Reflections on Climate Week New York and the role of explorers.

 

Last month, the climate change community met in New York City for Climate Week. Numerous organisations hosted events around the city on the sidelines of official United Nations events, making Climate Week one of the largest climate gatherings of the year.

I attended, among other events, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) “Carbon Forum North America”, held at the iconic Explorers Club headquarters in midtown.

The Explorers Club is an historic establishment that dates back to the early 20th century, when explorers such as Edmund Hillary, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Charles Lindbergh would regale members with tales of extreme conditions, new species of animals – some are still displayed in the club – and their efforts to push back the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.

I like to think it was no accident that IETA chose The Explorers Club to host their annual event. Climate change is unknown territory: we are charting a new path into the realm of changing weather patterns and mankind’s ability both to prevent and to adapt to a changing environment.

And it also occurred to me that what groups involved in climate change are doing is very much akin to exploration. Not only does our changing climate represent new territory, but the efforts that nations are making to prevent catastrophic climate change are also an entirely new way to tackle environmental problems.

To apply market mechanisms to solve an environmental problem may seem contradictory, but it speaks to one of the most powerful forces that drives mankind: its ambition, its pursuit of security and knowledge and its desire to survive. All of these are represented in market systems, and they were also forces that drove the great explorers.

Recently, a study was published that showed how close cooperation among nations in linking their carbon pricing systems could bring down the cost of reducing emissions by as much as $250 billion a year by 2030. Efficiencies of scale as well as closely aligned regulations are critical to achieve these cost reductions. 

This is ground-breaking research that highlights how the power of markets can be used to achieve a global good. And the idea of markets for environmental outcomes is not even new: The United States pioneered the use of markets for environmental goals when it developed the first emissions trading systems for Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants in the 1970s.

This study explores the farther reaches of what may be possible if nations can agree a clear and transparent set of standards and regulations for countries to use when setting up their carbon markets. The UN negotiations in Santiago this December will be critical to bring to reality the exploratory work of work such as this study.

This research demonstrates how important it is that nations, as well as interest groups in the environmental space, consider the role of business. There are plenty of NGOs advocating for practical solutions to the problem of climate change, but not many of them address the concerns of the business community.

It’s not heresy to say this: whatever we may think of the global economy and its presence in our lives, business is among the most important constituencies that make up society. And as such, it has a role to play in addressing our problems.

Within the climate sphere alone, green NGOs advocate for solutions that consider science, human rights, climate justice, gender, youth and workers. Why would it be seen as wrong that an NGO should help craft effective, efficient market mechanism regulations in order that business can fully play its role?

Some may say that governments simply need to regulate carbon emissions out of existence, by imposing a tax on carbon dioxide. There are many parts of the world where that happens. Real explorers however are looking for ways that actually guarantee the environmental outcome, rather than government tax receipts.

Capitalism is often seen as incompatible with climate action; just look at the protests that are growing by the day around the world. The role of pioneers and explorers like IETA is to make the two work together, speeding up climate action by ensuring that there’s a real incentive to take action.

Alexis Leroy
CEO 

The integration of sustainability in Tourism Sector

Today might sound presumptuous and little trivial, that in the last 50 years globally have discovered practically in parallel – the growing and exponential importance – both access to information through the Internet and social networks such as the importance of protecting our planet through our daily sustainability actions for our future generations.

Twenty years ago these two themes evolved asymptotically.

Today access to information and planet protection are common themes of current humanity. We associate to a prosperous and sustainable community that can be informed by these technologies, but also if and only if a prosperous and sustainable community is one that coexists balancing the natural resources of their environment.

While following the Paris Agreement of 2015 was visibly, and precisely through these media, the need to involve all societies for the care of the planet through sustainable actions. It was in these spaces where prevailed the need for the participation of the productive sectors, since in our current environment enjoy agglomerating and influence large production and various sectors groups, through the development of a wide range of products and services that current humanity operates and means of survival.

This is where ALLCOT zooms in this reflection that can be caused to individuals and various sectors, and we will do on these items. This zoom is to take as an example the Tourism Sector and how sustainability has been integrated into their daily activities as part of their evolutionary chain.

Undoubtedly travelers and explorers of 100 years ago are very different from travelers of 50 years ago and even admire the differences they had with travelers of our present years. The first difference may lie in the number, gender and age, very few people had the opportunity and resources to move out of his home town, and even it was only man allowed them to adulthood.

