G19 strong on energy and climate change – action to follow

Surprisingly strong result on energy and climate from G20 summit, or more accurately the G19. Passed the first part of ‘Trump Test’, as Germanwatch put it in an excellent, detailed analysis. The 19 (including Russia and Saudi Arabia) recommitted to the Paris Agreement. Moving to action is part 2, and a detailed Climate and Energy Action Plan is a good basis. Only the US cites ‘clean’ fossil fuels – but won’t stop momentum of the energy transition, to a greener… Read moreG19 strong on energy and climate change – action to follow

Trump exit from Paris will hurt America most

On 1 June 2017, Donald Trump (DT) announced that his administration was withdrawing the US from the Paris Agreement.  The world’s largest economy is taking no responsibility for US historical emissions, and instead  reneging on what his country had previously agreed. Trump’s exit is a deeply immoral, reprehensible act. The speech on the Rose Garden lawns is full of the illogical statement one has come to expect from DT (see good analysis in The Guardian). It continues to astound how unethical… Read moreTrump exit from Paris will hurt America most

SA ratifies Paris Agreement

South Africa has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change. In doing so, it has joined the growing momentum to take climate action. 87 countries had ratified already, exceeding the requirement of 55 Parties – and on 5 October, the second ‘trigger’ of representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions was also met. Thirty days after these two triggers were met, the Agreement formally ‘enters into force’ – on 4 November 2016.   SA snuck in with its instrument of ratification… Read moreSA ratifies Paris Agreement

Of INDCs, elements and plumbing

The UNFCCC climate negotiations in Bonn focused in the big picture on national contributions, the 2015 agreement and rather fuzzily on pre-2020 ambition. The is the work in the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), and lest one forgets, there are two standing Subsidiary Bodies keeping on building the ‘plumbing’ of the Convention on many detailed issues. The future of the climate regime attracts attention, but the devil– and sometimes perhaps also the solution… Read moreOf INDCs, elements and plumbing

Why should we price carbon?

(part 1: why a carbon tax?) After several years of discussion and an initial document dating back to 2010, the National Treasury’s Carbon Tax Policy Paper was finally released for public comment in May 2013. Since then, debate over both the efficacy and prudence of pricing carbon in the South African economy has dominated in the media, with many commentators arguing that the tax will kill industry or cost jobs. We think this discussion has become divorced from the realities… Read moreWhy should we price carbon?

The fifth BRICS summit – growing influence

The fifth BRICS summit took place in Durban from 26-27 March. The BRICS countries are made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and represent the fastest growing emerging markets in the world, accounting for 42% of the world’s population and 20% of output. Increasing cooperation between BRICS countries in key areas such as finance, culture, transportation links, and developing an integrated market for trade and investment were key objectives of the summit. There were four major outcomes… Read moreThe fifth BRICS summit – growing influence

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

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