Join our MOOC

The Energy Research Centre & UCT have recorded a MOOC on Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries. You are invited to take part and to encourage others to join you. The next course begins on the 26th of December 2016 and you can sign up with minimal fuss: https://www.coursera.org/learn/climate-change-mitigation Some of the comments from previous participants Excellent intro to Climate Change mitigation and what has already been done, and how to take forward from lessons learned. Super-awesome course that taught me about… Read moreJoin our MOOC

Sign up for the ERC’s MOOC

The ERC’s MOOC, “Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries” starts today (11 July). Led by Prof. Harald Winkler, the MOOC presents some of our learnings from the 5 year, 5 country MAPS Programme which wrapped up in 2015. As described on Coursera, “this course will cover topics such as facilitation process techniques, energy modeling, scenario building, innovation and policy making. You will have the opportunity to respond to these topics with ideas and reflection from your own context. Whether you… Read moreSign up for the ERC’s MOOC

How low can you go? Climate talks in Lima

Climate negotiations in Lima[1] last week decided on national contributions – with light information and very weak scrutiny. It did put together the elements of a deal in Paris, though differences on detail remain large. But with lack of adequate long-term finance, and a refusal to balance support of adaptation and mitigation, Lima did not make reaching in a deal in Paris easier. INDCs: Intended nationally determined contributions A major outcome expected from Lima was to specify “contributions” by countries… Read moreHow low can you go? Climate talks in Lima

US-China: Going in the right direction, but far and fast enough?

The US and Chinese Presidents announced on 11 Nov 2014 that the US is to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 China is to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to peak earlier, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030. The annoucements were a concerted move by the two largest economies in the world, and so has undoubted political significance. They have potential to create momentum… Read moreUS-China: Going in the right direction, but far and fast enough?

Unless we change high-emissions development path, high risk of irreversible climate change

The latest climate science affirms again that warming of the climate system is “unequivocal”. If we don’t change our high-emission development paths, even if we try to adapt, warming by 2011 “will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally (high confidence)”. The IPCC’s synthesis report makes clear that the time for action is rapidly running out. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the state of knowledge of climate change every five… Read moreUnless we change high-emissions development path, high risk of irreversible climate change

US best-we-can plan not good enough to change the climate

The US President’s Climate Action Plan is the first time in a long while that the US has been proactive on climate change. It is certainly not enough, as in the US contributing a fair share of the cuts needed to actually address climate change. Yet as a refreshing change from decades of inaction it has led many observers to welcome the move. Perhaps too many of us have internalized the domestic constraints in the US, so much that we are inclined… Read moreUS best-we-can plan not good enough to change the climate

Shifting mobility- the potential role of electric vehicles in South Africa

South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), a government organisation whose role is to support innovation to stimulate economic growth, launched an electromobility programme on the 13th of this month. The minister of Environmental Affairs launched the DEA’s Green Cars (Zero Emission Electric Vehicles) programme on the 26th of February. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is (we are told) about to release the Electric Vehicle Industry Roadmap for South Africa. And electric vehicles are heading our way. The Nissan… Read moreShifting mobility- the potential role of electric vehicles in South Africa

Normalising apples & pears: comparing trade offs for pro-poor mitigation options

Imagine the juggling act being asked of policy makers: they’ve got to spread limited resources between meeting the government’s objective of reducing poverty to zero percent; at the same time, they’ve got to make a handbrake turn on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. And since poverty alleviation is often linked with development, and development usually translates into emissions increases, it seems as though they’re being asked to do the impossible. This week, the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre… Read moreNormalising apples & pears: comparing trade offs for pro-poor mitigation options

C-tax 2013 – a bit later, but broader and for sure?

An initial assessment of Minister Gordhan’s budget speech for 2013 suggests that the carbon tax proposal has been deferred. It has not been dropped, but a definite date set – for 1 January 2015. Last year, the Minister proposed a similar tax for the 2013/14 financial year, this year he indicates it should come into effect on 1 January 2015 – a more precise date. The Minister has also given his department, Treasury, a deadline to release an “updated carbon… Read moreC-tax 2013 – a bit later, but broader and for sure?

Doha: Vague words & fuzzy numbers

The 2012 climate negotiations under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol did not quite die in the desert sands of Doha.  But they hardly took the big steps forward that are urgently needed. This kind of reflection, of incremental progress in political terms, but falling far short of what is needed, has now been the my sense for several years running. Also similar to past meetings, COP18 and CMP8 ran over time, as did Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban.  The heart… Read moreDoha: Vague words & fuzzy numbers