A second difference could be established in the distance that could reach on their trips and the reason that led to it, such is the case of businessmen who needed to cross oceans to get textiles, food or technology in the other side of the world, in our days those and other several products / services can be acquired without traveling and taking advantage of information technology and transportation.

If we take a giant step in this evolution of the tourism sector, one of the last differences from travelers of 100 years ago, is that the current traveler is seeking sensory experiences and travel the mere fact of being able to do and know the various geographies, cultures and ecosystems on the planet. Currently we travel alone, in pairs, with friends, with family, with children, in groups, of course these travelers are not exclusive, but they are the majority.

The current tourism for one side add  the service provider that strives to provide and ensure this experience on their customers, and for the other side add the customers / users of tourism industry looking to acquire a distinct and noble experience as well as being in contact with nature, and of course make sure you visit nature is not impacted.

The current challenge for builders and operators of hotels, hostels or guest houses on five continents have agreed to seek to provide a balance between meeting the needs seeking users, such as ensuring that their activities do not make any impact on resources planet and the creatures that inhabit it.

In the last 20 years the main affectations detected planet were not visibly caused by the tourism sector, however the more information there is and it comes to the different groups that make up the sector, it has been identified and expanded disclosure of the powerful magnitude its impacts and the importance to do and not to do sustainable actions for the conservation of the planet.

ALLCOT challenges you to navigate the numerous social networks and even web pages for all the world of various orders (business travel or ecotourism) and different sizes (local cabins or large hotel chains) hotels. In such sources of information you can identify sustainable actions are without naming them such as: savings and efficiency water consumption, savings and energy efficiency, including the preference of hotels that use renewable energy. The use and recycling of materials consumption during the stay from soaps to feed them they offer. And building materials employing as those with the lowest possible carbon footprint that are inclusive of local origin.

Currently there are increasingly rating agencies that evaluate sustainable actions in various sectors and major hotel groups, where being five star is only the elementary part to attract users more demanding, but the distinction of being sustainable hotel seeks to satisfy their own needs to perform its activities with the least impact on the planet. However the owners offer these groups are constantly inquiring experiences to innovate and ensure that their activity is sustainable.

Nowadays if you do not make a disclosure of your activity (in your organization), your activity is not known and therefore is inert. So for the marketing of products and services of the tourism sector both generated and exchanged information on social networks, such as the conservation of the planet are two completely convergent themes, and is the current sustainable source of tourism business sector.

Of course this brief reflection is the top of the iceberg of sustainability that the tourism sector has integrated naturally in its evolution as a business and activity, whose approach to sustainability was the environment for the conservation of the planet. However necessary to satisfy the needs of human beings to learn and evolve activity within the tourism sector has other social sustainability approach.

Reforestation of the Amazon as a key climate change solution

Between January 1st and August 18th, 2019, forest fires have increased 83% compared to the same period of 2018, according to the National Space Research Institute of Brazil (INPE). According to the INPE satellite images, more than 70,000 spotlights were produced, of which more than half were located in the Amazon region. However, fires are not the only elements that are devastating the Amazon rainforest, the country’s deforestation has reached its highest level in the last 10 years.

 According to a new study in the journal Science, “planting billions of trees around the world would be the cheapest and most effective way to tackle the climate crisis”. The same study confirms “a program at this scale could remove about two-thirds of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by human activities since the start of the industrial revolution”. Taking into account that up to 20% of annual GHG emissions come from deforestation activities, the impact of properly managing these activities could imply a reduction of more than one million tons of CO2e (study published in Global Change Biology, carried out jointly with scientists from the Global Forest Watch of the World Resources Institute (WRI)).

However, for many small landowners in developing countries, it is not profitable to maintain a small tree plantation. Without aid, financing or awareness policies, these small owners will choose to continue cutting down trees to allow livestock to enter their property rather than conserving the forest in its natural state or reforesting the degraded. This is the key point to work on, and that is why REDD projects that generate carbon credits are so beneficial for society and the fight against the climate crisis.

But, what exactly is the REDD mechanism? To understand the mechanism, it is necessary to go back to 2005 when a group of countries, led by Papua New Guinea, managed to talk about avoided deforestation at the Conference of the Parties, held in Montreal (COP 11). From that moment the discussion on the role of forests in the fight against climate change returned to the international debate and it was two years later, in Bali, when the UNFCCC recognized the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) as a valid mechanism in the fight against climate change.

