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News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A Dubai firm's dream of towing icebergs from the Antarctic to the Arabian Peninsula could face some titanic obstacles. Where many see the crumbling polar ice caps as a distressing sign of global warming, the National Advisor Bureau Limited sees it as a source of profit, and a way of offsetting the effects of climate change in the increasingly sweltering Gulf. The firm has drawn up plans to harvest icebergs in the southern Indian Ocean and tow them 9,200 kilometers (5,700 miles) away to the Gulf, where they could be melted down for freshwater and marketed as a tourist attraction. "The icebergs are just floating in the Indian Ocean. They are up for grabs to whoever can take them," managing director Abdullah al-Shehi told The Associated Press in his Dubai office. He hopes to begin harvesting them by 2019. It is perhaps no surprise that the idea would originate in Dubai, which is already famous for its indoor ski slope, artificial islands and the world's tallest building. But the plan to harvest icebergs faces a wide array of legal, financial and logistical hurdles - and environmentalists are less than thrilled. The firm would send ships down to Heard Island, an Australian nature reserve in the southern Indian Ocean, where they would steer between massive icebergs the size of cities in search of truck-sized chunks known as growlers. Workers would then secure them to the boats with nets and embark on a yearlong cruise to the United Arab Emirates. The company believes that, as most of the icebergs' mass is underwater, they would not melt significantly during the voyage. Al-Shehi said each iceberg would hold around 20 billion gallons of fresh water that could be harvested without costly desalinization, which currently provides nearly all of the Gulf region's water. Masdar, a government-backed clean energy firm in the United Arab Emirates, is exploring new technologies to meet the country's water needs. The United Arab Emirates' Energy Ministry issued a statement this week denying "reports" that an iceberg was in the process of being imported, without specifying the reports to which it referred. Al-Shehi said his project is a private initiative and that he would seek government approval once his firm completes its feasibility study. He declined to share the company's cost estimates, and said it has not carried out an environmental impact study. Robert Brears, the founder of the climate think tank Mitidaption, has studied the feasibility of Antarctic ice harvesting and estimates the project would require an initial outlay of at least $500 million. The challenges begin at Heard Island, where Australia strictly limits access in order to preserve the area's rich ecosystem of migratory birds, seals, penguins and fish, which could be disrupted by large ships. Antarctica itself is subject to global treaties that mandate environmental regulations and ban mining and military activities. Even if the firm secures the necessary approvals from multiple governments, the wrangling itself could prove daunting. "There are thousands and thousands of icebergs drifting around and they can move without warning," said Christopher Readinger, who heads the Antarctic team at the U.S. National Ice Center. "Storms down there can be really brutal, and there's really not anyone that can help." The interagency group uses satellites and floating sensors to track large icebergs in order to warn fishing and science vessels. One of the icebergs it tracked last month was twice the size of Manhattan. Antarctica holds 60 percent of the world's freshwater, frozen in an ice shelf that sheds nearly 1.2 trillion tons of icebergs a year , according to NASA. The ice loss is accelerating as global temperatures warm. In the Arctic, Canadian "iceberg cowboys" use rifles to blast off chunks of icebergs that are later sold to wineries, breweries and vodka distilleries. A Norwegian company sells 750ml bottles of melted iceberg for $100 each. But iceberg wranglers off Antarctica would find a leaner herd. "It's the driest ice in the world," Brears said. "You could melt a lot of this ice and get very little water from it." Environmentalists meanwhile point to simpler measures that could be taken to address climate change in the Middle East, like drip-irrigation, fixing leaks and water conservation. "This region is the heartland of the global oil industry, it will be at the forefront of experiencing these massive, insane heat waves, and there's only one way to avoid this - reducing emissions and keeping all fossil fuels in the ground," said Hoda Baraka, spokeswoman for the climate advocacy group 350.org. Green investment groups are unlikely to finance the iceberg project, said Charlotte Streck, director of the consultancy firm Climate Focus. She says the project is "an exceptionally futile and expensive way" to solve the Gulf's water woes -- and "seems to run counter to all ideas of climate change adaptation." Al-Shehi is undeterred, and insists the project will have no impact on Antarctica or any other natural environment. The whole process, he said, "will be a drop in the ocean."


