On Friday, Ontario signed an agreement with California to enter its joint carbon cap and trade market with Quebec, from 1st January 2018.

The agreement will allow the three states to use carbon allowances issued by any of the participant Governments interchangeably, and to hold joint carbon auctions.

The initiative is expected to increase liquidity, meaning that it will be easier for participants to find a trading partner to purchase or sell carbon allowances.

It will also provide access to lower cost reduction opportunities, which will lower the cost of compliance for the companies in all three states.

California has already been holding joint cap-and-trade auctions with Quebec since 2014, and Ontario’s integration is being planned for months.

Ontario has been running its own cap-and-trade since January 2017, and has already completed three sold out auctions in a row.

When Ontario launched the first auction in March 2017, it revealed that it expected that the programme could raise $1.9 billion per year.

The money raised from the cap-and-trade programme will be invested in projects that reduce carbon emissions, such as home and business energy efficiency retrofits and public transit.

Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Premier said: “I think we cannot really overstate how important it is that we, as large jurisdictions, play a leadership role and that, as we move forward, we work to bring other jurisdictions with us”.

In December 2016, the Canadian Federal Government issued the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which requires all jurisdictions to have a carbon pricing in effect by 2018, whether it is through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

According to Canadian media, Nova Scotia plans to introduce legislation for a cap-and-trade system during this autumn and the rest of the provinces are considering their options.

Philippe Couillard, Quebec Premier said on Friday: “We have joined this carbon market because we believe that this is the best plan, that it is the cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that it is the best way to do that”.

Jerry Brown, California Governor underlined once again the importance of climate action from subnational governments.

He said: “Currently we are not following a climate agenda in Washington and at the highest levels in America, but at the grassroots, at the state level there is a very powerful movement growing by the day to take the steps necessary to make sure that our planet, that our organized civilization endures, and not only endures, but prospers because we align ourselves with nature”.

Ontario’s Opposition Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown has stated that if he wins the next elections, he will dismantle the cap-and-trade programme, and he will introduce carbon taxes instead.

He said: “The cap-and-trade scheme makes Ontario less competitive and if it was really about the environment it would not be a revenue tool for government”.

The carbon tax initiative would be carbon neutral by providing rebates of some combination of income tax, sales tax, or small business taxes.

Kathleen Wynne answered that carbon taxes would cost families four times the cost for the cap-and-trade programme.

You can access the full agreement here

Read more: Ontario entered California’s and Quebec’s joint...

During a news conference held on Sunday, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) in collaboration with Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced a series of new incentives to spark the growth of electric mobility around the emirate.  

The new incentive scheme was announced straight by DEWA Chief Executive Saeed Al Tayer, who aspires to encourage a rise in sales of EVs by two per cent by 2020 and by 10 per cent by 2030,-  which means that the emirate aims to have 32,000 electric cars by 2020 and 42,000 by 2030.

Drivers who decide to replace their traditional fossil fuel powered vehicles with electric ones will be able to charge their vehicles free of charge in DEWA’s Green Charger charging stations until the end of 2019.

DEWA’s tariff for charging an e-vehicle at Green Chargers is 29 fils per kilowatt, meaning that EV drivers will allegedly achieve savings of Dh2,000 ($544) worth of fuel a month.

In addition, they will enjoy free designated for EVs parking in 40 locations across Dubai that are expected to be ready by the end of this year.

From now on, it will be mandatory for developers to include designated parking lots for electric vehicles for all upcoming buildings and it will also be mandatory to provide EV charging stations.

Incentives also include a series of exemptions from tolls and vehicle registration fees.

Electric car users will be exempted from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees, and will receive a free Salik tag upon registration- the Salik tag is an automatic road toll collection system.

Saeed Al Tayer also mentioned that DEWA had installed 100 charging stations by 2015 and aims to add another 100 by the end of 2018.

He said: “I am sure now that government and private entities, or even individuals will shift to electric vehicles when they know how much they can save”.

Users will be able to download DEWA's smart app to locate Green Chargers across the city, which will indicate empty and busy charging points in shopping malls and public areas.

As reported by Khaleej Times, people reacted to the announcement by arguing that the price incentive will not be a catalyst, as petrol price is at low levels.

On the contrary, convenience will play an important role, as lack of parking spaces and long queues drivers spend on refuelling stations are serious issues for everyday commuters in Dubai. 

