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5 December 2018 — From developments in renewable energy, to the growing capacity of energy-storage systems and the adoption of electric vehicles, global action taken to combat rising temperatures has undoubtedly come a long way. But as climate impacts mount, little time remains to ramp up the necessary ambition to limit temperatures to 1.5°C, possibly even less than recent estimates predict. These are the conclusions of two parallel Comment articles in Nature, released for the global 2018 conference on climate change, COP24.

The Comments offer different assessments of climate action taken to date. Emissions are still rising: ramp up the cuts, co-authored by Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and organizer of the Paris Agreement, along with colleagues and industry co-signatories, optimistically emphasizes the accelerating speed at which cities, regions, investors and companies are cutting emissions and investing in solutions. The authors note “already we have achieved things that seemed unimaginable a decade ago…. The same is true of decarbonizing the economy by 2050.”

However, Global warming will happen faster than we think, authored by Texas A&M University Professor Yangyang Xu, and professors of the University of California, San Diego, D. Victor and V. Ramanathan, warns global leaders there may be less time to respond to existential risks posed by climate change than most realize.

The authors note the latest scientific reports on climate science, including the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, underplay the critical fact that global warming is still accelerating, making note of three trends — rising emissions, declining air pollution, and natural climate cycles — that “combine over the next 20 years to make climate change faster and more furious than anticipated.” They predict the IPCC miscalculates the date the 1.5°C threshold will be reached, and it could occur up to a decade earlier, with a 10% chance of reaching it by 2025.

The authors recommend the need to focus analysis on the near-term including the worst-case outcomes, as this is when we could win or lose a decisive battle in the effort to keep the climate relatively safe;

It’s unfortunate we have to deal with multiple warming factors, some due to us, some due to nature, at the same time. The acceleration, not just the warming itself, poses challenges for adaptation. This should jolt society, scientists and policymakers to rethink their roles, objectives and approaches when it comes to climate change.

– Y. Xu, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University

Climate change is in the living room of most Californians. In about 12 years, when the warming reaches 1.5°C, it will be in the living room of every citizen of the planet, adversely affecting billions. But there is still time to avoid major disasters, provide we deploy fast action plans, including drastically cutting super pollutants (methane, black carbon and HFCs); and extracting at least 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year.

– V. Ramanathan, professor of atmospheric and climate sciences, UCSD

With self-reinforcing feedbacks and tipping points that could push the planet into chaos beyond human control, the world needs to radically speed up climate solutions. Examples like the US Climate Alliance road map to reduce powerful emissions of super pollutants and the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol show how we can deliver near term temperature abatement, and help keep the world from exceeding 1.5°C.

“Climate change is moving faster than climate solutions, and it is axiomatic that we can’t solve climate change this way. Slow solutions can’t solve a fast-moving problem like climate change” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

Authors and co-signatories of both pieces agree that “a shared purpose across all political, civil and industrial sectors is key” to ensuring that the exponential curve of solutions outpaces that of climate impacts.

Available at:

Nature, Emissions are still rising: ramp up the cuts, Vol 564, 5 December 2018

Nature, Global warming will happen faster than we think, Vol 564, 5 December 2018

Energy efficiency gains can double climate benefit from refrigerant switch

Quito, Ecuador, 10 November 2018 – Last night, at the conclusion of the annual meeting of the Montreal Protocol, the Parties took their strongest action yet to increase energy efficiency of cooling equipment in parallel with the mandated phase down of HFC refrigerants under the Kigali Amendment. This opens the door to doubling the climate benefits of the HFC phase down, according to the quadrennial Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion of the treaty’s Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) released at the beginning of the meeting.

Two years ago, the Parties agreed to the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs, which has the potential to avoid up to 0.5ºC of warming by 2100 if implementation speeds up and Parties follow a leapfrog strategy that moves from the current refrigerants (HCFCs) directly into climate friendly alternatives, bypassing HFCs with high global warming potential.

“The stretch goal of this great treaty is to avoid up to 1ºC of warming by the end of the century from these combined strategies,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, who participated in the Quito meeting.

