This article reviews the economic and analytical challenges of adaptation to climate change. Adaptation to climate risks that can no longer be avoided is an important aspect of the global response to climate change. Humans have always adapted to changing climatic conditions, and there is growing, if still patchy, evidence of widespread adaptation behaviour. However, adaptation is not “autonomous”, as sometimes claimed. It requires knowledge, planning, coordination and foresight. There are important adaptation gaps, behavioural barriers and market failures, which hold back effective adaptation and require policy intervention. We identify the most urgent adaptation priorities, areas where delay might lock in future vulnerability, and outline the decision-making challenges of adapting to an unknown future climate. We also highlight the strong inter-linkages between adaptation and economic development, pointing out that decisions on industrial strategy, urban planning and infrastructure investment all have strong bearing on future vulnerability to climate change. We review the implications of these links for adaptation finance, and what the literature tells us about the balance between adaptation and mitigation.
With the Paris Agreement entering into force later this week and COP22 starting on Monday, PwC expects there to be a lot more scrutiny over the climate targets that governments have committed to. PwC have just launched their annual Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) which tracks the G20 countries’ progress to decarbonise their economies and this year they assess whether they are on track with their Paris targets.
There’s good news – mostly. The global economy grew at 3.1% but emissions grew by only 0.2%, so carbon intensity fell at a record 2.8% in 2015. This is more than double the average rate since 2000 and is roughly the average rate countries need to hit their national targets. China tops their Index given its rapid economic growth while keeping emissions flat. The UK comes second place with a 6% fall in carbon intensity – double the rate it achieved during the ‘dash for gas’.
But when countries fall short of the global goal, they need to do more in subsequent years. Today, the average annual decarbonisation rate needed to stay within the two degrees carbon budget is 6.5%, up from 5.1% four years ago (the 2012 LCEI report was titled “Too late for two degrees?”). And in Paris governments agreed to aim for ‘well below’ two degrees, implying that much greater effort is needed if they are to hit their target.
All this means that the climate risks that companies face will only increase – both climate impact risks and climate policy or transition risks.
To find out more about how the Paris Agreement and national governments’ plans could affect different industries and regions, please see their website. As part of their work, they have built an interactive data tool for you to compare countries’ progress and targets against one another so they encourage you to test it out. They also have a series of insights from around the firm and beyond on the implications of the LCEI for climate risk disclosure, mining, utilities and green finance in China.
Beijing, November 11- Co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) and Outlook Weekly, the Belt and Road Sustainable Development Cooperation Platform was today established in Beijing. The platform aims to facilitate industrial upgrading and governance capacity of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries through green, smart and sustainable technological innovation.
The platform will assist BRI countries in developing new industrial standards and systems by leveraging China’s industrial advantages and experiences gained through its reform and opening up. In addition, the platform will focus on technology, industry and finance, involving existing international cooperation of the Chinese government. The platform will help facilitate enterprises to take responsibility for the implementation of pilot projects by leveraging multi-lateral cooperation mechanism.
Building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in September between UNDP and the People’s Republic of China on cooperation on the BRI, the platform will enable local governments to play a role in integrating industry restructuring and transfer with BRI. Furthermore, it will establish BRI cooperation city and base mechanisms, build multiple BRI industrial pilot bases with a focus on building an in-depth cooperation model linking local featured industries to BRI countries, promote BRI concept towards feasibility, replication and sustainability. In addition, the platform will explore to develop a featured BRI industrial institute with local major universities and research institutions and thus contribute to the talent pool for building BRI.
The platform was launched as part of the ‘2016 High Level Policy Forum on Global Governance- Business dialogue’. Policy makers from BRI countries, UN officials, development practitioners, think tanks and business leaders conducted in-depth discussions on promoting exchanges between Chinese enterprises and BRI countries and matching the investment opportunities with the needs of BRI countries.