DEWA is sponsoring the 8th Sustainable Innovation Forum, the largest public to private forum to take place alongside COP23, on the 13th & 14th November in Bonn. His Excellency Saeed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA will be delivering a keynote address at the Forum. To find out more and register, click here

Read more: Dubai announced incentives to boost electric...

The Executive Director of UN Environment, Erik Solheim, argued that costs from environmental degradation should be incorporated in the polluter companies’ accounts, and not transferred to consumers as extra costs.

Erik Solheim addressed the issue when he appeared on the International Conference on Sustainable Development at Columbia University on Monday.

He said: “The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized”.

“That cannot continue. Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay the cost for that destruction or that pollution”.

Although a ‘decoupling’ of economic development and environmental degradation is already happening in many countries, the World Health Organization has recently linked 25 percent of all deaths to pollution, which leads to cancer, heart attacks and respiratory problems.

As reported by EcoWatch, the Guardian had recently published an opinion article from Peter C. Frumhoff, Director of Science and Policy and climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) and Myles Allen, professor of Geosystem Science at the University of Oxford, addressing the same issue.

They argue that oil companies, which allegedly knew about the effects that the over combustion of fossil fuels would have on the greenhouse effect, should bear the cost of damages caused by extreme weather events and sea rising levels.

The two scientists had said: “Using a simple, well-established climate model, our study for the first time quantifies the amount of sea level rise and increase in global surface temperatures that can be traced to the emissions from specific fossil fuel companies”.

“Strikingly, nearly 30 per cent of the rise in global sea level between 1880 and 2010 resulted from emissions traced to the 90 largest carbon producers”.

“More than 6 percent of the rise in global sea level resulted from emissions traced to ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP, the three largest contributors”.

Mr. Solheim also mentioned the role that businesses must play by creating new technologies to address environmental degradation and climate change problems.

China and India were pointed out as great examples, highlighting the progress that has been made in the energy and transportation sectors while boosting their local economies.

He added: “Change is happening”.

“Economic-wise, we are on the right track, but we need to speed up because the challenge is so big”. 

Eric Solheim will be speaking during the Sustainable Innovation Forum in the Scaling Finance for Climate Commitments: Unlocking private capital to scale up sustainable solutions panel. For more information and to register, click here

Read more: UN Environment Chief calls for polluters to pay...

During a special event held at the UN Headquarters in New York in the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the UN Secretary General António Guterres underlined the role that the UN should play during the transformation of the global financial system, if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be met.

The UN General Secretary spoke at the Financing the 2030 Agenda: The Role of the United Nations event calling the current finance system “unproductive and unrewarding”.

 “The choices we make on finance will be critical”.

He added: “We can choose to bemoan the lack of financing for the 2030 Agenda in a world awash with so much unproductive and unrewarding finance. Or we can grasp the opportunity to reshape finance, according to our urgent, collective needs”.

“The choice is clear. Let us invest in the 2030 Agenda and finance a better world for all”.

Mr Guterres stated that the current financial system, which manages around $300 trillion in financial assets is not fit for purpose, recalling the importance of being innovative in leveraging resources and financing for development.

Although the UN has always been engaged in developing a green financing agenda, Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General questioned whether the largest international organisation was doing enough, “and the answer is no”, she said.

The Secretary General announced that the UN strategy to push the global financial system to change comprises three parts.

Firstly, he pledged to lead the UN efforts to ensure that the objectives of the 2030 Agenda are fully integrated in international economic and financial policies, by working closely with intergovernmental bodies such as G20.

Secondly, he pledged to reform the UN development system and strengthen its country teams, and thirdly he will champion the key international initiatives that will be able to harness large-scale changes in financing and financial system development.

Some examples that he mentioned was tax reform initiatives by developing countries themselves, but also efforts from the international community to fight tax evasion and money laundering.

He also mentioned that the worlds’ savings should be directed into the financing of 2030 Agenda to generate inclusive and sustainable growth, instead of earning low or negative financial returns.

You can read his full speech here

Read more: UN Secretary General to help reshape the global...

Evian, a subsidiary of Danone, introduced its first carbon-neutral bottling facility as part of the company’s plans to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2020.

Located in Evian-les-Bains, the state-of-the-art bottling plant is fully powered by renewable energy sources, including hydropower, and is certified carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s owner said that the company is spent $336 million on the project.