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

Where many see the crumbling polar ice caps as a distressing sign of global warming, the National Advisor Bureau Limited sees it as a source of profit, and a way of offsetting the effects of climate change in the increasingly sweltering Gulf. The firm has drawn up plans to harvest icebergs in the southern Indian Ocean and tow them 9,200 kilometers (5,700 miles) away to the Gulf, where they could be melted down for freshwater and marketed as a tourist attraction. "The icebergs are just floating in the Indian Ocean. They are up for grabs to whoever can take them," managing director Abdullah al-Shehi told The Associated Press in his Dubai office. He hopes to begin harvesting them by 2019. It is perhaps no surprise that the idea would originate in Dubai, which is already famous for its indoor ski slope, artificial islands and the world's tallest building. But the plan to harvest icebergs faces a wide array of legal, financial and logistical hurdles—and environmentalists are less than thrilled. The firm would send ships down to Heard Island, an Australian nature reserve in the southern Indian Ocean, where they would steer between massive icebergs the size of cities in search of truck-sized chunks known as growlers. Workers would then secure them to the boats with nets and embark on a yearlong cruise to the United Arab Emirates. The company believes that, as most of the icebergs' mass is underwater, they would not melt significantly during the voyage. Al-Shehi said each iceberg would hold around 20 billion gallons of fresh water that could be harvested without costly desalinization, which currently provides nearly all of the Gulf region's water. Masdar, a government-backed clean energy firm in the United Arab Emirates, is exploring new technologies to meet the country's water needs. The United Arab Emirates' Energy Ministry issued a statement this week denying "reports" that an iceberg was in the process of being imported, without specifying the reports to which it referred. Al-Shehi said his project is a private initiative and that he would seek government approval once his firm completes its feasibility study. He declined to share the company's cost estimates, and said it has not carried out an environmental impact study. Robert Brears, the founder of the climate think tank Mitidaption, has studied the feasibility of Antarctic ice harvesting and estimates the project would require an initial outlay of at least $500 million. The challenges begin at Heard Island, where Australia strictly limits access in order to preserve the area's rich ecosystem of migratory birds, seals, penguins and fish, which could be disrupted by large ships. Antarctica itself is subject to global treaties that mandate environmental regulations and ban mining and military activities. Even if the firm secures the necessary approvals from multiple governments, the wrangling itself could prove daunting. "There are thousands and thousands of icebergs drifting around and they can move without warning," said Christopher Readinger, who heads the Antarctic team at the U.S. National Ice Center. "Storms down there can be really brutal, and there's really not anyone that can help." The interagency group uses satellites and floating sensors to track large icebergs in order to warn fishing and science vessels. One of the icebergs it tracked last month was twice the size of Manhattan. Antarctica holds 60 percent of the world's freshwater, frozen in an ice shelf that sheds nearly 1.2 trillion tons of icebergs a year , according to NASA. The ice loss is accelerating as global temperatures warm. In the Arctic, Canadian "iceberg cowboys" use rifles to blast off chunks of icebergs that are later sold to wineries, breweries and vodka distilleries. A Norwegian company sells 750ml bottles of melted iceberg for $100 each. But iceberg wranglers off Antarctica would find a leaner herd. "It's the driest ice in the world," Brears said. "You could melt a lot of this ice and get very little water from it." Environmentalists meanwhile point to simpler measures that could be taken to address climate change in the Middle East, like drip-irrigation, fixing leaks and water conservation. "This region is the heartland of the global oil industry, it will be at the forefront of experiencing these massive, insane heat waves, and there's only one way to avoid this—reducing emissions and keeping all fossil fuels in the ground," said Hoda Baraka, spokeswoman for the climate advocacy group 350.org. Green investment groups are unlikely to finance the iceberg project, said Charlotte Streck, director of the consultancy firm Climate Focus. She says the project is "an exceptionally futile and expensive way" to solve the Gulf's water woes __ and "seems to run counter to all ideas of climate change adaptation." Al-Shehi is undeterred, and insists the project will have no impact on Antarctica or any other natural environment. The whole process, he said, "will be a drop in the ocean." Explore further: Unusually large swarm of icebergs drifts into shipping lanes


Milder J.C.,Cornell University | Scherr S.J.,Ecoagriculture Partners | Bracer C.,Climate Focus
Ecology and Society | Year: 2010