“BRI countries will enjoy a new development opportunity to realize common prosperity through the connections formed by BRI. The economic growth dividends and enterprises’ concentrate on social and environmental responsibilities will facilitate the realization of SDGs.” said Xu Haoliang, UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and the Asia- Pacific Director.
During the launch Agi Veres, UNDP China Country Director emphasized that the Belt and Road Sustainable Business Platform will ensure that private funders feel confident participating in BRI projects and will provide support by facilitating knowledge sharing among government and stakeholders involved. It will also provide the opportunity to analyze major challenges and underline best practices and feasible strategies to advance the development of more efficient, inclusive and sustainable models and societies in China and other BRI countries.
“BRI has created historical opportunities for Chinese enterprises to ‘go global’. BRI needs more policy, revenue and capital support from the Chinese government at all levels and financial institutions to facilitate Chinese enterprises’ going global,” noted Ji Bin, President, Chief Editor and Director of Outlook Weekly.
The LowCVP and EA Technology have announced the launch of a New EV Network (EVN) Group which will bring together key stakeholders from the low carbon automotive and electricity supply sectors with the aim of ensuring that rapid electric vehicle uptake is not constrained by its impacts on the UK’s power grid.
Launched at today’s Low Carbon Networks & Innovation (LCNI) Conference, the EVN Group has been set up to enable a rapid but smooth transition to a low carbon vehicle future.
The initiative aims to drive forward solutions that will allow the rapid uptake of electric vehicles while minimising impacts and costs for the UK electricity distribution network. It will act as a focal point to address both technological and infrastructural needs, sharing research and recommending the optimal measures to increase the number of UK electric miles by 2030. The Group will also introduce consumer voices, facilitating dialogue between key stakeholders and acting as a conduit for information to and from the UK Government.
The EV Network Group has been formed following discussions with representatives of the wide range of communities engaged in the electric vehicle transition including: the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV); the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders; Ofgem; the Energy Networks Association; the AA; Citizens Advice; Energy UK; Innovate UK; BEAMA; Transport for London; the Institution of Engineering and Technology; the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and wider automotive and utilities sector organisations.
The EV Network Group was founded jointly by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and EA Technology. It is intended to build on the results and learning from Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks’ My Electric Avenue project, which EA Technology managed and delivered. That project identified the need for enhanced cross-sector collaboration to facilitate the optimal growth of electric vehicles while minimising impacts our electricity networks.
A key role for the Group will be to ensure the effective sharing and dissemination of activity currently under way, investigating and communicating how transport and energy systems can develop together in the most harmonious way possible.
The Group will be co-chaired by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and EA Technology with the Partnership providing core secretariat functions. Stakeholders will be invited to engage through a structured communications platform.
The LowCVP’s Managing Director, Andy Eastlake, said: “Electrification of a wide range of transport applications is one of the clearest opportunities in terms of delivering carbon and other emissions reductions. Making sure low carbon electricity is generated, distributed and delivered into these highly efficient vehicles where and when they need it represents both a challenge and an opportunity, and one in which we believe that the UK can lead the way.”
Dan Hollingworth, Head of Delivery at EA Technology commented: “The EV Network Group is happening at the right time for UK plc. There is great appetite from the distribution network operators and related utilities, as well as customer representatives, Government and of course EV charging point and automotive sector and related supply chains, to collaborate on this new initiative. We all have customers’ best interests at heart and will work to pave the way for a smart low carbon transport future.”
Other supporting partner comments about the EV Network Group
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT): “SMMT welcomes the formation of the EV Network Group. Take up of ultra low emission cars is growing rapidly but we need infrastructure to keep pace nationally. The forum must contribute to the elimination of any electricity supply-side constraints which could limit the potential for widespread adoption of plug-in vehicles.”
