Are you affected by long-term climate plans?

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WWF’s MaxiMiseR project has been delving into the policy weeds of long-term climate strategies for the past three years. But now, with the project coming to an end, we wanted to take a step back and look at the difference those strategies can make to the man - or lady - in the street.

MaxiMiseR asked Collingwood Environmental Planning to have a closer look at the impacts of long-term climate plans on society and the economy - that is, on you and me. MaxiMiseR Project Manager Jane Wallace-Jones explains what they found out.

What were the reasons for looking into the socio-economic impacts of long-term climate plans?

Long-term climate plans require substantial economy wide change and this will heavily impact on people’s lives. Because the LIFE funded MaxiMiseR project aims to trigger the development and implementation of strong long-term climate plans, it needs to see exactly what those impacts will be. This report looked at all the possible social impacts of climate plans - on culture, community, political systems, environment, health and wellbeing, to personal and property rights, fears and aspirations. What is clear from this study is that low carbon development strategies that are grounded in an understanding of day to day living stand a better chance of being successful.

How are people’s everyday lives affected by long-term climate plans?

This study shows that all aspects of an individual’s everyday life are affected by the policies and measures adopted in  long term climate plans. For example, measures foreseeing better insulation in buildings will have health benefits for the occupiers of the building. Moreover,  people’s way of life is positively affected by having more control over their energy use through smart meters and there are, of course, economic benefits, such as lower energy bills, which result from energy efficiency measures. 'Overall, because the potential social impacts of policies and measures are so broad, we recommend that governments always plan to address them in the development of their climate strategies.

What are the main barriers when it comes to the inclusion of social impacts in long-term climate plans?

The officials from Member States interviewed for this study all acknowledged that including social impacts was very important, but said that the time and cost involved in doing so is a significant barrier. Plans are often developed over short periods of time which put limits both on the social impacts considered, and the involvement of citizens in the strategy development process - which is a key way of working out what those impacts would be. Another result is that those in charge of the development process are often individual ministries or departments with narrow mandates. This means they miss a broader view on aspects outside of their field

How can we help ensure social impacts are taken into account in long-term climate plans in the future?

National government officials agree that greater inclusion of social impacts in long term climate plans is beneficial. To achieve this, we need the involvement of ministries and departments beyond those responsible for the strategies.  They need to work with a timeframe and budget for strategy development which allows for the growth of knowledge and capacities to tackle social aspects. Social aspects need to be mainstreamed into long-term plan development and much of this could come through greater inclusion of citizens and communities in the strategy development and implementation process.

How do the results of this assessment relate to the MaxiMiseR project?

A core aspect of the MaxiMiser project has been the definition of what a good long term climate plan looks like. This study makes it clear that an essential ingredient of a successful long term climate plan  is defining the policies and measures that will be introduced, based on a thorough understanding of how people’s lives will be affected by them. This is because the success of long term climate plans depends on  those people changing their behaviour. This must happen at the individual, community and organisational levels. By addressing social impacts , governments could get a better understanding of some of the barriers and facilitators that might need to be addressed or supported during the implementation of the strategies.

Read the full report here

Why climate strategies make business sense

Clear and ambitious climate and energy plans are essential to reduce emissions and provide certainty for business, says Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at the WWF’s European Policy Office

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at the WWF’s European Policy Office in Brussels, underlines why long-term, ambitious energy transition planning is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create business opportunities

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Planning could be called “the oldest tool in the book”. As far back as 500 BC, Confucius said: “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” Successful businesses are built around well thought out plans and strategies. It makes sense then, that when faced with one of the biggest potential threats ever seen, namely climate change, companies looking to the future are urging EU policy makers to be ambitious when drawing up long-term climate and energy plans.

EU member states must produce, by 2020 at the latest, national climate and energy strategies, and the EU agreed under the 2015 Paris climate agreement to draw up a regional strategy out to 2050.

Clear, transparent and ambitious emissions reductions strategies will provide certainty and guidance to business and investors now and in the future. Many companies already realise this and have offered their support for strong climate change strategies. The WWF’s MaxiMiseR project is working with representatives from governments, civil society and business, including industry leaders such as Rockwool, Philips and Schneider Electric to push for strong legislation on the EU 2050 climate strategies. They, plus civil society organisations also belonging to the project, recently signed a statement backing this call.