Payment for ecosystem services (PES) is a market-based approach to environmental management that compensates land stewards for ecosystem conservation and restoration. Because low-income households and communities control much of the ecologically sensitive land in developing countries, they potentially stand to gain from PES, as environmentally responsible stewardship is assigned a value by various actors in society. To date, however, instances of PES benefiting the poor have been limited mainly to specific localities, small-scale projects, and a handful of broader government programs. We analyze the size, characteristics, and trends of PES to evaluate its future potential to benefit low-income land stewards in developing countries. We estimate that by the year 2030, markets for biodiversity conservation could benefit 10-15 million low-income households in developing countries, carbon markets could benefit 25-50 million, markets for watershed protection could benefit 80-100 million, and markets for landscape beauty and recreation could benefit 5-8 million. If payments and markets reach these potentials, they could provide a non-negligible contribution to poverty alleviation at the global level. © 2010 by the author(s).


Sterk W.,Wuppertal Institute for Climate | Bolscher H.,Triple E Consulting | van der Laan J.,Triple E Consulting | Hoogzaad J.,Climate Focus | Sijm J.,Energy Research Center of the Netherlands
Climate Policy | Year: 2015

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have decided to establish a ‘new market-based mechanism’ (NMM) to promote mitigation across ‘broad segments’ of developing countries' economies but have so far defined only some broad outlines of how it is to function. This article identifies key design options of the NMM based on a survey of the literature and reviews them against a range of assessment criteria. Furthermore, potential application of the NMM is analysed for five country-sector combinations. The analysis finds that lack of data and of institutions that could manage the NMM are key bottlenecks. In addition, the analysis reveals the existence of substantial no-regret reduction potential, suggesting that sectors may not be sensitive to the market incentives from an NMM. Governmental capacity building and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) might be more appropriate in the short term, preparing the ground for the adoption of market-based approaches at a later stage. NMM pilots could be based on supported NAMAs but should ideally generate tradable and compliance-grade emission credits in order to fully simulate the real-life conditions of an NMM. Policy relevance The Doha conference identified ‘possible elements’ of the NMM to be addressed in the development of the NMM's modalities and procedures. This article identifies available options for these possible elements and reviews these options against a number of criteria, including environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency, political and administrative efficiency, and others. On this basis the article identifies options that are best suited to fulfil the main aims of the NMM as decided at the Durban conference, ‘to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote, mitigation actions’. In addition, the article analysis potential application of the NMM for five country-sector combinations. The analysis assesses the emission reduction potential that could be mobilized through the NMM as well as the institutional market readiness of the sectors. Finally, the article synthesizes the challenges ahead for the NMM that have emerged from the analysis and suggests possible ways forward. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.


Streck C.,Climate Focus
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2012

In the eighth year of international negotiations on REDD+, the structure and flows of REDD+ finance remain uncertain. There is no agreement on the magnitude and sources of funding; the role of the private sector and market-based mechanisms; or the modalities of disbursing international REDD+ funds. This paper summarizes the status quo of REDD+ finance, analyzes the potential sources of REDD+ finance and discusses their respective risks and strengths. Considering the evolving nature of REDD+ and relating insecurities of REDD+ finance, it argues in favor of complementary and pragmatic use of the various sources of finance to avoid further delay and frustration in REDD+ implementation. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Streck C.,Climate Focus | Keenlyside P.,Climate Focus | Von Unger M.,Atlas
Journal for European Environmental and Planning Law | Year: 2016

The adoption of the Paris Agreement is a milestone in international climate politics and brings years of near deadlock negotiations to a conclusion. The Agreement creates a global process of engagement, follow-up, regular stock-take exercises and cooperative action. On the one hand, it represents a step forward, overcoming the many divisions that had marked the Kyoto area: between developed and developing countries, between industrialized nations inside the Protocol and those outside, and between those supportive of market mechanisms and those that vehemently opposed them. On the other hand, individual country contributions fall short of the overall climate goal, and the risk is that the Paris Agreement remains a shell without sufficient action and support. It thus remains to be seen whether the Paris Agreement is the right framework through which to address the collective action problem of climate change. © KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2016.