In a formal decision taken late yesterday evening, the Parties noted that “improvements in the energy efficiency of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment during the transition to low-global-warming-potential alternative refrigerants can potentially double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment”, and then authorized increasing funding for countries to implement energy efficiency. The decision directs the Multilateral Fund, the treaty’s dedicated funding mechanism, to explore cooperation and co-funding with other funds and financial institutions, such as the World Bank, which pledged $1 billion for the combined strategy in the runup to the Kigali Amendment.

The decision also directs the Multilateral Fund to “set up modalities for co-operation such as co-funding arrangements to maintain or enhance energy efficiency when phasing down HFCs, acknowledging that activities to assist Article 5 parties comply with their obligations under the Montreal Protocol will continue to be funded under the Multilateral Fund in accordance with its guidelines and decisions.”

The Africa Group and the Federated States of Micronesia assembled a strong group of allies to pursue the historic energy efficiency decision. Another decision on geoengineering, put forward by Micronesia, Morocco, Mali, and Nigeria, was withdrawn when it became clear that there would not be sufficient time to discuss it. The decision would have directed the Scientific Assessment Panel to continue studying the risk to the ozone layer from intentional injection of sulfates and other aerosols to cool the planet, a form of geoengineering that may represent the greatest remaining threat to the ozone layer. The Parties indicated they will submit another decision next year.

The quadrennial scientific assessment reported that there is now empirical evidence that the treaty’s efforts to cut chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS) was responsible for healing the stratospheric ozone layer and that the Antarctic ozone hole should recover by the 2060s. The level of stratospheric ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere is continuing to decline, and total ozone levels in the Antarctic are showing signs of recovery.

The Parties directed the SAP and Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) to continue their investigation of unexpected and unreported emissions of CFC-11 first discussed at the Montreal Protocol’s mid-year working group meeting last July. A symposium on the issue is planned for March in Vienna.

“The Montreal Protocol gives the world hope that it’s still possible to slow climate change in time to avoid the looming existential threat of uncontrollable climate impacts,” Zaelke added.  “Over the last three decades, this brilliant treaty has not only solved the first great threat to the global atmosphere—the destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer—but it’s also solved an amount of the climate problem that would have equaled the contribution of carbon dioxide today—more than half of all warming—with the Kigali Amendment and energy efficiency poised to add even more climate protection.”

The Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987, and is widely considered the world’s most successful international environmental treaty. The Parties took another two dozen decisions in Quito to advance the goals of their treaty. The meeting ended at 11:20 pm Friday 9 November.

The final decision on energy efficiency is here: Access of parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol to energy-efficient technologies in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sectors

The draft decision on solar radiation management is here: The need to study the relationship between stratospheric ozone and proposed solar radiation management strategies

 

A new article in the fall 2018 issue of Natural Resources & Environment (American Bar Association), by IGSD attorneys Xiaopu Sun and Richard Ferris, examines the Kigali Amendment’s and China’s critical roles in evolving the Montreal Protocol into a full-fledged climate treaty.

The Montreal Protocol continues to evolve beyond its traditional focus on ozone-depleting substances. The Kigali Amendment expanded the scope of the Protocol to encompass explicitly the phasedown of super greenhouse gases (GHGs) – hydro­fluorocarbons (or HFCs), even though they have only a negligible impact on the ozone layer. Parties to the Protocol can further augment climate mitigation through energy efficiency improvements to cooling equipment, reducing GHG emissions and harmful local 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 environmentally necessary achievement. For context, the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC highlights the significant global harms that come from 0.5ºC of added warming.

China plays a critical role in the success of the Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment. China is the largest historical producer of HCFCs, the largest producer of HFCs, and the largest producer of refrigerant-using equipment, specifically room air conditioners. We review China’s efforts to manage the energy efficiency of cooling equipment as this relates to China’s ability to help shape the future evolution of the Montreal Protocol. If China elects to depart from “business as usual” and pursues a leadership path that promotes super-efficient and low-GWP AC in its export markets, as it is doing at home, we can thank China for doing its part to fulfill the Montreal Protocol’s ambition and avoid global climate crises.

