Edition for 05 May 2020

Top Stories

An off-grid energy future requires learning from the past (Brookings)

  • Duke University’s Energy Access Project, in collaboration with the Energy Access team at CrossBoundary Group, looked at the experiences of seven countries that have made great strides in bringing electricity to their rural populations: Brazil, Chile, Laos, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Tunisia.
  • Results-based financing (RBF) subsidy programs that pay companies for the delivery of specific energy services can effectively attract private sector companies and mobilize investment.
  • Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All and former head of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency says, “A paradigm shift to results-based financing models can help put the world on track to achieve universal electrification.

Rich nations must make pandemic recovery plans green - global investors (Reuters)

  • The world’s richest nations must ensure their COVID-19 recovery plans are sustainable and help meet the goals of the Paris climate accord, according to leading global investor groups that together manage trillions of dollars in assets.
  • “Recovery plans that exacerbate climate change would expose investors and national economies to escalating financial, health and social risks in the coming years,” they said in a statement said on Monday.
  • “Governments should avoid the prioritisation of risky, short-term emissions-intensive projects,” added the groups, which include the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change, members of which include BlackRock.

Coronavirus crisis hits solar and wind energy industry (Washington Post)

  • While President Trump has promised lifelines for airlines and oil companies struggling with a drastic decrease in demand as Americans remain under stay-at-home orders, there is little focus in Washington on economic relief for this sector — unlike during the Great Recession a decade ago, when Congress and the Obama administration earmarked an unprecedented sum for renewable energy and more efficient automobiles in a stimulus bill.
  • The impact of the crisis is already clear: About 106,000 clean-energy workers have already filed for unemployment in March alone, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Environmental Entrepreneurs, an advocacy group.
  • They say governments around the world should help fund renewable energy and use the turmoil in energy markets to remake the industry and slash carbon dioxide emissions, which will tumble 8 percent this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

We can’t save forests without the private sector (World Bank)

  • Of the estimated $579 billion invested globally per year in climate finance (the average over 2017-2018), only about 3.6% went to agriculture, forestry and other land use—despite the fact that these sectors are responsible for around a quarter (23%) of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • If we know that nature-based solutions are critical to addressing the impacts of climate change, how do we bridge these funding gaps to achieve our most pressing development and climate change goals?
  • The private sector holds the answer, but collaboration is key The development sector’s volume of climate finance is dwarfed by the private sector’s expenditure and investment in forestry and agriculture.

WA watchdog green-lights world's biggest hybrid wind and solar hub (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • A $22 billion-plus wind and solar renewable energy project in the Pilbara, the largest proposed such hybrid project in the world, has been recommended for environmental approval.
  • “One of the key environmental issues the EPA considered was the proposed clearing of 11,962 hectares of native vegetation, and its potential impact on fauna habitat, flora and vegetation,” Environmental Protection Authority chairman Tom Hatton said.
  • The project is being developed by a global consortium: renewable energy developers InterContinental Energy and CWP Energy Australia, wind turbine maker Vestas and Macquarie Bank.

The Sustainability of Sustainability (Earth Institute)

  • From Unilever to Starbucks to GM, corporations pause some social-responsibility programs or put them on the back burner.” And that is the point, to the extent that sustainability is seen as corporate social responsibility and not a fundamental element of an organization’s management system, it is simply a form of public relations rather than something central to operations management.
  • That is why I focus my work in sustainability management on environmental sustainability and what I call “the physical dimensions of sustainability.” When defined that way, sustainability is about using fewer resources per unit of organizational output, minimizing damage to ecosystems, and focusing finance on long-term rather than quarterly profits.
  • The other problem in some definitions of sustainability is that a sustainable lifestyle is defined as an individual giving something up in order to pollute less.

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