Streck C.,Climate Focus
Journal for European Environmental and Planning Law | Year: 2016

In December 2015, more than 190 countries endorsed the Paris Agreement, an international framework to tackle climate change that aims to hold global temperatures well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This paper evaluates options for the European Union (eu) and its Member States to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement through financing developing country efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation (redd+). A diverse range of options exists for the eu and its Member States to generate funds to provide finance for redd+ mitigation action. The paper evaluates options to mobilize long-term and predictable finance for redd+ through additional international mitigation commitments, international cooperation, and eu-level policy instruments. redd+ offers a unique opportunity for such additional mitigation action, considering that the negotiations defining redd+ are comparatively advanced and redd+ is already supported by implementation partnerships between developed countries and tropical forest countries. © © 2016 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Coren M.J.,Climate Focus | Streck C.,Climate Focus | Madeira E.M.,The Nature Conservancy
Climate Policy | Year: 2011

Previous attempts to estimate the supply of greenhouse gas emission reductions from reduced emissions from deforestation (RED) have generally failed to incorporate policy developments, country-specific abilities and political willingness to supply offsets for developed countries' emissions. To address this, we estimate policy-appropriate projections of creditable emission reductions from RED. Two global forest carbon models are used to examine major assumptions affecting the generation of credits. The results show that the estimated feasible supply of RED credits is significantly below the biophysical mitigation potential from deforestation. A literature review identified an annual RED emission reduction potential between 1.6 and 4.3 Gt CO2e. Feasible RED supply estimates applying the OSIRIS model were 1.74 Gt CO2e annually between 2011 and 2020, with a cumulative supply of 17.4 Gt CO2e under an 'own-efforts' scenario. Estimates from the Forest Carbon Index were very low at $5/t CO2e with 8 million tonne CO2e annually, rising to 1.8 Gt CO2e at $20/t CO2e. Cumulative abatement between 2011 and 2020 was 9 billion Gt CO2e ($20/t CO2e). These volumes were lower, sometimes dramatically, at prices of $5/t CO2e suggesting a non-linear supply of credits in relation to price at a low payment level. For policy makers, the results suggest that inclusion of RED in a climate framework increases abatement potential, although significant constraints are imposed by political and technical issues. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.npr.org

There's a seductive idea, currently being road-tested, for how to stop the world's forests from disappearing. It relies on big food companies. That's because most forests are being cleared in order to grow crops or graze cattle. And the resulting palm oil, soybeans or beef find their way into foods being sold by a relatively small number of global companies. So here's the strategy: Get those companies to boycott products from deforested land, and much of the economic incentive to clear more forests will disappear. This should slow down or even stop the loss of forests. At first glance, the strategy looks like it's working marvelously. According to a new report from some leading environmental groups, 400 of the biggest global food companies have taken steps to make sure that at least some of their suppliers aren't responsible for deforestation. About 90 percent of those companies do buy raw materials from deforestation "hot spots" like Indonesia and Brazil. But there's a catch. In fact, there is a whole series of catches, according to the report. "We have this big problem," says Charlotte Streck, director of a group called Climate Focus and co-author of the new report. "We look at what the companies are doing, but we do not know how effective it is." For one thing, some companies are making promises that aren't firm commitments. "If a company only says, for example, 'We procure certified palm oil if it is available,' but doesn't help the producers make that supply available, then it is a relatively easy way out," says Streck. According to the report, companies should instead provide farmers with financial and technical support to help them transition into growing those crops in a more sustainable way. A bigger problem, though, is that the companies making these pledges are mostly retailers and food manufacturers, and those companies don't know what's happening at the other end of the supply chain, on the farm. Very few big food companies can trace their palm oil back to particular plots of land. They just know which mill processed the palm fruit into oil. So they have to rely on others, such as organizations that put their stamp of approval on particular suppliers, to verify that a particular shipment of palm oil came from land that hadn't been cleared of trees recently. What's more, they know even less about the origin of their soybeans or beef. "In the lifetime of [a] Brazilian cow, it goes through many owners and many farms, and it is almost impossible to check on all the farms, that they are not associated with deforestation," Streck says. Finally, it's hard to know whether the companies that have pledged to shun deforestation actually control a big enough share of the market to make a difference. Companies with headquarters in Europe or North America account for about 90 percent of the corporate anti-deforestation commitments. Those companies are major players in the palm oil trade, but not in beef production in the deforestation hot spots of Brazil. "Most of the beef in Latin America — about 80 percent — is eaten in Latin America," Streck says. "So that means that the consumer pressure in Europe and North America has limited effect." That's a particular problem because beef is "by far the largest driver of deforestation,' she says. "The carbon footprint of beef related to deforestation is about nine times bigger than palm oil." In all, scientists estimate that deforestation is responsible for about 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. According to Streck, that's more than all the cars, ships, and airplanes on Earth. Instead of tracing commodities from consumer back to supplier, some environmental watchdogs are starting at the other end of the supply chain, in the deforestation hot spots themselves. The World Resources Institute has set up a project called Global Forest Watch. It has created a database of palm oil mills around the world, and it's analyzing satellite images to measure deforestation within 50 km (about 31 miles) of each mill. The group can flag any mills located amid disappearing forests, and companies can check whether they are buying oil from that location. Despite all these shortcomings, though, Streck thinks that food companies will make a difference. "I do not think that an individual company, even a big one, has the power to reduce deforestation," she says, "but i do think that there is a critical mass [of companies making deforestation pledges], and that matters."