Download here

World’s best environmental treaty also doing heavy lifting to protect climate

 Quito, Ecuador, 5 November 2018– The Montreal Protocol—the only treaty with universal membership of all UN countries—is continuing to heal the protective stratospheric ozone layer and also protecting the climate, a key scientific assessment concludes today.

The quadrennial Assessment of Ozone Depletion by the treaty’s Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) — published  at the start of its annual Meeting of Parties in Quito – confirms  that, “for the first time, there are emerging indications that the Antarctic ozone hole has diminished in size and depth since the year 2000” and that it is expected to gradually return to safe levels by the 2060s, thanks to the mandatory reduction of CFCs and related ozone depleting chemicals.

The Assessment also confirms that the Kigali Amendment to phase down super climate pollutants called HFCs will make a “substantial” contribution to combating global warning. The Assessment reports that phasing down HFCs can avoid up to 0.5°C of warming, and that the 2016 Kigali Amendment captures the majority—although not yet all—of this climate prize under its initial phase down schedule, which will avoid up to 0.4°C of future warming, see Figure ES-4 of the Assessment. The Kigali Amendment has been ratified by 59 Parties and will enter into force on 1st January 2019.

“The SAP Assessment confirms the Protocol’s reputation as the world’s most successful environmental treaty,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.“Over the last three decades, the Montreal Protocol has fulfilled its original objective to heal the ozone layer. But it didn’t stop there. Because CFCs and related gases are also super climate pollutants, phasing them out has reduced the climate problem by an amount that would have equaled the contribution of carbon dioxide today—more than half of all warming—with the Kigali Amendment adding even more climate protection.”

The Assessment notes that the Montreal Protocol can do still more to protect climate:

  • “A faster phasedown of HFCs than required by the Kigali Amendment would further limit climate change from HFCs. One way to achieve this phasedown would be more extensive replacement of high-GWP HFCs with commercially available low-GWP alternatives in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. Figure ES-9 shows the impact of a complete elimination of production of HFCs starting in 2020, and their substitution with low-GWP HFCs, which would avoid an estimated cumulative 53 GtCO2‑eq emission during 2020–2060.”

 

  • “Improvements in energy efficiency in refrigeration and air-conditioner equipment during the transition to low-GWP alternative refrigerants can potentially double the climate benefits of the HFC phasedown of the Kigali Amendment.”

“The Montreal Protocol is a ‘start and strengthen’ treaty,” stated Zaelke, “and history suggests the Parties will soon strengthen the initial schedule of the Kigali Amendment, while also encouraging a ‘leapfrog’ strategy where Parties avoid HFCs altogether by leaping over them during the ongoing phaseout of HCFCs, and move directly into climate friendly alternatives to avoid the extra 53 billion tons of CO2-eq.”

Romina Picolotti, President of the Center for Human Rights & Environment and Argentina’s former Minister of Environment, stated that, “while past phaseout of CFCs and other refrigerants catalyzed improvements in energy efficiency of cooling equipment, this time the Parties are making a conscious effort to maximize the efficiency benefits.”

“A modest 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency of room air conditioners can save enough energy to avoid building nearly 1,600 medium size peak power plants by 2030,” she added. “Inefficient cooling appliances are energy vampires that steal energy that is essential for development, and countries should not let them into their market.”

The Assessment also reports on the unexpected emissions of CFC-11 uncovered by Montzka et al last May, noting that the specific source region and cause of the emissions remains unknown. Following the Montzka paper, China launched a new inspection and enforcement campaign. A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency released last week offers additional information and analysis regarding the illegal use and trade in CFC-11 and looks at the broader implications for compliance and enforcement of Montreal Protocol obligations.

Efforts to phase out CFCs and related fluorinated gases controlled by the Montreal Protocol started in 1974 with the warning by Mario Molina and Sherry Rowland that emissions of these chemicals were destroying stratospheric ozone, which led to their Nobel Prize in chemistry. Professor V. Ramanathan warned in 1975 that CFCs were also super climate pollutants. The early action that followed to phase out these chemicals is a major reason for the profound contribution the Montreal Protocol was able to make to protect the ozone layer and the climate system.

