The SDG Knowledge Hub of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) provides the October update on global developments in climate mitigation.
Mitigation Update: Progress on Shipping Emissions, HFC Quotas, and Clean Energy in Samoa
While the UN Climate Change Conference was underway in Bonn, Germany, several organizations, corporations and countries announced initiatives and developments on climate mitigation, including: progress in developing rules to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping; reduced EU-wide quotas for the sale of hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs); and recommendations for mitigation research and innovation initiatives.
IMO Advances Negotiations on Maritime Mitigation Strategy
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) reported progress in its efforts to develop a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategy for international shipping. The second meeting of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), held 23-27 October 2017, London, UK, produced a first draft of what will become IMO’s GHG strategy. The draft includes a wide range of proposals for the strategy’s mission and ambition as well as guiding principles, candidate measures and actions for support and follow-up. The group also agreed on a road map towards finalizing the negotiations providing for reaching agreement on candidate short-term measures under IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) between 2018 and 2023, followed by the finalization of candidate long-term measures between 2023 and 2030. The group also emphasized the need to discuss the impact of measures on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS); the need for support, capacity building and technical cooperation; and the need to invest in research and development on alternative fuels.
EU Announces New Quotas for HFCs
The European Commission (EC) announced the next round of quotas to tackle another type GHGs, hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs, which are used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, as foaming agents and aerosols, have much higher warming potential than CO2. The sale of HFCs is therefore being phased out under the Kigali Amendment of Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The EC decided to set quotas for 2018 at 63% of the quantities sold in 2015 as the next step towards reaching its objective to reduce HFC sales to 21% of 2015 sales by 2030. Quota allocations for companies can be accessed through the EC’s fluoridated gas (F-gas) portal.
HSBC Bank to Mobilize Green Financing, Divest from Thermal Coal
HSBC bank publicized a series of commitments to support climate mitigation and green growth, including a pledge to mobilize US$100 million in sustainable financing and investment support for green growth and the transition towards low-carbon economies. Furthermore, the bank committed to: reducing the exposure of its portfolio to thermal coal and manage transitions for other carbon intensive sectors; adopt the recommendations of the Task-force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures; lead the development of industry-wide definitions around sustainable finance; and to source 100% of its own electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
Recommendations for Boosting Mitigation Research and Innovation
Research and innovation (R&I) initiatives are a key driver of progress on climate mitigation and mitigation technology transfer to developing countries. To develop recommendations for good practices for R&I initiatives based on lessons learned, an EU-funded project titled ‘CARISMA – Innovation for Climate Change and Mitigation’ mapped out existing initiatives and assessed their performance. The results are summarized in a policy brief titled ‘International Collaborations in Industry on Climate Change Mitigation R&I Initiatives.’ Key recommendations address, among other issues: policies to support low-carbon innovation and technology development; international platforms as knowledge communities; access of collaboration members to fund R&I activities; transforming climate burden into business opportunities; monitoring impacts of R&I initiatives; and sharing knowledge and best practices.
Samoa Accelerates Switch to Renewables
In SIDS, renewable energies are not only a way to achieve mitigation commitments, but also an essential strategy to boost resilience in the face of extreme weather and to reduce dependency on fossil fuel imports. To capitalize on these synergies, the Government of Samoa, with the support of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), launched a project titled, ‘Improving the Performance and Reliability of Renewable Energy Power System in Samoa (IMPRESS).’ Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Samoa, the project aims to support: policy formulation and implementation; access to renewable energy technologies; community initiatives to save electricity; awareness raising; and social uses of renewable energy. The five-year project is expected to be a key component of Samoa’s efforts to achieve its nationally determined contribution (NDC) of 100% renewable electricity generation by 2025.