He explained that the project was realised by working closely with all local stakeholders in its natural water cycle upstream, its labour pool and its logistics network downstream.

The new production line of the site will be producing 72,000 bottles per hour, all of which will be 100 percent recyclable.

In an interview  with TriplePundit Véronique Penchienati, President of Evian said: “We will be the first brand in Danone to be carbon neutral, so we are a pilot in this adventure”.

She added: “This is only the first step, but it is a very important one. It creates pride among our employees, partners and customers, and it motivates us to go even further to reach our 2020 objective”.

Regarding the 100 per cent neutrality target she commented: “To meet our goal, we need to increase all of our efforts and work through the entire lifecycle of our product and our bottle — from conception, to production, to shipping and to the end of life”.

The company also aims at offsetting carbon emission caused by the transportation of Evian across the world by expanding rail transport and by promoting biogas.

Danone is switching from roads to rails, operating its own private terminal with trains departing every four hours.

Approximately 60 per cent of the site’s production is shipped by train, and the company aims to increase that to 90 per cent, which is claimed to reduce emissions by 75 per cent.  

The company is also working with farmers in the region of Evian to collect waste for biogas energy.

The announcement from the company triggered criticism that packaging water from the French Alps and transporting it around the world causes unnecessary environmental damage.

In a phone interview with The Star Mr Faber commented: “I’m aware, and more and more consumers are aware, that transporting water is not ideally what you’d like to do”.

“If you want to build a model that’s sustainable, you need to deal with this reality.”

Mathis Wackernagel, CEO of Global Footprint Network, an Oakland, California-based think tank, argued that Danone’s move will put pressure on other water brands to follow, but still questioned the initiative.

“Often it is environmentally absurd to sell bottled water when tap water is cheaper, better, and far less energy-intensive”.

Mrs Penchienati commented: “We believe that we have a role to play in promoting healthy hydration everywhere, but we need to do it in a responsible way. That’s why we’re doing all of this, because we are aware of the impact that we have”. 

Read more: Evian inaugurated its first carbon neutral...

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation announced on Tuesday that it awarded its largest-ever portfolio of environmental grants of $20 million to more than 100 organisations all over the world aimed, among others, to support wildfire and habitat conservation projects, to aid the defence of indigenous rights, and to back grassroots efforts at combating climate change.

Founder and Chairman of LDF Leonardo DiCaprio presented the initiative during a climate change conference at Yale University, which was hosted by former Secretary of State John Kerry’s ‘Kerry Initiative’.

He said: “We are proud to support the work of over 100 organizations at home and abroad”.

“These grantees are active on the ground, protecting our oceans, forests and endangered species for future generations – and tackling the urgent, existential challenges of climate change”.

$1,436,750 was awarded to the California Programme, to help local efforts across the State of California to make the transition to fully sustainable food, energy and infrastructure.

LDF’s Climate Programme received $3,573,562 to projects contributing to the vision of 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 and to projects protecting ecosystems.

The Wildfire and Landscape Conservation Programme received $6,360,000 for the protection of endangered wildfire by enabling cutting-edge conservation and restoration projects.

Marine Life & Oceans Programme received $3,756,000, and the Indigenous Rights Program received $796,500.

The Innovation, Media & Technology Programme comprises three distinct portfolios and received $4,077,568 in total.

The Innovation portfolio comprises grants for scientists, think tanks and NGO’s to support the development of a new data-driven research.

The Media portfolio will fund environmental journalism and climate change communication efforts, and the Technology portfolio will support cutting-edge technology.

Leonardo DiCaprio went on to address the urgent action that is needed to drive the large-scale, global shift from fossil fuels reliance, to a world that celebrates the power of renewable energy.

"There exist today many proven technologies in renewable energy, clean transportation, and sustainable agriculture that we can begin to build a brighter future for all of us".

“Our challenge is to find new ways to power our lives, employ millions of people and turn every individual into an advocate for clean air and drinkable water. We must demand that politicians accept climate science and make bold commitments before it is too late”.

Terry Tamminen, CEO of LDF commented: “This round of grants comes at a critical time. With a lack of political leadership and continued evidence that climate change is growing worse with record-breaking heatwaves and storms, we believe we need to do as much as we can now, before it is too late”.

After this last round of awarded grants, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has given in total $80 million since 1998.