Download the SAP Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2018

In a warming world, energy efficiency is key to climate safety

19 October 2018, Paris France The efficiency of air conditioners needs to double in a little over two decades as part of a drive to give the world a chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports today. Otherwise, the growing demand for cooling and the fossil fuel needed to feed that demand will cause still more warming in a dangerous feedback loop, even as it saves lives, creates wealth, and improves education in the world’s hottest countries.

The IEA’s Market Report: Energy Efficiency 2018 notes that the use of energy for space cooling has risen twice over since the turn of the millennium, making it the fastest-growing source of building energy demand. Adding, it will double again by 2040 unless the efficiency of appliances is improved.

The report shows the enormous potential of energy efficiency in combatting climate change, highlighting the size of the existing market and its prospects for growth. Cost-effective measures, using existing technologies could, by themselves, cause greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2020, it concludes. Investment in energy efficiency will need to quadruple to make this possible, but will, on average, payback threefold.

The measures could also provide more than 40 percent of the cuts needed by 2040 to keep the world on track to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change while allowing the growth of the global economy and improving air quality. They will be all the more necessary in light of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s conclusion this month that the rise in average world temperatures must be kept to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, requiring fast action.

Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development stated that “improving energy efficiency of air conditioners and other cooling devices is something we know how to do and can do immediately to slow climate emissions, including in China, which makes 70% of the world’s ACs.”

Zaelke added that initial estimates suggest that “we can avoid up to 1°C of warming by end of the century by improving cooling efficiency while we phase down HFC refrigerants as mandated by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which alone can avoid up to a half degree of warming.” “This is the kind of fast action we need to avoid the climate catastrophe that awaits us in, what the IPCC 1.5°C report calculates, could be as little as 12 years.”

Zaelke, along with Nobel Laureate Mario Molina, and professor V. Ramanathan recently published an essay in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists noting the recent IPCC report understated the high risk of self-reinforcing, runaway climate change feedbacks that may occur at lower global average temperatures than previously understood.

The IEA report incorporates a new Efficient World Scenario, depicting “what would happen if countries realized all the available cost-effective energy efficiency potential between now and 2040.” Under it, the size of the global economy could double even as emissions fell. The scenario shows that the energy demand from buildings worldwide “could remain flat between now and 2040”, despite their total floor area “growing by 60%”, causing them “to be nearly 40 percent more energy-efficient than today.”

The report notes “space cooling is a major driver of building energy demand and will require policy attention to realize efficiency gains.” It had increased from 3.6 exajoules to 7 exajoules since 2000, “making it the fastest-growing end-use in buildings, led by a combination of warmer temperatures and activity due to population and economic growth. Without efficiency gains, space cooling energy use would more than double between now and 2040 due to increased activity and use of air conditioning.”

Yet, it adds, energy efficiency for cooling could limit this growth to just 19 percent. This, in turn, provided “over a quarter of the potential building energy savings for the major emerging economies” and “12% of global energy savings potential…. Average air conditioner efficiency could double, which is possible with current technology.”

The report also describes how Colombia “has just announced a ‘Return and Save’ program to replace one million refrigerators within five years by reducing value-added tax on the most efficient refrigerators from 19% to 5% while, recycling old refrigerators and disposing of their refrigerant (in keeping with the country’s commitment under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer). The policy is expected to bring in money for the government, with the tax revenue reduction offset by the reduction of energy subsidies and creation of 200 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs.” India, meanwhile, is developing a National Cooling Action Plan, considering “refrigerant technology, thermal comfort, building design, and standards and labeling.”

Under the Efficient World Scenario annual investment in efficient building and appliances rises from USD $140 billion in 2017 to an average of up to USD $220 billion up to 2025, and then to USD $360 billion to 2040.”

Since 2000 it adds, “efficiency gains saved an additional 37 exajoules of final energy use in IEA countries and other major economies – equivalent to the final energy use of Japan and India combined.” The six major emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and South Africa – saved 13 exajoules, with China alone responsible for 80 percent of it.

But the potential is far greater. “The economies of these six countries could be more than 2.5 times larger in 2040 than today, for only 25% more energy demand.”