It makes sense that the business world is getting on board: good climate strategies will provide companies with new avenues. A tough emissions reduction goal can spur huge growth in green and sustainable sectors. A country intending a significant increase in solar power or a major boost for energy efficient buildings provides a clear indication of where opportunities lie.

Bad for business and bad for the climate

What’s more, a warming world where the economy, seasons, weather and migration patterns fluctuate unpredictably is bad news for companies’ bottom lines. On the other hand, showing responsibility and leadership in terms of climate change and the energy transition is good for a business’s image and part and parcel of building a safer future for the company to operate in.

To make national emissions reductions strategies work for business as well as the climate they must be ambitious and structured in a similar way in different European countries. The EU in its 2050 energy roadmap should set an ambitious overall emissions reduction goal and provide a clear template and guidelines to member states to help this happen. The European Commission and Parliament and national policy makers must also consult with businesses, and with civil society, cities and other groups, when they develop their strategies, to ensure their needs and concerns are taken into account.

If done properly, 2050 climate strategies will be essential tools of the transition to a society based on renewables and energy efficiency, showing everyone involved the same direction of travel. Yet unfortunately, so far, only four EU countries, the Czech Republic, France, the UK and Germany, have submitted long-term strategies to the UNFCCC, the UN body working on climate change.

By dragging their heels, governments are diminishing the chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, of meeting the EU’s Paris agreement goals and threatening the future of businesses.

A Plan for the Future: How Strong Strategies Can Bring a More Sustainable Europe

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Around 1,000 days ago, the EU signed a historic agreement, along with 200 other countries. It was a UN-brokered deal to make every aspect of the world’s economies and societies truly sustainable. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development set 17 SDGs for 2030, which, once met, will transform everything from health to nature, to gender, to jobs.

Yet 1,000 days later – give or take a few – the EU still has no strategy in place for how to meet those Goals. It has relied instead, so far, on policy initiatives in particular areas, hoping that they would, once implemented, somehow add up to the equivalent of the 2030 Agenda.

In some areas progress has certainly been made. Take climate change and energy as an example. The EU signed the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015 and, while it has still not brought its policy and efforts in line with the Agreement’s goals to keep temperature rise to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, things are slowly moving. In March 2018, Heads of State called for a long-term EU climate strategy in line with the Paris Agreement. In April, seven member States asked for a pathway to be set out towards “net zero emissions.” Accordingly, the European Commission will deliver a document mapping EU climate possibilities to 2050 – including a net zero emissions option – by spring 2019.

Getting this 2050 climate strategy right is a dire necessity, given that we are staring down the barrel of the gun of climate devastation – and the impacts that it would have on people and the planet. However, it is also an opportunity for the EU to act on a global emergency, patch up its climate credibility and lead the way to an energy efficient, renewable energy future.

But however strong the EU’s climate strategy, alone it will not be enough to fulfil the EU’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda. The European Commission has said it will publish a “reflection paper” on the Agenda’s implementation and to follow up on the Paris Agreement in autumn 2018. How is it that nearly three years after signing up to the 2030 Agenda and its Goals, the European Commission is still “reflecting,” not acting?

The EU has historically been a respected global player on sustainability, but it cannot cool its heels and rest on an outdated reputation when the survival of people and the planet is at stake.

On climate action, the EU must speed up the progress it is making, and build a strong, consistent and workable strategy for reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 at the latest in line with the Paris Agreement, as those seven progressive member States called for. This is widely supported by business and civil society.

But just as urgently, the EU must stop kicking the can down the road and get to work on an overarching and transformative SDG strategy – including climate change, but also bringing in the other SDGs from nature protection (SDGs 14 and 15) to gender equality (SDG 5) to water quality (SDG 6) – which can be rapidly implemented, before many more days tick by. Our lives and wellbeing depend on it.

