TWO IMPORTANT GLOBAL ENERGY UPDATES

From REN21, the annual Renewables 2015 Global Status Report  provides up to date data on the global renewable energy industry and policy landscape. It credits China’s increased use of renewable energy and the OECD’s progress for “landmark ‘decoupling’ in 2014 –  For the first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel rise in CO2 emissions. “ From the International Energy Agency, the World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change  presents a detailed assessment of the energy sector impact of known and signalled IDNC national climate pledges for the COP21 meetings, and concludes that they will be insufficient to meet the 2 degree C goal. The report states, “A transformation of the world’s energy system must become a uniting vision if the 2°C climate goal is to be achieved.”  The IEA sets out “four pillars for success” in that endeavour.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: HOW AN INDC BASED ON 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY COULD BENEFIT CANADA, U.S., EU, CHINA AND JAPAN

A report by the New Climate Institute in Germany provides an overview of the general co-benefits that climate action can achieve: reduced oil imports and fossil fuel dependency, lives saved from lower air pollution, and jobs created from growing the renewable energy sector. Assessing the Achieved and Missed benefits of Countries’ National Contributions: Quantifying potential Co-benefits  then presents scenarios for the U.S., China, the EU, Canada and Japan , comparing the impacts of each country’s stated Intended Nationally Determined Contribution targets (INDCs) with those that could be achieved through targets of 100% renewable energy in 2050. For Canada, the report projects that shifting to a 100% renewable energy system by 2050 could prevent 700 premature deaths, compared to 100 premature deaths under Canada’s INDC target , and could create approximately 5,000 additional jobs in the domestic renewable energy sector, compared to the 3,000 jobs predicted under Canada’s target scenario. The Canadian results are summarized in a separate 3 page document .

Reaction to Canada’s GHG Reduction Target to the UNFCC

On May 15 2015, Canada’s Environment Minister announced the submission of Canada’s overdue Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCC , pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.   The government also announced  that it will introduce regulations to reduce emissions from methane, chemical and nitrogen-fertilizers, and natural-gas fired electricity. Jeffrey Simpson’s article in the Globe and Mail (May 19th) sums up reaction: “Having utterly failed to meet its previous GHG reduction target, no one should put any credence in the Harper government’s latest one.”  “Weak” and “Inadequate” were frequent judgments in other reactions to the announcement: from the the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions  ; from Environmental Defence ; from Natural Resources Defence Council; from the Pembina Institute ; from the Climate Action Network  ; from the World Resources Institute .