According to the Bali Action Plan signed by the Parties at that conference, REDD + refers to the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; in addition to conservation, sustainable management and improvement of the carbon stock of forests in developing countries. It is a more complex mechanism than a GHG emission mitigation project of the CDM type since it is necessary to work on forest governance ensuring the rights of local communities and forest-dependent indigenous peoples.

However, the result is that the REDD mechanism allows conserving forests immediately and profitably. The REDD mechanism is based on calculating (using internationally accepted methodologies) the amount of carbon that is no longer emitted, and converting it into a carbon-offset carbon credit. These credits are sold to large companies that require offsetting GHG emissions from their activities, and part of the income obtained is reinvested in local communities to contribute to local economic development. There are examples of successful initiatives in many countries, and the reinvestment of those benefits has allowed activities as beneficial to society, for example, the creation of cooperatives for local trade, conversion of “illegal loggers” into forest protection agents, infrastructure reinforcement such as schools and hospitals, distribution of water purification systems or efficient kitchens that reduce biomass consumption.

The fight against the climate crisis is not easy or cheap, but it will be more difficult and expensive to face the consequences of not doing so, and the REDD mechanism can be configured as one of the most sustainable, profitable and beneficial engines in the short and medium-term of the fight.

Mercedes García
Climate Change and Sustainability Manager

Carbon offsets for a sustainable and decarbonized future

In 2015, leaders from the member states of the United Nations agreed on objectives to shift all economies and societies toward sustainable and decarbonised development through the adoption of the Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals (New York, September 2015) and the Paris Agreement to limit climate warming to well below 2ᵒC (Paris, December 2015). There is enormous potential for co-benefits to arise from the mutually supportive implementation processes of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) elaborated in the voluntary 2030 Agenda and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) underpinning the legally binding Paris Agreement under its Article 6.

Both frameworks, although negotiated under different multilateral processes, promote the participation of all countries and are highly interlinked: the Paris Agreement emphasizes the need for considerations of sustainability in low-carbon transitions; at the same time avoiding dangerous climate change is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Thus, failure in one process could undermine the success of the other. The implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) –countries’ emissions reduction commitments– requires huge investments, which are more likely to be financed if embedded in and benefiting national development plans. While, vice versa, prospects for sustainable development depend on a limitation of global warming. This interdependency can be seen as an opportunity to move away from the discourse of two different agendas that are often perceived to be in competition; and instead pursue their implementation in a way to maximise mutual benefits.

Several carbon offset standards such as the Gold Standard and the Verified Carbon Standard are adapting their frameworks and requirements to better define a carbon mitigation project’s impacts beyond carbon reductions, and in some cases this may lead to the creation of other tradeable instruments in addition to carbon credits. ALLCOT assesses project alignment with the SDGs to conduct a thorough analysis of the data currently being monitored and verified at the project level, to determine whether there are additional metrics that can be tracked for SDG reporting purposes.

ALLCOT is seeing an evolution in the way our clients think about carbon finance and the additional impacts their carbon investments can have. Businesses are able to articulate the benefits of their carbon project investments beyond the verified emission reduction. We believe that businesses can use carbon finance to deliver additional value through alignment with the SDGs, enabling the carbon market to extend beyond emission reductions, and play a vital role in driving a low carbon sustainable development throughout the world.

Sergi Cuadrat.
Chief Technical Officer (ALLCOT)

Market-based approaches to take action and to raise ambition in LAC.

 

Climate Week is already here, and this time it will be held in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil (19 – 23 August). LACCW looks a progress in the regional climate action and discuss challenges and opportunities for climate action from a Latin American and Caribbean perspective.

There is an urgent need for the global community to act and to raise ambition on their mitigation ambitions in the spirit of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Paris Agreement Article 6, which allows Parties to cooperate in implementing their NDCs, is to contribute to this objective by establishing a new framework for using international carbon market mechanisms between Parties, to allow for higher ambition and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity.

In LAC countries, there is growing momentum for using market-based approaches to meet climate targets as countries proceed with plans for implementation of their NDCs under the Paris Agreement. However, it is imperative that LAC countries be proactive, pursue climate actions and create opportunities that support its own NDC aspirations, while bringing much-needed carbon finance that can support sustainable development.

