EcoEquity statement on Paris

A collection of internationally-oriented US-based groups has released statements on the Paris Agreements.  It’s an interesting collection, neither optimist nor pessimistic, and the statement itself is short and focused.  We agree on the fundamentals.

Here’s EcoEquity’s blurb:

Tom Athanasiou, executive director of EcoEquity, said “The Paris Agreement is a breakthrough but not yet a success.  Not by a long shot.  It marks the end of a long international stalemate, but the emergency mobilization we need is still only a hope.  What we know for sure is that the Paris regime is nationally driven.  As the wealthiest nation on Earth, the US has the responsibility to lead.  We certainly have the capacity, and the technology, to do so.  The question now is if we can wrest back control of our democracy, and finally act.”

And here’s the statement itself:

NEW YORK — Secretary of State John Kerry plans to join world leaders in the celebratory signing of the Paris climate agreement in New York tomorrow. In lieu of celebration, U.S. civil society leaders are urging the Obama administration to take immediate, aggressive action in order to give the world a fighting chance to meet the agreement’s goals.

The Paris agreement acknowledges the urgent need to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avoid catastrophic climate change, but the greenhouse gas pollution-cutting pledges of signatory countries fall critically short of meeting this critical target.

The U.S. has played a major role in the agreement’s inadequacy. It has refused to do its fair share and take responsibility for the country’s historical contribution to today’s global climate emergency. Instead, the U.S. has unjustly shifted this burden to the developing countries in the Global South and has failed to provide its fair share of financial support to enable developing countries to take meaningful climate action.

To fight the climate crisis, the U.S. must keep fossil fuels in the ground, undertake a clean energy revolution, and provide the Global South with the financial and technological assistance demanded by science, equity, and justice.

Renewables Build-out is too Slow to hit Paris Targets

SciDev Net has an interesting, and extremely bracing, view of the new Roadmap for a Renewable Energy Future report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. In a nutshell, it says that developing countries that already have a high share of renewable energy in their power mix have it by virtue of “traditional bioenergy” and are unlikely, all else being equal, to grow this share further, this because of a “skyrocketing demand for cheap electricity” that still favors fossils over “modern renewables.”

To be sure,

“many developing countries made huge strides towards deploying renewable technologies over the past decade — but this rise is now leveling off.  Instead, these countries are turning towards fossil fuels to meet the energy demands of their citizens.”

“Nicholas Wagner, an IRENA programme officer who helped prepare the report, says countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria “have a high share of renewable biomass as part of their energy portfolios.” [This is mostly traditional biomass.] But rather than rapidly building out their infrastructures with modern renewables, these countries have “turned to fossil fuels to power greater demand for heating, cooling and transport, he says.”

“Beate Braams, a spokesperson for Germany’s energy ministry, says the drop in the proportion of energy coming from renewables in developing countries could be because growing energy needs are largely being met by other sources. “If there is a growing energy demand in an economy and if this additional demand is covered by fossil fuels, the relative share of renewables will decrease, even if there is no decrease in absolute terms for renewable energy,” she explains.”

To be extra clear, the bulk of the report is extremely optimistic about renewables. As of course is IRENA.

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