Category Archives: Uncategorized

8 things that could “shift the trillions” to a low carbon economy

With less than one week to go before the Paris climate negotiations, a big area to watch will be whether developed countries are meeting the requirement to provide $100 billion a year by 2020 in funding for poor countries to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. This may seem like a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to what needs to happen after COP21 to “shift the trillions” towards a low carbon economy.

To put this figure in context, the International Energy Agency estimates that subsidies to fossil fuels amounted to around $544 billion in 2012. The World Resources Institute say that by 2020, about $5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure, much of it in the developing world. Others quote much higher figures, but the bottom line is that the amount of funding required to shift the global economy towards low carbon investment is in the scale of trillions rather than billions.

The “climate finance” debate is ultimately a fight over who is responsible for climate change and who has to pay.

Read the rest of this article on the World Economic Forum blog.

Vote in the EU elections – and ask your friends & family to do the same

Don’t believe what you read in the newspapers or see on TV – the elections for the European Parliament really are important.

They aren’t just an opportunity to vote against the governing parties in your country – or to vote against European Union (EU) policies on austerity – or even against the EU itself.

The European Parliament has real power, as one of the two pillars of decision making on EU laws (the other being elected governments). Yes, the European Commission proposes laws, but it is the parliament and EU governments who decide what happens.

Do EU laws matter? Can the parliament make a difference? Yes in both cases.

  • If you care about climate change (and everyone should), EU laws are vital for ensuring that we invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency. They are also helping make our products more energy efficient, saving money, emissions and generating innovation…

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Energy conservation finally taking centre stage…except in the media

At the end of October I attended two very different conferences: the FT Renewable Energy summit and a seminar at the Overseas Development Institute on “Learning lessons from low carbon development”. I can’t possibly cover everything I’ve heard there in a short blog entry (plus as a freelance journalist, I have the privilege of being among a dwindling group of people that still actually gets paid for writing articles – and I have been commissioned to write a couple of those…).

One thing really struck me: at both events, energy conservation emerged as a big theme, in a way that is relatively new in these circles.   Continue reading Energy conservation finally taking centre stage…except in the media

European aid policy at crossroads

I was very lucky to attend the 2-day “EU change makers” high level conference at the Overseas Development Institute in my last 2 weeks at Bond. The event provided an excellent overview of the main issues and challenges facing the international development sector in Europe and was attended by senior stakeholders from governments, think tanks, NGOs, and a couple of politicians. Continue reading European aid policy at crossroads