Burning trees for energy delivers a one-two punch against climate change mitigation efforts. Harvesting woody biomass reduces the sequestration potential of forest carbon sinks, while the combustion of woody biomass releases large quantities of carbon into the air. Forest regrowth may not offset these emissions for many decades —well beyond the time the world has left to slow warming to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change. With little time left to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future, burning forests for energy contributes to warming in the near-term and is not a viable climate solution
This article begins with an overview of the scientific background of why harvesting and burning forests for energy is not a viable solution to climate change or related challenges. This background section includes an explanation of key terminology used in the article. The next section presents the European Union (EU)’s Renewable Energy Directive as a case study on the consequences of including bioenergy in renewable energy policies. Following the case study, the article examines bioenergy policies in the United States and China—the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters. The article concludes with policy recommendations to focus government action towards reducing reliance on energy from forest biomass. These recommendations are that governments: (1) re-evaluate their bioenergy policies and ensure lifecycle accounting of forest bioenergy’s climate emissions associated with harvesting and burning forest biomass; (2) end incentives for harvesting forests for fuel and invest in forest preservation, low-emission energy, and low energy demand pathways; and (3) advance international consensus on the harms from forest bioenergy, specifically the impact on climate and biodiversity.
Environmentally harmful product dumping (“environmental dumping”) of new and used low-efficiency cooling appliances with obsolete ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas refrigerants in African countries impoverishes communities, hinders economic development, threatens ecological systems, and harms public health. The use of lowefficiency cooling appliances increases energy demand, leading to higher power plant emissions and limiting affordable energy access in African countries. These low-efficiency appliances and products contain ozone-depleting refrigerants with high global-warming potential (GWP) or ozone-safe refrigerants with high GWP. Environmental dumping of these appliances and products makes it more difficult for countries to meet their international climate obligations and for the world to meet the Paris Agreement’s climate change mitigation targets. Ghana faces high levels of environmental dumping, despite a national ban on importing used cooling appliances and established efficiency standards for new air conditioners and refrigerators. Through the Energy Commission’s Office of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, & Climate Change (REEECC), the government of Ghana is partnering with the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) to stop environmental dumping. This article provides a list of interventions that can be implemented by Ghana, by governments in countries that export to Ghana, and by industry and other stakeholders. Notably, these actions focus on the shared responsibility of exporting countries and manufacturers by calling on exporting countries to update and enhance enforcement of their laws, and on global manufacturers to stop exporting inefficient products with obsolete refrigerants to Ghana and other African countries.
Scientific studies show that fast actions to reduce near-term warming are essential to slowing self-reinforcing climate feedbacks and avoiding irreversible tipping points. Yet cutting CO2 emissions only marginally impacts near-term warming. This study identifies two of the most effective mitigation strategies to limit near-term warming beyond CO2 mitigation, namely reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and promoting targeted nature-based solutions (NbS), and comprehensively reviews the latest scientific progress in these fields. Studies show that quickly reducing SLCP emissions, particularly hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), methane, and black carbon, from all relevant sectors can avoid up to 0.6 °C of warming by 2050. Additionally, promoting targeted NbS that protect and enhance natural carbon sinks, including in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands, can avoid emissions of 23.8 Gt of CO2e per year in 2030, without jeopardizing food security and biodiversity. Based on the scientific evidence, the paper provided a series of policy recommendations on SLCPs and NbS.
This paper addresses what has been described as a primary concern related to patents: even if chemical companies in Montreal Protocol Article 5 Parties can develop their own methods of producing low-GWP refrigerant hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) or using them in the products they make, they could be prevented (absent a license) from selling their products at home and in key markets abroad in countries where restrictive patents have been granted to other companies, at least until the time when challenges to patents are decided or these patents expire.
This paper reviews the status of patents granted on HFO-1234yf in automotive air conditioning (AC) in the US, Europe, and China, covering the largest automotive manufacturing regions in the world. This paper primarily focuses on patents on the use of HFO-1234yf in automobiles, as opposed to patents on the manufacture of HFO-1234yf.
As the world warms, the growing use of air conditioners (“ACs”) and other cooling equipment becomes essential for human comfort and public health. In addition, cooling-equipment energy and refrigerant consumption also presents tremendous climate mitigation opportunities. This article highlights China’s “Same Line, Same Standard and Same Quality” policy (“Same-Line Policy” or “Policy”), intended to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and address the export challenges that have negatively affected Chinese industries and products on the global market. The Policy encourages manufacturers of consumer and industrial products to sell products within China that were produced for markets outside China according to standards exceeding those for products produced for the Chinese market. The Policy, and the associated information and business platforms that the government established to ensure policy success, aim to improve the domestic economic situation through consumption of products previously destined for export markets but which are not being sold because of the economic downturn during the pandemic. Policies like these, representing a course of action that China’s leadership endorses, can drive changes in Chinese law, including changes that address loopholes in the law that allow environmentally harmful activities to continue. The Same-Line Policy provides an opportunity for global climate mitigation, public health, and other benefits that should not be missed.
The following is a review of the continuing evolution of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, including the Kigali Amendment’s critical role in evolving the Montreal Protocol into a full-fledged climate treaty. Before the Kigali Amendment, the Montreal Protocol controlled about 100 ozone-depleting substances including chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs), and thus the Montreal Protocol has always contributed significantly to the mitigation of climate change. The Kigali Amendment expanded the scope of the Montreal Protocol to encompass explicitly the phasedown of super GHGs, or those with very high global warming potential in the form of hydrofluorocarbons (or HFCs), although they have only a negligible impact on the ozone layer. We also discuss energy efficiency improvements to cooling equipment, which, because of the opportunity to simultaneously upgrade the energy efficiency of equipment, augments the climate change mitigation potential of the substance phasedowns and reduces related air pollutants by reducing indirect emissions from electricity generation. Phasing down HFCs has the potential to avoid up to 0.5ºC of warming by 2100. Improvements to the energy efficiency of cooling equipment could perhaps double this.
In recent years, air pollution issues have received unprecedented public attention in China. Partly for this reason, the Chinese government has made significant efforts toward reducing air pollution. However, compliance and enforcement will be key to cleaning up the air in China and around the globe. This Article discusses seven specific challenges to achieving effective compliance with and enforcement of the air pollution rules in China. In this regard, global good practices can be useful references for the Chinese government and other stakeholders. Yet such discussions and considerations are only truly useful when viewed and considered within the context of China’s unique rulemaking and governance systems, as well as its cultural background.
This paper demonstrates the success of the new anode effect termination (AET) program in killing AEs on this cell technology without conflicting with normal cell operations.