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Climate Finance

Climate Finance (53)

A carbon project helps to mitigate climate change and thus to safeguard the planet; and you even get paid for it –how great is that?Unfortunately, it’s not such a straightforward process and there will be a lot of blood, sweat and tears on the way, but carbon finance can contribute to grow your business. The Ashden Awards and GVEP International have prepared this basic guide designed to help energy entrepreneurs to understand better whether they should consider carbon finance more closely in their business plans, and to provide recommendations on the first steps to assess their potential.

 

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The economic consequences of climate change may be severe. But the cost of mitigation may also be high. Lomborg (2000: 310-311, 322) warns that the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol would be $150 billion annually, depending on the extent of emissions trading permitted. The cost of of stabilizing CO2 concentrations at 450ppm has been estimated at $4-14 trillion (Azar and Schneider, 2002: 75). Several commentators have asked whether mitigation measures are worth the damage they might inflict on the world economy (op. cit.: 75-76). It has also been argued that these costs would easily be absorbed by global economic growth (op. cit.: 76-77), but either way climate change is going to be expensive.

 

 

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Environmental concerns in general, and issues regarding climate change in particular, are moving from the realm of corporate Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S) personnel, into that of corporate financial strategy, which involves chief executive officers (CEOs) and chief financial officers (CFOs) as well as boards of directors. The pace of this transformation has left few unaffected, from companies and cities managing their greenhouse gas emissions to equity and debt analysts paying close attention to climate liabilities along with physical concerns regarding the potential impacts of climate change patterns. Carbon finance explores the financial implications of living in a carbonconstrained world—a world in which emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases1 carry a price. Thus, carbon finance

 

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A layman’s guide to climate economics leaves the average reader unable to distinguish mainstream theory from heterodoxy. Whose fault is it that our species has so far failed to take serious action
on climate change? One group of suspects — neoclassical economists, that dismal subspecies Homo economicus for whom human interest stories hold no appeal — is fingered in Frank Ackerman’s latest offering, Can We Afford the Future?: The Economics of a Warming World

 

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In an unregulated state, the emission of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) into the atmosphere in the course of commercial activities such as generating electricity, manufacturing products, and transporting goods is a negative environmental externality. In other words, the natural service the atmosphere provides in absorbing and storing GHGs is not limited and the right to participate in this service need not be bought; the service therefore cannot be priced. Recent efforts to cap GHG emissions, including the Kyoto Protocol, as well as some governments’ actions, have led to what is commonly referred to as the “commodification of carbon.” This refers to the restriction of GHG emissions, including carbon dioxide (“CO2”), and characterization of the right to emit GHGs as a tradable unit which may be transferred or sold. The holder of such a unit can express certain rights in relation to it. The phrase “carbon trading” therefore refers not to trade in physical GHGs as such, but to trading in the right to emit GHGs.1 Previously freely available to any person, permission to pollute acquires its character as a private asset (as opposed to public wealth) and its exchange value from its scarcity.

 

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The importance of cities in climate policy stems from the simple reality that they house the majority of the world’s population, two-thirds of world energy use and over 70% of global energy use emissions. At the international level, global carbon markets have become an important new source of financing for mitigation projects and programmes. Yet to date, the participation of urban authorities and of urban mitigation projects in the global carbon market remains extremely limited. The under-representation of urban carbon projects can be linked both to the difficulties to implement urban mitigation projects and to the difficulties for cities to access the carbon market. This paper reviews 10 in–depth case studies of urban projects proposed and operating within the realm of Joint Implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. It explores the drivers of success for projects, examining in particular: types of projects that have been successful and their profitability; leadership and other roles of various actors in project initiation development and operation (i.e. local, regional and national governments as well as international, private sector or other non-governmental organisations); the role of local cobenefits; and project financial structure and risk management approaches. This paper also considers how these lessons learned may inform decisions in the future about how to best tap the potential for carbon markets to offer increased levels of financial support for urban mitigation projects or programmes.

 

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Th is Report provides an overview of the key linkages between trade and climate change based on a review of available literature and a survey of relevant national policies. It begins with a summary of the current state of scientifi c knowledge on existing and projected climate change; on the impacts associated with climate change; and on the available options for responding, through mitigation and adaptation, to the challenges
posed by climate change (Part I). Th e scientifi c review is followed by an analysis on the economic aspects of the link between trade and climate change (Part II), and these two parts set the context for the subsequent discussion in the Report, which reviews in greater detail trade and climate change policies at both the international and national level. Part III on international policy responses to climate change describes multilateral eff orts at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to the risks posed by climate change, and also discusses the role of the current trade and environment negotiations in promoting trade in climate mitigation technologies. Th e fi nal part of the Report gives an overview of a range of national policies and measures that have been used in a number of countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase energy effi ciency (Part IV). It presents key features in the design and implementation of these policies, in order to draw a clearer picture of their overall eff ect and potential impact on environmental protection, sustainable development and trade. It also gives, where appropriate, an overview of the WTO rules that may be relevant to such measures.

 

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For the last decade, the ‘wheatbelt’, which produces more than 95 per cent of grains in the Aus-tralian State of Victoria, has been undergoing a transformation largely due to prolonged severe drought conditions, social changes and declining terms of trade. This paper looks at how the grains industry and communities in the northwest (NW) of Victoria can better respond to these new challenges as well as the impact of climate change. A previous study, considering the impact of climate change on the Victorian grains industry, found the wheatbelt communities were highly vulnerable to climate change (Sposito et al. 2005b). To develop a strategic targeted response to climate change we ought to identify the adaptive capacity of communities to climate change and how this varies across the region.

 

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Urbanization and climate change will define much of the 21st century. Urbanization leads to improvement in standards of living, and through the increased density and service delivery efficiency of cities, higher growth can be achieved with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Cities and urban agglomerations house more than 50% percent of the global population and contribute more than 70 percent of global greenhouse (GHG) emissions. As the share of urban population grows, sustainable urban development emerges as an essential component in addressing climate change. Mitigation often comes at a significant cost. Carbon finance has an important role to play in reducing these costs. Carbon finance is accessible through regulated mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation ( JI) under the Kyoto Protocol, and through voluntary markets, using the Voluntary Carbon Standard and climate exchanges. City authorities, however, have not been able to fully access market mechanisms for carbon credits. Less than 1% of projects registered with the CDM are credited to cities.

 

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