MaxiMiseR conference "Plan It Right: Fighting Climate Change Through 2050 Strategies"

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Just before the MaxiMiseR project ends in June 2018, more than 120 people attended the final conference “Plan It Right: Fighting Climate Change Through 2050 Strategies” on 23 May 2018 in the heart of the European area of Brussels. Key project findings were presented together with three high level panel discussions.

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The first panel looked at the current state of climate strategies; where we stand today, and where we have to go to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. While each member state needs to develop its own long-term climate plan, the EU aims to propose a common template as a guideline to streamline member state efforts. One of the key aspects of this panel was agreement that overall a new circular economy model and substantial behaviour change is needed to reach the Paris goals. Watch the whole session

The second panel focussed on best practices in member states. Sweden, Germany and the Czech Republic shared their best practices on how to implement strong long-term climate plans. Sweden wants to become the industrialised country on the planet, being completely independent from fossil fuels.  Germany did an extensive stakeholder evaluation hosting conferences where individual citizens could input. Watch the whole session

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The third panel discussed how the EU can be a role model for other regions and how the EU long-term plans work in a global context. This is crucial as developing countries want economic growth, but are also aware that their economies need to decarbonise. To narrow this gap, investments are needed and the European Investment Bank highlighted during the session that it invests inside and outside of Europe to help developing countries grow in a sustainable way. Watch the whole session

All video recordings are available on the MaxiMiseR website, including the Q&A’s, as well as the results from the live polling on what the audience was thinking about long-term climate plans.

 

Oversupply of pollution certificates leads to declining EU ETS revenues in 2016

  • How many EU emissions allowances were auctioned in 2016, and what were they worth?

  • How much of the money raised from ETS auctions was spent on  climate change projects?

  • How much of the money is used domestically or for projects abroad?

  • How does your government spend its ETS revenues - on research, sustainable transport, energy efficiency or something else?

You’ll find all of these answers by using the MaxiMiseR ETS revenue tool.

The 2016 figures from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) are yet more proof that the system is rewarding polluters at the expense of the climate. They show that far more emissions allowances were auctioned on the ETS in 2016 than in 2015 - 700 million compared to 630 million. Because there were so many surplus allowances, the price went down, meaning overall revenues dropped by more than 20%. The proportion  of the auctioning revenues spent on climate action remained the same at 85%, therefore the amount spent on climate decreased by more than EUR 900 million from 2015 to 2016.

A new report published by CAN Europe shows that emissions allowances to the tune of EUR 143 billion were given away for free by the EU in the period between 2008-2015. This amount is predicted to rise further to an estimated EUR 380 billion by the year 2030. Auctioning of these emission allowances instead of handing them out for free would help cut emissions and ensure the EU’s “polluter pays” principle is respected.

The MaxiMiseR EU ETS revenue tool was developed with the Ecologic Institute to help show how ETS revenues could be used to finance climate action and long-term climate planning. With the latest data update, you can now compare more than 30 variables over a period of four years (2013-2016).   

Key 2016 figures:

  • Over 95% of auctioning revenues spent on climate action are used for domestic projects

  • 30% of domestic spending goes towards renewable energy projects in 14 countries

  • Using ETS auctioning revenues to provide international climate finance receives relatively little attention, with only EUR 134 million dedicated to support developing countries

Figure 1: Revenues used for domestic action - renewable energy 2016

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If you are curious as to how revenues relating to renewable energy have developed over the years, just change the format on how your data is displayed and you can choose up to five countries to compare over the four years as shown in figure two. For instance, you’ll see that the UK was leading investments in this field in 2015, but was overtaken by Spain in 2016. The MaxiMiseR EU ETS revenue tool is the most comprehensive and detailed way to have easy access to EU ETS Member States’ revenues and spending habits.

Figure 2: Revenues used for domestic action - renewable energy 2013 - 2016

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To know more about MaxiMiseR’s work on EU ETS reform, including recommendations to increase the size and improve the use of auctioning revenues for the climate check out , “Smart Cash for the Climate: Maximising ETS revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System” which was published by the Ecologic Institute and MaxiMiseR in 2016.

WWF & IIGCC Webinar: Making money meaningful: investors and long-term climate planning

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WWF MaxiMiseR and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) are pleased to invite you to join our webinar, Making money meaningful: investors and long-term climate planning, on Thursday, April 26th from 15:00 - 16:15 (CEST).