News Article | November 3, 2016
Site: www.npr.org

There's a seductive idea, currently being road-tested, for how to stop the world's forests from disappearing. It relies on big food companies. That's because most forests are being cleared in order to grow crops or graze cattle. And the resulting palm oil, soybeans or beef find their way into foods being sold by a relatively small number of global companies. So here's the strategy: Get those companies to boycott products from deforested land, and much of the economic incentive to clear more forests will disappear. This should slow down or even stop the loss of forests. At first glance, the strategy looks like it's working marvelously. According to a new report from some leading environmental groups, 400 of the biggest global food companies have taken steps to make sure that at least some of their suppliers aren't responsible for deforestation. About 90 percent of those companies do buy raw materials from deforestation "hot spots" like Indonesia and Brazil. But there's a catch. In fact, there is a whole series of catches, according to the report. "We have this big problem," says Charlotte Streck, director of a group called Climate Focus and co-author of the new report. "We look at what the companies are doing, but we do not know how effective it is." For one thing, some companies are making promises that aren't firm commitments. "If a company only says, for example, 'We procure certified palm oil if it is available,' but doesn't help the producers make that supply available, then it is a relatively easy way out," says Streck. According to the report, companies should instead provide farmers with financial and technical support to help them transition into growing those crops in a more sustainable way. A bigger problem, though, is that the companies making these pledges are mostly retailers and food manufacturers, and those companies don't know what's happening at the other end of the supply chain, on the farm. Very few big food companies can trace their palm oil back to particular plots of land. They just know which mill processed the palm fruit into oil. So they have to rely on others, such as organizations that put their stamp of approval on particular suppliers, to verify that a particular shipment of palm oil came from land that hadn't been cleared of trees recently. What's more, they know even less about the origin of their soybeans or beef. "In the lifetime of [a] Brazilian cow, it goes through many owners and many farms, and it is almost impossible to check on all the farms, that they are not associated with deforestation," Streck says. Finally, it's hard to know whether the companies that have pledged to shun deforestation actually control a big enough share of the market to make a difference. Companies with headquarters in Europe or North America account for about 90 percent of the corporate anti-deforestation commitments. Those companies are major players in the palm oil trade, but not in beef production in the deforestation hot spots of Brazil. "Most of the beef in Latin America — about 80 percent — is eaten in Latin America," Streck says. "So that means that the consumer pressure in Europe and North America has limited effect." That's a particular problem because beef is "by far the largest driver of deforestation,' she says. "The carbon footprint of beef related to deforestation is about nine times bigger than palm oil." In all, scientists estimate that deforestation is responsible for about 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. According to Streck, that's more than all the cars, ships, and airplanes on Earth. Instead of tracing commodities from consumer back to supplier, some environmental watchdogs are starting at the other end of the supply chain, in the deforestation hot spots themselves. The World Resources Institute has set up a project called Global Forest Watch. It has created a database of palm oil mills around the world, and it's analyzing satellite images to measure deforestation within 50 km (about 31 miles) of each mill. The group can flag any mills located amid disappearing forests, and companies can check whether they are buying oil from that location. Despite all these shortcomings, though, Streck thinks that food companies will make a difference. "I do not think that an individual company, even a big one, has the power to reduce deforestation," she says, "but i do think that there is a critical mass [of companies making deforestation pledges], and that matters."

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