You can read the full press release along with some highlighting projects from each programme here

Read more: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation awarded $20 million...

According to a research conducted by Reuters in the city of Higashi Matsushima, a ‘silent’ revolution has been happening in Japan in the wake of the 2011 fatal earthquake and tsunami, with more and more municipalities setting up distributed energy systems to reduce reliance on the main grid, and secure electricity supply during natural disasters.

The city of Higashi Matsushima is a northern Japanese city, which was highly affected by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, - the city suffered the loss of 1,100 and nearly 75 percent of the city’s homes were gone.

After the disaster, the Japanese Government set up the “National Resilience Program”, which would fund the reconstruction of the cities affected by the disaster and would focus on building back-up capabilities in the event of another natural disaster, with an initial amount of $33.32 billion.

Higashi Matsushima took advantage of the available funding to build micro-grids and de-centralised renewable energy generation facilities to reduce its dependency on the national grid by producing approximately 25 percent of its electricity needs.

Yusuke Atsumi, a Manager at HOPE, - the utility that Higashi Matsushima created to manage the local generation facilities and the grid, said: “At the time of the Great East Japan earthquake, we couldn’t secure power and had to go through incredible hardships”.

The disaster shed light to the fact that under a large-scale power system a blackout in one area leads to power outages all over the country, and informally, the National Resilience Program sparked the creation of distributed energy systems to reduce municipalities’ dependence on large power plants.

The distributed energy systems usually use small-scale power generation fuelled by natural gas and/or solar and wind arrays and they use the internet to connect appliances and meters to better direct electric power depending on the needs.

Higashi Matsushima’s system is comprised of an independent transmission grid, solar generating panels and batteries that can secure enough electricity to power the city for three days.

Andrew Dewit, a Professor of Energy Policy at Rikkyo University in Tokyo commented: “Since Fukushima, there has been a gradual elaboration of policies to realize that kind of local autonomy, local consumption paradigm”.

The whole ‘autonomous’ electricity grids idea was conceived and designed by Takao Kashiwagi, a Professor at the International Research Centre for Advanced Energy Systems for Sustainability at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Takao Kashiwagi said: “We are moving towards a day when we won’t be building large-scale power plants. Instead, we will have distributed power systems, where small power supply systems are in place near the consumption areas”.

Reuters indicate that it constitutes a ‘quite energy revolution’, and that companies are shifting their focus in response to this demand.

Sekisui House constructed Higashi Matsushima’s smart micro-grid for 85 housing units in 2016.

Taisei Corp, one of Japan’s biggest construction companies, established an energy strategy division during 2017 to take advantage of the hype of smart energy systems, and is expecting to double energy-related orders over the next five years focusing on renewables, energy efficient buildings and off-grid communities.

Japan’s cabinet office announced last month that the country’s ministries were seeking to raise the budget for the Program by an extra 24 percent for the fiscal year starting in April 2018. 

Read more: Japanese cities move towards distributed energy...

On Tuesday 19 September, Climate Action, in official partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative, held the second Sustainable Investment Forum 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square in New York during Climate Week NYC.

Chaired by Ed Crooks, US Industry and Energy Editor at the Financial Times, the conference started with a keynote address from Howard Bamsey, the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund. Mr Bamsey outlined the importance of dealing with the impact of climate change as well as reducing GHG emissions. The Envoy of the Governor of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo, Rosa Elena Lozano Vázquez also addressed the audience, and emphasized the dramatic impact of climate change and adverse weather on the state.

Rosa Elena Lozano Vázquez also said: “It's time to recognize that climate change is an economic phenomenon with environmental and social impacts.”

The morning of the Forum saw three panel sessions discussing the necessary leadership from the private sector and regional and city governments, as well as ways, to accelerate investment in low carbon innovation. The California State Controller Betty Yee took part in the opening plenary. As Board Member of CALPERS AND CALSTRS, she emphasized both of the pension funds’ interest in what the businesses they are investing in are doing to address climate risks, and more and more large US firms are taking climate change seriously.

Benoit Potier, CEO of Air Liquide and Chair of the Hydrogen Council said: “The Paris Agreement has generated an acceleration of the need to invest into solutions. Hydrogen, as a systemic solution for the energy transition, is a part of this.”

He added: “We are reaching the point when customers will select you when you have the best sustainable strategy.”