The joint fossil fuel import bill of China and India in 2040 “could fall by nearly USD $500 billion. Families could benefit from over USD $550 billion of avoided energy spending in their cars and homes.” Meanwhile, the Efficient World scenario would “cut key air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter by one-third compared to today.”

The report notes that its conclusions, encouraging though they are, maybe “conservative” as they are based on existing technologies and take no account of improved technologies expected to become available over the next two decades.

Por Romina Picolotti Presidente CEDHA

El informe especial del Panel Intergubernamental Sobre Cambio Climático sobre las consecuencias de un Planeta a 1.5°C de temperatura o un Planeta a 2°C es un mensaje de esperanza, pero con una clara advertencia: si seguimos en la trayectoria actual caminamos hacia el abismo.

Ya sabemos lo que ocurre una vez que uno se cae por el precipicio sencillamente ya no hay vuelta atrás. Pero uno siempre puede decidir no tirarse.

Tirarse por el abismo sería dejar que el Planeta se recaliente hasta 2°C.  Es decir, que tenemos que hacer todo lo posible para no superar los 1.5°C.

Resulta oportuno destacar que 1.5°C de temperatura global no es 1.5°C en el termómetro que marca la temperatura de nuestras casas. 1.5°C de temperatura global significa impactos en el delicado sistema climático de la Tierra incluyendo severos episodios de temperaturas extremas, acidificación de los océanos, pérdidas de ecosistemas, pérdidas de cosechas, crisis hídricas, subas del nivel del mar e incremento de la pobreza.

El Informe responde a un requerimiento del Acuerdo de Paris que solicitó expresamente al Panel Intergubernamental Sobre Cambio Climático un informe especial sobre los efectos que produciría un calentamiento global de 1.5°C con respecto a los niveles preindustriales y las trayectorias correspondientes que deberían seguir las emisiones mundiales de gases de efecto invernadero. Fue elaborado bajo el liderazgo de los 3 grupos de trabajo científicos del Panel Intergubernamental, el grupo de ciencia física del calentamiento global, el grupo sobre adaptación y vulnerabilidad y el grupo de mitigación de gases efecto invernadero y revisó 42,001 comentarios de expertos y gobiernos.

La primera conclusión del informe es que cada incremento adicional de calentamiento global cuenta pues nos acerca a la zona de no retorno, es decir a cambios irreversibles. El informe es un llamado a  asumir nuestra responsabilidad planetaria y hacer todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para evitar seguir utilizando la atmósfera como un basural a cielo abierto.

La segunda conclusión del informe es que es probable que el calentamiento global alcance 1.5 ° C entre 2030 y 2052 si continúa aumentando al ritmo actual.  Es decir que lo que hagamos los próximos 10 años es clave para alejarnos del abismo.

Cada decisión que tomemos tiene que evitar agregar más calentamiento global y debemos adoptar medidas para reducir a escala los gases de efecto invernadero que ya se encuentran en la atmósfera.

Superar el umbral de 1.5 ° C sería catastrófico para la humanidad pues en el sistema climático existe lo que se denomina puntos de no retorno es decir que una vez que se sobrepasan esos puntos, los impactos se amplifican y los cambios se tornan irreversibles. La adaptación a este nuevo sistema climático de eventos extremos será imposible.

La tercera conclusión del informe es que limitar el calentamiento global a 1.5 ° C es esencial para lograr erradicar la pobreza y reducir las desigualdades.

La cuarta conclusión del informe es que un calentamiento global de 1.5 ° C implica temperaturas extremas en la tierra con incrementos más agudos en los polos. Es de decir que 1.5 ° C de temperatura global es 3° C en la tierra. Limitar el calentamiento a 1.5 ° C implica evitar el derretimiento de 2 millones de Km2 de permafrost, reduciría la zona de riesgo a la mitad y limitar al 13% de la tierra transformaciones profundas de ecosistemas.  Además  nos permitirá  ralentizar la suba del nivel del mar disminuir su acidificación y disminuir el decaimiento de los niveles de oxigeno.  Limitar la temperatura a 1.5 ° C es esencial para disminuir pérdidas de cosechas y bajos niveles de nutrición en el maíz, el arroz y el trigo especialmente en Sudamérica, Centroamérica, África y Asia.