Lawrence Slade, Chief Executive of Energy UK: “Electric vehicles will play a major role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector and we expect EV’s to be used to offer up flexibility services as part of a smart energy system. They will create opportunities for new business models to be created and for customers to be able to play a more active role in our energy sector. Energy UK welcome the opportunity to be involved at the beginning of this exciting cross industry collaboration.”
Mark Thompson, Innovation Lead at Innovate UK: “The electrification of transport has to be one of the most exciting and fast moving parts of the whole energy sector with manufacturers and the public alike really embracing the value that plugin vehicles bring. The convergence of transport with the energy system, along with the human and lifestyle characteristics of this area present a rich cocktail of innovation and business opportunities, where creative business models and joined up thinking while the sector is still in its early stages, will reap huge benefits downstream for all parties including plugin users”
Stewart Reid, Head of Asset Management & Innovation at Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks: “We welcome the creation of the EV Network Group and we look forward to collaborating with its members on making the most of the opportunities and addressing any challenges electric vehicles present to the country.”
Liam Lidstone, Strategy Manager, Energy Technologies Institute: “There looks to be a big opportunity for electric vehicles in the UK. But their success will be determined by meeting the needs of mainstream consumers and the supply of vehicles and energy that enhances driving experiences. The creation of the EV Network helps to bring together a collective will and voice to advance the electric vehicle sector and begin to turn this opportunity into a reality.”
Alex Goodwin, Manager – Emerging Markets, BEAMA: “Britain is a world leader in the adoption of EVs and has seen sustained and confident growth in recent times. Ensuring that the market is not inhibited by constraints on the electricity network is vital to gaining the energy security and environmental benefits EVs can deliver. BEAMA welcomes the launch of the EV Network group and believe it will play a key role in ensuring the market can develop into the mainstream.”
The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) announced today that ExxonMobil will expand its support for MITEI’s research and development of low-carbon technologies, building on the company’s 2014 commitment as a founding member of MITEI to support faculty and student research.
Specifically, ExxonMobil will join MITEI’s Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Center, one of eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers — first called for in MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change in October 2015 — established to advance research on specific, key technologies to address climate change such as electric power systems, energy bioscience, energy storage, materials for energy and extreme environments, advanced nuclear energy systems, nuclear fusion, and solar energy, in addition to CCUS.
“Advancing economic and sustainable technologies to capture carbon dioxide is one component of ExxonMobil’s research into lower-emissions solutions,” said Vijay Swarup, vice president of research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company. “This effort expands our continuing collaboration with MIT to advance the scientific fundamentals needed to deliver low-carbon energy solutions.”
“ExxonMobil’s collaboration with the MIT Energy Initiative has supported energy technology innovations and enables students to gain hands-on experience through sponsored research projects and internships,” said MITEI Director Robert C. Armstrong. “Through this new support, ExxonMobil will foster much-needed development of technologies that can aid the transition to a low-carbon energy future.”
The Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Center will focus on developing scalable, affordable technologies for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon dioxide — particularly from industrial operations and power facilities — and storing it safely. This work will require innovations from disciplines including chemistry, biology, and engineering for carbon capture, and subsurface science and engineering at field scale for carbon storage. The CCUS Center is co-directed by MIT professors T. Alan Hatton of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Bradford Hager of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.
The Low-Carbon Energy Centers bring together researchers from multiple disciplines to engage with companies, governmental agencies, and other stakeholders, including the philanthropic community, to develop deployable solutions through a uniquely inclusive model.
“Since the MIT Energy Initiative’s founding, we have based our membership model on the conviction that industry engagement with academia and government is essential for furthering research and development of technologies that help the world sustainably meet its energy demands while transitioning to a low-carbon global energy system,” said Louis Carranza, MITEI’s associate director, who is spearheading the development of the centers. “Through our Low-Carbon Energy Centers, we’re creating a new kind of ecosystem for this important collaboration, allowing companies to zero-in on specific technology areas most relevant to their businesses, and we welcome ExxonMobil’s participation and support in this effort.”