Philippe Desfossés, CEO of the French pension fund Retraite Additionnelle de la Fonction Publique (ERAFP), Kerry Adler, CEO of energy firm Skypower, Frédéric Samama from Amundi and high level state representatives from Oregon, US, Alberta Canada and South Australia took part in the other morning plenaries and discussed how investment processes need to evolve towards more sustainable practices. Mindy Lubber, CEO of Ceres, said that “climate risks are just risks” and therefore all investors need to take them into account, and Lance Pierce from CDP added that focusing on risk helps understand opportunity. Ms Lubber added that three things that are needed going forward are: a price on carbon, better disclosure and changing investment patterns.

Tom Steyer, in his morning speech, said that investing in ESG will bring more returns on the long term, reminding the audience that the oil and gas sector has underperformed the S&P500 for 5 years. Laszlo Giricz also announced the launch of the new venture Poseidon Foundation, which will help develop efficient and secure carbon markets thanks to Blockchain.

The afternoon of the Forum was split in two parallel streams, with sessions addressing both how to use traditional finance to shift investment and disruptive finance with blockchain, as well as more advanced low carbon sectors and how to transform the energy sector, and sectors that still need to get up to speed such as sustainable agriculture and landscape management. Blended finance, new low carbon technologies and initiatives were discussed by speakers from NY Green Bank, the city government of Oslo, Poseidon Foundation, Third Way, GE Ventures, YES Bank and many others.

The Forum ended on a high-level panel discussion between NYS Comptroller DiNapoli, the CEOs of Royal DSM and Swedish insurance firm Länsförsäkringar, and senior representatives from CDP and Citigroup on aligning capital flows with the Paris Agreement.

Ann Sommer, CEO of Länsförsäkringar, said: “There is a lot to gain, but there is also so much to lose if we don't act now.”

CEO of DSM, Feike Sijbesma also said: “Let's keep the momentum from the Paris Agreement and keep tackling climate change.”

The event was made possible thanks to the close partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative, and the great support of Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FI. Climate Action also worked closely with its event sponsors. Platinum and gold sponsors were: Poseidon Foundation, which was launched at the Forum, the State of Quintana Roo in Mexico, Amundi Pioneer, the Hydrogen Council, UBS, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas and SkyPower.

Climate Action has also announced the launch of the new Sustainable Investment Forum Europe, which will be held on 13 March 2018 in Paris. The event will be focusing on specific European challenges and topics. The New York event will be held again next year for its third edition, alongside Climate Week NYC and the UN General Assembly.

Read more: Public and private finance leaders discussed low...

The Denmark-inspired ‘Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030’ (P4G), a new global climate alliance aiming to become a new engine to drive green growth, was launched on Wednesday in the UN Headquarters.

P4G aims to create a space for innovative partnerships between businesses, leaders from the governmental and local authorities, financial actors and representatives from the civil society.

The core aspirations of the new alliance are to develop powerful solutions that contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement.   

Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark said: “To accelerate progress and deliver concrete results on the SDGs, it is paramount that governments and cities join hands with the private sector through innovative public-private partnerships.”

“Sustainable development is a universal task that requires action from all of us in concert”.

Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile commented: “Achieving the ambitious goals outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals can only be possible by working together at scale - globally, regionally, and nationally - and jointly between the public and private sectors”.

According to the official press release, countries that have signed on the lead P4G include Chile, Denmark, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico and Vietnam.

The alliance will make use of the available knowledge to identify and scale up tangible solutions that will promote new models of economic development.

According to the Business and Sustainable Development, moving towards this pathway could create at least $12 trillion in some sectors alone.

It could also create 380 million jobs by 2030, with almost 90 percent of which located in developing countries fostering economic growths to the countries that mostly need it.

P4G will comprise three pivotal elements to achieve its goals, - partnerships, summits and knowledge through rigorous evidence and accountability.

Partners will engage with sub-national, national and international leaders to offer technical support and financial assistance to facilitate the transformation process.

The Danish Government will provide $4 million each year for financial support to incubate and scale strategies of P4G partnerships.

It is expected that more funds will collaborate will the alliance, such as the SDG Investment Fund that will be established in January 2018 by the Danish Government and ensure at least $5 billion in total investments.

Some examples of the types of partnership P4G will aim to support are the ones addressing topics such as livable cities through increasing demand of sustainable and affordable housing solutions, health-related initiatives and the promotion of circular economy initiatives, water leakages management et al.