La quinta e importantísima conclusión del informe es que aún es posible revertir nuestra trayectoria. Tomar el camino que limita el calentamiento global a 1.5 ° C requiere reducciones profundas en las emisiones de metano y carbono negro (hollín), y HFCs (gases que se utilizan principalmente en el sector de refrigeración) junto a medidas de mitigación del 35% CO2 para el 2030 con respecto a los niveles del 2010 para así alcanzar emisiones netas para el 2050.

Sólo es posible limitar el calentamiento global a 1.5 ° C si además de reducir CO2 reducimos contaminantes climáticos de vida atmosférica corta como el metano, el hollín y los HFCs.   El informe resalta que la reducción de estos contaminantes climáticos de vida corta además traerán beneficios en otras áreas como la salud y la agricultura. La Coalición para el Cambio Climático y el Aire Limpio (CCAC) de Naciones Unidas es un buen comienzo pero es necesario que más países se sumen a este esfuerzo e incluyan en sus compromisos acciones de reducciones de estos gases.  Si reducimos estos gases a escala podemos evitar hasta 0.7° C de calentamiento.

Asumir nuestra responsabilidad planetaria implica incrementar la eficiencia energética en todos los sectores, reemplazar la generación de energías fósiles por energías limpias. Un mundo de 1.5 ° C requiere 50% a 65% de energías renovables. La inversión en energías renovables debe duplicarse al mismo tiempo que se debe reducir un cuarto la inversión en energías fósiles en los próximos 20 años. En definitiva dejar de invertir en el suicido colectivo y reemplazar nuestra adicción al petróleo por una terapia que mira al sol y tiene conciencia de la fuerza del viento.

Finalmente, el informe reconoce que las tecnologías existen, muchas de ellas se están utilizando en varios países del mundo, pero aun no hemos alcanzado la escala necesaria para desviar nuestro curso. El informe concluye que el camino para evitar sobrepasar el umbral de 1.5 ° C de temperatura requiere un transición rápida y a escala en energía, uso de la tierra, infraestructura y sistemas industriales. La escala de las transiciones que son necesarias no tiene precedentes en la historia, pero sí existen registros que demuestran que somos capaces de realizar transiciones rápidas.

El Panel de Naciones Unidas reconoce que los compromisos actuales de reducciones de los países nos llevarán a un mundo de más de 3° C de temperatura.  Para revertir este curso uno de los pasos más importantes es tomar decisiones de mitigación rápida es por ello que reducir los contaminantes climáticos de vida atmosférica corta es esencial.

Ya no queda más tiempo para debatir es preciso asumir nuestra responsabilidad planetaria y accionar a escala. Es preciso despojarnos de intereses mezquinos y comprender que somos un todo, que no existirán vencedores ni vencidos por que este es el único Planeta habitable que conocemos, es la única nave espacial que nos lleva por el universo mientras nos ofrece puestas de sol y amaneceres, es el único lugar que tenemos, sencillamente no hay otro.  Aun estamos a tiempo de dejar de abusarlo y amarlo sin condiciones, podemos hacerlo. Dos ingredientes son claves: coraje y conciencia.  Podemos hacerlo,  la pregunta es si realmente deseamos hacerlo y la respuesta es sí porque sin Planeta no hay presente ni futuro.

At Super Pollutant Day, co-hosted by the Climate & Clean Air Coalition, the Pisces Foundation, and the ClimateWorks Foundation, IGSD promoted the multiple benefits of mitigating super climate pollutants, including their critical role in keeping warming well below 2ºC, the outer limit set by the Paris Agreement. The video of IGSD president, Durwood Zaelke’s presentation is below.

A related Op-Ed, Why California summit is make or break for climate safety, co-authored by Zaelke, Prof. Ramanathan, and Nobel Laureate Mario Molina, was published September 7th by the San Diego Union Tribune, and re-published by the LA Times.