The session will discuss how the Article 6 approaches can be fully operationalized to ensure the transition of the market mechanisms from mere offsets to real and measurable contributions to SDGs that accelerate the implementation of the NDCs by showcasing successful practices of carbon pricing in LAC countries and to explore opportunities to extend the initiative to new jurisdictions by promoting countries efforts towards regional carbon markets.

Our Panelists:
Adriana Gutierrez, Consultant at Ministry of Environment of Colombia
Axel Michaelowa, Perspectives Climate Group
Lisa Lafferty, Climate Trust
Perumal Arumugam, UNFCCC
Tanguy de Bienassis, World Bank
Thiago de Araújo Mendes, Environmental Agency of the Federal District of Brazil (Brasília Ambiental)
Tomasz Chruszczow, High-Level Climate Champion for COP24 at Ministry of the Environment Poland

Moderator:
Alexis Leroy, ALLCOT Group

Tuesday August 20
13:30-14:25
Meeting Room:
ROOM  SDG 9 (SL50-T02)

This event is an opening to the UN 2019 Climate Summit. For more details please click here

Climate Change: how can Artificial Intelligence tackle it?

A paper called “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning” was recently published and discussed at a workshop during a major AI conference in June. This document shows how Artificial intelligent would help change the biggest challenge of our planet “Climate Change”

David Rolnick, one of the authors and a postdoctoral student said “It’s surprising how many problems machine learning can meaningfully contribute to.” CO2 removal, energy production, solar geoengineering, education and finances are some of the areas that machine learning can be deployed.

Here are three ways machine learning can help battle climate change:

Better climate models.

Predictions are important, and making them better can help officials make informed climate policy, allow society prepare for change, and uncover areas that could reverse some effects of climate change. All this push is builds on the work already done by climate informatics, a discipline created in 2011 that sits at the intersection of data science and climate science.

Showing the effects of extreme weather.

“Our goal is not to convince people climate change is real, it’s to get people who do believe it is real to do more about that,” said Victor Schmidt, a co-author of the paper.

Measuring where carbon is coming from.

Carbon Tracker an independent financial think-tank is working toward the UN goal of preventing new coal plants from being built by 2020.

By monitoring coal plant emissions with satellite imagery, Carbon Tracker can use the data it gathers to convince the finance industry that carbon plants are not profitable. “In the future, if a carbon tax passes, remote sensing Carbon Tracker’s could help put a price on emissions and pinpoint those responsible for it”.

Read more information HERE

Article written by JACKIE SNOW at www.nationalgeographic.com

Los animales fantásticos

Elias es un niño de 10 años. Es un chico valiente, curioso y fuerte. Le gusta la aventura.

Va de excursión a las montañas en los Cárpatos en Rumania.

Está en el bosque. Está oscuro, los árboles son grandes, extraños …

Y de repente oye hablar a los animales. Elías se acerca a ellos y les hablará. Son muy sospechosos.

Los animales le preguntan:

– ¿Eres un cazador?

– No, responde Elías. Fui de excursión para ver el bosque.

– ¿Estás contaminando el bosque?

– No, me gusta mucho la naturaleza.

– ¿Estás cortando los árboles?

– No, son bonitos y me encanta el bosque.

Los animales confían en Elias porque no es un cazador porque no quiere destruir el bosque y porque no contamina.

Los animales le piden a Elias que traiga una flor única en el mundo.

Es una flor mágica que elimina la contaminación, pero el problema es que un dragón de fuego la protege porque la flor es muy importante. La flor está en la cima de una gran montaña en Rumania.

Elias va a buscar la flor. Después de cinco horas de caminata, llega al pie de la montaña donde se encuentra la flor.

Elias sube a la montaña. Se encuentra frente al dragón y le pregunta si puede tomar la flor.

El dragón hace las mismas preguntas que los animales al niño.

El dragón ve que Elias quiere ayudar contra la contaminación y le da la flor.

Elias desciende de la montaña con la flor mágica y en su camino, toda la contaminación desaparece.

Los animales, el dragón, el bosque, todos son felices.
Elias Penca

Bucarest

Julio 2019

Informe UE ETS – Junio 2019

El carbono de la UE terminó junio con un 7,4% más que su nivel de cierre de mayo, impulsado principalmente por un fuerte aumento en la última semana del mes. Las elevadas temperaturas en toda Europa se combinaron con factores técnicos para desencadenar una oleada de compras.

