ECO is somewhat tired of repeatedly reminding ministers and negotiators of the work ahead before next year`s COP. But ECO warns governments that there is no excuse for laziness. You signed and ratified Paris. Well done. But history walks on. ECO is convinced it is high time to put the money where your mouth was two years ago.
ECO recently learned that renewable energy investments have stagnated worldwide with some countries continuing to decrease their investments, notably in Europe and Japan. Although energy efficiency investments in all sectors grew slightly. Both renewables and energy efficiency combined received less than half of all financing that went for fossil fuels mining and infrastructure in 2016 and most likely in 2017, too. What is wrong with the governments? Can`t they deal with the fossil fuel industry? Aren’t they capable of implementing effective regulations and providing more incentives for the truly clean solutions which by the way, become more cost-effective by the day? These trends need to reverse drastically in next years to maintain a chance to stay on a Paris-compliant pathway. And that is the responsibility of your governments.
ECO thinks the recent UN Environment gap report provides an excellent monument of cost-effective options including renewables, energy efficiency standards (note that about 70% of all energy use globally is not covered by any regulation according to the IEA), halting deforestation and restoring degraded lands. These options alone might even provide considerably more GHG emissions reduction potential than is required to meet a well below 2 C and a 1.5 C trajectory – by 2030! A noteworthy point is highlighted by scientists quantifying the potential contribution of contentious technologies like BECCS with less than 1% of the total effort necessary to return to a trajectory compliant with the Paris objective.
ECO hears that in early December, environment ministers are meeting again at the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi. The theme is pollution and several resolutions are being negotiated. About 3-4 million people die prematurely every year from outdoor air pollution, mostly from the use of coal in power generation, industry, and diesel exhausts. When addressing those pollutants it is mandatory to not fiddle at the margins. The best and sustainable solution to drastically decrease outdoor air pollution is to phase out coal as soon as possible and get diesel vehicles off the roads. Yes, this requires boosting renewables, energy efficiency, and more sustainable public transport for replacing both lorries and passenger vehicles while also embarking on renewable-based electrification. It’s not rocket science, right? ECO is observing your actions back home, this is about more than just delivering nice words here in Bonn.