 

 

Super Pollutant Day on September 12th was hosted as part of California Governor Jerry Brown’s  Global Climate Action Summit. The full day event hosted two high-level panels, Why we need to act now and Commitments and action. The event served as a call to action and included commitments to reduce super pollutants from national, state, and local governments, business, and non-profit organizations. Two of the world leading scientists noted that the super pollutants are the low hanging fruit. Solutions exist now, they are technically feasible, and in many cases can be achieved at no-net cost. The Climate & Clean Air Coalition also hosted their annual awards ceremony. The 2018 winners included Prof. V. Ramanathan, Dr. Mario Molina, actor and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio, Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, among others.

Watch the event’s video here.

“[Solving climate change] takes expert engineering, scientific research, political collaboration and great wisdom to forge ahead not in one administration but in several…That’s why I say we’re like the base camp. I’m looking up at Mount Everest. We’ve got a big mountain to climb.”

– Governor Jerry Brown, 11 September 2018

Lack of cooling threatens health, vaccines, food, and economic productivity

Washington, DC, 16 July 2018 — As the world warms up, the growing use of air conditioning and other cooling equipment will accelerate, and in a dangerous feedback loop, the extra energy needed to power the equipment will itself increase global warming as long as it comes from fossil fuel.

Two authoritative reports published during a week that has seen record high temperatures set all over the world grapple with how to break this vicious circle, and keep people cool without heating the planet.

The reports are from an international organization and a British University and are the first to quantify the scale of the challenge of bringing cooling to everyone on Earth that needs it and to try to work out what needs to be done.

“Lack of cooling kills, but so does providing inefficient cooling, which perversely will cause more warming. This dilemma is a blind spot in our effort to decarbonize energy systems and it needs to be addressed immediately by making all cooling super-efficient”, said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, adding “there are many ways that can help us keep cool, including planting shade trees and smart building designs, other than relying on mechanical air conditioning and refrigeration.”

The first report, Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All, published by Sustainable Energy for All and the Kigali-Cooling Efficiency Program, calculates that “as the planet warms, around 30 per cent of the world’s population is currently exposed to life-threatening temperatures for at least 20 days a year”, adding that heat waves “already kill an estimated 12,000 people annually across the world.”

By 2050, it continues, citing World Health Organization estimates, deaths from more extreme heat waves could multiply more than twenty-fold to reach 255,000 a year and “by the end of this century three-quarters of humanity will face deadly heat.”

Currently, the report calculates that over 1.1 billion people globally face immediate risks from lack of access to cooling, threatening the ability of millions to escape poverty, to keep our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious, and our economies productive.

While only eight per cent of the 2.8 billion people living in the hottest parts of the world now have air conditioning, this is rising rapidly. Room air conditioning ownership in India more than doubled from two million to five million between 2006 and 2011 and is forecast to reach 200 million by 2030.

The second report, A Cool World – Defining the Energy Conundrum of ‘Cooling for All, from the University of Birmingham’s Energy Institute, says that 3.6 billion cooling appliances are used around the world, and estimates that the number will increase to 9.5 billion worldwide by 2050, rising to 14 billion if everyone is to gain access to cooling.

It adds that achieving all 17 of the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depends to some extent on developing clean cooling technologies. And both reports point out that the issue intersects not just with the SDGs, but with the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigerants that cause global warming.

Both reports also urge countries strictly to comply with the amendment and recommend doubling of the average energy efficiency of cooling devices, among other measures.

Zaelke commented, “We have an immediate opportunity to improve the efficiency of cooling equipment today as we switch out of climate warming refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons under the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.”

Romina Picolotti, President of the Center for Human Rights and Environment, said, “The Paris Agreement and the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali amendment have brought attention to the close linkages between cooling, energy demand, and climate change. But cooling is also a development issue and there needs to be far greater recognition of its role addressing poverty and achieving the SDGs. We must learn to achieve cooling so that its access means progress and not a collective suicide.”

Following the successful Kigali amendment, Rwanda and the Africa Group have taken the lead promoting energy efficiency of cooling devices during the phase down of HFCs, including tabling a proposed decision at the Montreal Protocol’s Open-Ended Working Group meeting that concluded in Vienna late Saturday night, 14 July 2018, Access of parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Montreal Protocol to energy-efficient technologies in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sectors: Submission by Rwanda on behalf of the African Group.