This webinar explores how investors can participate in dialogue with policy makers in long-term climate strategy development, and highlights the benefits resulting from this dialogue, to policy makers and investors alike, through examples and experience.
You, as participants, will also have the chance to share your thoughts and experiences on investors, long-term planning and to hear from other well informed participants.

There will be 4 short presentations followed by a Q&A.

Moderator: 

  • Frédéric Simon, Euractiv 

Speakers:

  • Adam White, Senior Project Coordinator, WWF European Policy Office

What are long term climate strategies and why do they matter?

  • Jan Vandermosten, Sustainable Finance Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office

Aligning Investment Portfolios with the  Paris Agreement - a climate guide for asset owners

  • Rachel Ward, Head of Policy, Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC)

Why climate policy matters to investors – how good policy unlocks low-carbon investment

  • Tatiana Bosteels, Director - RPI & Sustainability, Hermes Investment Management

The investor view: engaging on long-term climate policy

We hope you can make it!

Join the discussion via your laptop, phone, iPad, from anywhere you want. Registration is now open - you will need to register to receive the dial-in details for this webinar.

This webinar has been organised by the WWF European Policy Office’s MaxiMiseR project (which is funded by the EU LIFE programme and the MAVA Foundation) and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC).

Cities and Regions: Powering Europe towards a zero-carbon future

National, regional and local governments working for long term climate plans

Cities and regions worldwide are taking a leading role in the fight against climate change. Their engagement makes sense - cities already produce 70% of global CO2 emissions, and their populations are expected to double by 2050. Over the same period $350 trillion of infrastructure investments will go into cities.  In addition, cities and regions  are often first to be hit by climate change and have had to find new ways of adapting. It can often be quicker for them to take a decision and act on it than for the heavier bureaucracy of  national government.

However, climate change must be tackled at all levels. It is therefore critical for national governments to learn from, and work with local and regional governments in climate planning.

The Maximiser project has focused to-date on national long term strategies for climate. It has found that only 13 out of the 28 Member States have a long term climate strategy.

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On  30 January our Maximiser roundtable took a closer look at how the EU and national governments can work with regions and cities in 2050 strategy development and implementation.

We  have showcased what cities and regions are doing to tackle climate change and considered what those cities and regions can contribute to the national climate planning process.

Tula Ekengren, Regional Developer, Region Västra Götaland, Sweden highlighted the importance of a large scale consultation process involving all potential stakeholders, before drawing up a regional climate strategy. In Västra Götaland, this process led to more than 100 organisations, together with the regional government, pledging to be 100% fossil free by 2030.

Adam White, Senior Research Coordinator, WWF European Policy Office added,  “particularly important are consultations and participative processes on the local level. Cities and regions are closer to their constituents and can engage with them directly to find solutions that improve their quality of life, whilst also reducing their impact on the environment”.  

The MaxiMiseR project just recently published an update of its guidance report “Planning to succeed ”, which lists 10 essential elements for a successful long-term strategy, as well as a comprehensive list of literature published on that subject.

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Paul Davies, Head of the Bristol (UK) Brussels Office, pointed out that Bristol has a long standing track record of fighting climate change. After winning “ the European Green Capital award in 2015, Bristol stepped up its ambitions and decided to become carbon neutral and run on green energy by 2050. An essential feature of the Green Capital programme, is one of the biggest ever municipal investments into energy efficiency, but the programme also focuses on social aspects, such as fuel poverty”.

Dina Silina, Adaptation, DG Climate Action gave an overview of how and where the European Commission is working closely with regions and cities through platforms, such as the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.   

Imke Lübbeke, Head of Climate and Energy at WWF European Policy Office, concluded that “there are many great initiatives going on at the regional and communal level. A major step forward is strengthening bottom- up approaches, but at the same time, the European Commission needs to show their ambition and deliver an updated 2050 roadmap. The question that remains to be answered is, are all government levels interconnected well enough?”

For information on upcoming MaxiMiseR events, contact Leia: lachampong@wwf.eu