Andrew Steer, President and CEO of World Resources Institute said: “It is profoundly encouraging to see this group of leading nations and companies driving forward new economic models that will benefit the economy, citizens and the environment”.

“P4G can be a catalyst for dynamic collaborations that will speed, scale and track this progress toward a more inclusive and robust form of global development”.

Read more on the new global alliance here

Read more: New climate alliance ‘Partnering for Green...

Global Market Insights published its new report on global trends on Pumped Hydro Storage and revealed that by 2024, the total global market will exceed £350 billion in investment and 200GW in installed capacity.

The report analysed the Pumped Hydro Storage technology by region and by system, - open loop, closed loop and new technologies, taking into account major market actors, policies, and announced projects.

The report identifies different market forces for each region.

In North America, the two main market forces are increasing demand for grid storage technologies and growing demand for a more sustainable energy mix.

In Europe, the market is favoured by supporting government policies for storage, while regulations against emissions are becoming more and more stringent.

The drivers follow a different narrative in the Asia Pacific region, where the two main driving forces are the significant increase in future energy demand and energy security and reliability of power supply.

Due to lack of efficient monitoring system frequent supply outages being a common phenomenon in developing countries.

Internationally, the expansion of microgrids that followed the development of distributed energy systems will also make pumped hydro storage look more attractive.

Open loop systems account for over 90 percent of pumped hydro storage systems globally, and the ease of compatibility with a hydroelectric plant coupled with the availability of a free-flowing water source will keep favouring the technology.

Closed loop pumped hydro storage market will reach approximately 16 billion by 2024, with low impact on aquatic habitat along with technological advancements in turbine and generator design sparking the technology’s growth.

The report also analyses some distinguished industry players of the pumped hydro storage industry, such as SinoHydro, Eskom, Toshiba, EDF, Alstrom, Schluchseewerk AG, Snowdonia, Absaroka et al.

You can download the full report here

Read more: Pumped Hydro Storage to surpass $350 billion in...

The Environmental Defence Fund (EDF) published a report establishing a framework to support state and local governments to catalyse private investment towards sustainable infrastructure that can help mitigate the effects of extreme weather events.

The report is called ‘Investment Design Framework’, and is part of a larger report which is called ‘Unlocking Private Capital to Finance Sustainable Infrastructure’, that indicates an innovative roadmap that facilitates private-public partnerships to fill critical public funding gaps.

Namrita Kapur, Managing Director of EDF + Business and Head of EDF’s Sustainable Finance programme said: “Hurricanes Harvey and Irma just wiped out an estimated $200 billion of economic value and caused widespread devastation – an alarming wake-up call for governments to invest in sustainable infrastructure now to help protect communities from the impacts of future storms”.

“This new report highlights the economic benefits of investing in sustainable infrastructure and gives governments a how-to guide for getting started”.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, it is estimated that a $3.3 trillion will be needed by 2025 to upgrade or repair existing infrastructure and avoid future negative economic impacts.

However, there is currently a funding gap of $1.4 trillion for this goal to be met, and by 2040 it is expected that the funding gap will reach $5 trillion.

The report, produced by Meister Consultants Group for EDF, highlights the benefits incorporating natural infrastructure approaches in coordination with more traditional structures or systems such as seawalls or levees.

Natural or green infrastructure approaches can incorporate elements such as sand dunes, wetlands, salt marshes, or permeable pavements that can help regulate floods, control stormwater runoff, increase coastal resilience, and reduce erosion.

To address the funding gap, the report draws from best practices across the world and innovative methods to attract financial resources for sustainable infrastructure projects.

Some methods include green bonds, pay for success models used in environmental impact bonds and public-private partnerships focused on sustainable outcomes.

For example, the DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) is used as a case study as it uses the US’s first issued Environmental Impact Bond.

The in-depth research identified four key elements to put forward the creation of projects attractive for private capital.

Firstly, robust funding models should include stable revenue streams, meaning that the social and environmental values should be properly monetised.

Secondly, there must be consistent and comparable performance metrics measurement to increase the project’s value.

Risk management is the third key element since quantifying, mitigating and distributing risks is critical for attracting private investment.

The last element is effective stakeholder engagement, underlying that the right stakeholders with innovative expertise increase the likelihood of success.