The SEforAll and K-CEP report, Chilling Prospects: Providing Sustainable Cooling for All, is here, and their press release here.

The University of Birmingham’s Energy Institute report, A Cool World – Defining the Energy Conundrum of ‘Cooling for All’, is here, and their press release here.

Fast action to improve AC efficiency needed to protect climate

Paris, France, 15 May 2018Global energy demand for air conditioning (ACs) is projected to triple by 2050, and when met with the current fossil fuel-heavy electricity generation will nearly double greenhouse gas emissions from this sector, from 1.25 billion tons in 2016 to 2.28 billion tons a year in 2050, further increasing the world’s need for cooling in a dangerous feedback loop.

These are the conclusions of the new International Energy Agency (IEA) report, “The Future of Cooling” which warns that the growing use of ACs in homes and offices worldwide will be one of the top drivers of electricity demand over the next three decades, consuming as much electricity as all of China today by 2050. IEA’s findings confirm earlier studies that calculate cooling energy demand could increase 40-fold by 2100.

“Keeping cool will doom the planet if we don’t make air conditioning super-efficient,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “We need a pledge from big buyers to buy only super-efficient ACs, plus a ban on selling inefficient AC vampires that steal vital energy that emerging countries need for development, and of course we also need to jack up minimum energy standards, all of which can save consumers money on their electricity bills, reduce air pollution, and keep the planet, as well as its citizens, cool.”

Making cooling more efficient will save as much as USD $2.9 trillion in investment, fuel, and operating costs, according to the IEA.

The new report calculates that stringent energy efficiency policies can cut AC energy demand in half by 2050. In a previous study, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, calculated that a modest 30% improvement in room AC efficiency could save the equivalent of up to 705 medium size peak power plants in 2030, and up to 1,137 power plants in 2050.

In addition, under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed October 2016, countries are phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases used as refrigerants in AC’s. “Reducing HFCs under the Kigali Amendment will prevent up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100, and in tandem, with improvements in cooling efficiency we should be able to double this,” added Zaelke.

“Growing electricity demand for air conditioning is one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA. “With rising incomes, air conditioner ownership will skyrocket, especially in the emerging world. While this will bring extra comfort and improve daily lives, it is essential that efficiency performance for ACs be prioritized.”

IEA’s full report, The Future of Cooling, is here, and their press release is here.

The Lawrence Berkeley report is here.

19 April 2018, Washington, D.C. – At the 4th annual US-Morocco Trade Forum the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE) and the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in developing more effective analytical methods to identify the highest efficiency room air conditioners (ACs) available using refrigerants friendlier to climate.

“AMEE is pleased that IGSD will join with us on this important project in making it possible for citizens of Morocco to have the best new technology,” proclaimed Mr. Saïd Mouline, Chief Executive Officer of AMEE.

AC use is responsible for a large and increasing fraction of electricity demand and peak load, particularly in large metropolitan cities, in emerging economies, and in hot climates, like Morocco. A simultaneous transition to the use of climate-friendly refrigerants in the world stock of room ACs with a ~30% improvement of efficiency would avoid peak load equivalent to over 1,500 power plants by 2030, reducing CO2 along with other air pollutants associated with AC use while minimizing cost.

The new analytical methods to be developed by IGSD and AMEE will help better understand the impact of Morocco’s climate zones and the country’s economic circumstances in determining the most cost-effective and climate-friendly ACs for the country. “Morocco is the best possible partner for this innovative cooperation,” said Dr. Stephen O. Andersen, Director of Research at IGSD and lead of the IGSD and AMEE project, “because Morocco can influence all of Africa to invest sustainably in the next-generation AC technology.”

Reducing the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants in Morocco falls in line with the world’s commitments made in October 2016 under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, a scheduled phase-down of polluting refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons. The amendment will avoid the equivalent of nearly 100 billion tons of CO2 by 2050 and up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100.

Two additional MoUs were signed at Thursday’s Forum, one to mobilize resources to support the Morocco Growth Fund and the other to boost bilateral trade relations between the country and the United States Chamber of Commerce.