Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who did a painting that bears the name of the campaign; and the production of a new album titled Earth Inspired that features the 1.5 to Stay Alive campaign theme song – available at soundcloud.com/panos-caribbean – and individual songs by artistes Aaron Silk, Minori Russell, Pam Hall and Lovindeer.
Aaron Silk and another Caribbean artiste Adrian ‘The Doc’ Martinez also attended and performed at the Paris Talks as part of the campaign. In doing so, they attracted onlookers to not only the Caribbean pavilion, but also helped to focus the spot light on 1.5 degrees Celsius as a necessary ingredient in the new climate deal.
Whether this year’s talks – which constitute the 22 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – will yield anything momentous remains to be seen.
“This COP is not one of the big ones that is going to create a lot of excitement. But we have the Paris Agreement now; we have to keep our vigilance,” he said.
“We are hoping that even one of the larger emitters will sign off [on the Paris Agreement] before Marrakesh. That would give a big boost going into those discussions and could possibly bring along sufficient parties to ensure that the agreement could come into force even before 2020,” Khan added.
Up to August 23, there were 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement.
“Of these, 23 states have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 1.08 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions,” reveals the UNFCCC website.
With only 23 states having so far ratified, the journey to having the agreement enter into force could prove long.
The agreement itself stipulates that it shall enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which “at least 55 parties to the Convention (UNFCCC) accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession”.