El carbono ha promediado € 23,91 para el primer semestre del año, el mejor desempeño de seis meses desde al menos 2008.

The December 2019 contract closed the second quarter at €26.28 on ICE Futures, with monthly front-December screen volume of 314 million EUAs representing a nearly 9% drop in trading activity from the prior month.

El período intermedio del mes se caracterizó por la estabilidad de los precios, con un período entre el 10 de junio y el 21 de junio donde los precios se mantuvieron estables en un rango de 25 €. Gran parte de esto se debió a los diferenciales relativamente sin cambios en el sector de la energía, con la caída de los precios del gas manteniendo un freno a la generación de carbón.

Los participantes dijeron que todavía hay una serie de plantas de gas en Alemania que aún no se han sacado de las bolas de naftalina, mientras que algunas de las plantas de carbón siguen funcionando debido a los márgenes positivos u otros factores, como las minas de carbón vinculadas que deben mantenerse abiertas.

Al mismo tiempo, los compradores de EUA parecían contentarse con comprarlos cuando los precios bajaban a menos de 25 €, estableciendo así un límite para el mercado.

Sin embargo, hacia fines de mes, hubo intentos especulativos infructuosos de empujar los precios por debajo de este nivel, y la presión comenzó a acumularse. En la última semana de junio, las previsiones meteorológicas exigieron un período de temperaturas muy altas, lo que incrementó las posibilidades de que la generación de fósiles fuera solicitada para complementar la fuerte generación solar y eólica.

El fracaso de la subasta diaria del 25 de junio puede haber aumentado el sentimiento alcista en el corto plazo, pero los volúmenes perdidos se repartieron en las siguientes cuatro ventas, que incluirán las subastas del 1 al 2 de junio.

En consecuencia, el carbono se recuperó con fuerza al comienzo de la última semana, con los precios saltando a un máximo de dos meses de 27,48 euros el 26 de junio, con un volumen diario de diciembre que se elevó brevemente por encima de los 20 millones de EUA.

Sin embargo, la toma de ganancias al final del trimestre hizo brillar los precios más tarde en la semana, aunque el volumen semanal superó los 90 millones de EUA por primera vez desde mediados de abril.

El próximo mes ofrece una perspectiva mixta. Con el comienzo de la temporada de vacaciones de verano, podemos esperar una caída en la participación, pero cualquier período sostenido de altas temperaturas aumentará la demanda de generación de fósiles y puede respaldar los precios del carbono.

Los volúmenes de la subasta en julio aumentarán en un tercio a partir de junio, y esto puede actuar para deprimir los precios durante el mes. Sin embargo, contra esto, debemos sopesar la anticipación de la reducción anual del 50% en los volúmenes de ventas en agosto, lo que ha ayudado a aumentar los precios en cada agosto desde 2008. Los compradores de cumplimiento pueden estar buscando asegurar EUAs antes de sus vacaciones anuales, y esto puede actuar como soporte

Estudio: los humanos ingieren hasta 200.000 piezas de microplástico cada año

Un nuevo estudio publicado por Environmental Science and Technology dice que los humanos ingieren hasta 200.000 piezas de microplástico cada año. El estudio revisó la investigación existente sobre microplásticos en cerveza, sal, mariscos, azúcar, alcohol y miel.

Los impactos en la salud de la ingesta de microplásticos son desconocidos, pero podrían liberar sustancias tóxicas. Algunas piezas son lo suficientemente pequeñas para penetrar en los tejidos humanos, donde podrían desencadenar reacciones inmunitarias.

La contaminación microplástica se crea principalmente por la desintegración de la basura plástica y parece ser omnipresente en todo el planeta. Los investigadores encuentran microplásticos en todas partes; En el aire, el suelo, los ríos y los océanos más profundos del mundo.

La investigación, realizada por el Dr. Kieran Cox, es la primera en investigar y aproximar la ingesta de microplásticos por parte de los humanos.

Las preocupaciones de los microplásticos se extienden al medio ambiente. El estudio señaló que 12 mil millones de toneladas métricas de plástico estarán en vertederos y ecosistemas para el año 2050. En 2015, esta cantidad fue de 4.9 mil millones de toneladas métricas, relativamente más baja.

Puede leer el estudio completo aquí