Alfred Griffin, President of the New York Green Bank said: “This report offers practical suggestions for unlocking private sources of capital to increase the sustainability and resilience of our country’s infrastructure and leverage critical - but scarce - public dollars”. 

You can access the full Unlocking Private Capital to Finance Sustainable Infrastructure here

You can access the Introduction to the Investment Design Framework here

You can read the Executive Summary of the report here

Read more: New report addresses the $1.4 trillion gap in...

During a meeting with a delegation of Senior Executives of the World Bank, the Government of Nicaragua announced that it will sign the Paris Agreement in an act of solidarity to the countries that are most valuable to climate change.

President Daniel Ortega said: "We will soon adhere; we will sign the Paris Agreement. We have already had meetings addressing the issue and we have already programmed the adhesion of Nicaragua and the signing of the Country Agreement”.

“We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas”.

Nicaragua and Syria were the only two states that had not signed the Paris Agreement in November 2015.

However, the reasons that the country had not signed the climate accord were not because it did not believe in climate action, but because it considered the accord unfair.

During the negotiations of COP21, Nicaragua insisted that developed countries were not doing enough towards climate change mitigation efforts, stating that the developed world should adopt stricter measures in terms of reducing fossil fuel consumption.

Paul Oquist, the Head of the Nicaraguan delegation to COP21, had also underlined that developed countries were not offering enough funding to help the developing world deploy adaptation measures, while also saying that the agreement was too weak, and that voluntary commitments will not work.

Jose Adan Aguerri, President of the Superior Council for Private Business, saluted the announcement by tweeting that it is the right decision for the Government to sign the Paris Agreement and join the global effort of the fight against climate change.

According to the latest statistics, Nicaragua produces more than 50 percent of its electricity needs from renewables.

The country has already set ambitious goals to reduce 90 percent of its power needs with clean energy by 2020, and is expected to announce its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) soon. 

Read more: Nicaragua to sign the Paris Agreement

US Governors are reported to have a more visible than usual activity during this year’s United Nations General Assembly, taking place this week in New York City, aiming to persuade the international community that States will keep their commitment to the Paris goals.

Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, held a meeting on Sunday with state leaders from Europe, Brazil and Small-Islands States on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The New York Times reports that he also met with António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary General, to discuss the future of the Paris Agreement.

Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington, will meet with Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji, which holds the presidency of COP23 this year.

Analysts suggest that this is the first time that Governors have adopted such an active role on the UNGA, and it is expected to be a first test of whether Governors can actually persuade world leaders that US States might be able to replace, at least in part, action from the Federal Government.

Reportedly, Democratic State Governors are set to take increased responsibility and uptake a more visible role on the international climate talks, forming an informal negotiating team.

Governor Inslee aims to tell world leaders this week: “You have allies in the United States. You shouldn’t put your foot on the brake or even tap it just because we have a climate denier in the White House. You’re not alone”.

He also replied to comments that claimed that Governors represent a shadow diplomatic corps, saying: “I don’t think it’s a shadow”.

“We’re in the sunlight. We’re shining the bright light of success”.

Governor Brown said that since “we don’t have someone from Washington D.C., the States are picking up the baton”.

As reported by New York Times, Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina was expected to announce that North Carolina will join the fifteen states that have formed the United States Climate Alliance group, - states, cities and territories that have pledged to keep up with the Paris Agreement goals.

If North Carolina does join the movement, it will be a big announcement, as it constitutes one of the highest-emitting states.

According to the pledges made by the Obama administration, the US should reduce at least by 26 percent its emissions by 2025, with 2005 being the baseline year.

Thus, each Governor aims to set up individual policies aiming that goal.

David Ige, Governor of Hawaii said: “We certainly believe that if the federal government won’t lead in this area, we want the world to understand there are states across the country that are committed”.

On the opposite side, David G. Victor,p Professor of International Relations at the University of California, San Diego warned that “Unless their leadership is met with followership, the impact will be pretty limited”.

“The idea has always been that if these states can demonstrate the technologies needed to cut emissions, that will help shift the politics in other states. But we have yet to see that play out”.

In addition, Nicolas Loris, a Research Fellow in Energy and Environmental Policy at the Heritage Foundation, warned about the fact that Governors are speaking to the minority of Americans, as in 2015 half of US States were opposed to President’s Obama Clean Power Plan. 

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