What are the top environmental and development issues that will shape 2012? This morning, I presented the World Resources Institute’s 9th annual “Stories to Watch” at the National Press Club. While we can’t predict the future, here’s a rundown of the key issues to keep an eye on:
Jennifer Morgan, Edward Cameron, and our team of climate experts look back on the key decisions from Durban and give a first take on their implications for global efforts to tackle climate change.
A clear expression of political will, backed by a set of effective policy measures, has been key to China’s success in building the world’s largest wind power market.
Innovation can close the gap between the low-carbon technologies of today and the low-cost, high performance technologies the world needs.
In the United States, there is a heated debate about how much government should support renewable energy innovation. While you won’t find anyone who says they don’t value ‘innovation’, the U.S. federal investment in energy innovation across both fossil and renewable technology is still anemic, badly trailing China and only about one third of the amount recommended by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. That’s unfortunate, because there are compelling reasons to accelerate innovation in the energy sector, and specifically in renewable energy.
Through the Open Climate Network, Idasa and partner organizations are examining the legal and institutional framework for key policies that will influence South Africa’s progress towards meeting its global climate change commitments. One such policy is the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT), drafted in 2009 to help South Africa increase the amount of electricity generated by renewable sources to 10,000 GWh by 2013.
During Climate Week 2011, business, government, non-profit, and civil society leaders from around the world are convening in New York City to drive a ‘clean energy revolution’. Not surprisingly, innovation in clean technologies is a common theme among many of the events.
The case of the solar company Solyndra has been getting widespread attention, but much of the current discussion misses the point. While some would like to portray the collapse of this company as the downfall of the U.S. solar industry, the larger picture tells a very different story.
While the potential role of ‘green jobs’ is hotly debated, many participants in this debate are talking past one another – starting from different assumptions and definitions, working from different datasets, or hailing from opposite ideological viewpoints on the “true” costs of unmitigated greenhouse gas emissions. A review of the literature provides evidence that clean energy policies and investments can help create job opportunities and competitive gains for the economy. These findings should heighten the demand for policies and investments that hasten a shift to a low-carbon economy and the creation of more clean-energy jobs.
In these turbulent economic times, leaders around the world are looking to strengthen their economies and create jobs. They are grappling with how to effectively capitalize on the green economy to drive growth. In a new WRI working paper, we look at ways that policymakers can create new green jobs through investments in innovation to meet our challenges in the power sector.
The Open Climate Network (OCN) is developing a set of climate policy tracking and assessment tools that will help people raise the right questions about climate-related policy design and implementation in their countries.
New Ventures India, part of WRI’s center for environmental entrepreneurship, and CDF-IFMR convened a workshop in Mumbai earlier this summer to address the barriers to the clean energy industry serving India’s rural poor. Representatives from every major clean energy company in India joined senior executives from corporations with rural marketing and distribution expertise, representatives from Indian regulatory bodies, and end-user consumer financing experts at the event.
Recent studies suggest that the United States can greatly expand its deployment of renewable energy resources beyond current levels. This would reduce emissions of harmful pollutants and enhance energy security by diversifying the nation’s domestic energy supply.
Germany has taken some fundamental energy decisions in recent months, ones that are interesting for other countries to study and learn from. The most "famous" decision recently has been to phase out nuclear power in the next ten years. This move builds on years of debate and a societal decision after Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident to move away from nuclear energy.
As the United States sorts out its next moves on energy policies to enhance long-term security and strengthen its economy, policymakers will need to weigh both benefits and risks of various energy sources. Looking at what other countries are doing is a good place to start. European countries’ recent moves have one thing in common: each is moving to cleaner energy sources and greater energy efficiency.
The global energy system is undergoing a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. There are clear signs that the pace of change is accelerating. 2009 was the second year in a row that more money was invested worldwide in renewable electricity generation projects than in fossil fuel-powered plants, according to data published by the United Nations.
Jennifer Morgan delivered the following speech on June 24, 2011 at the closing plenary of the 6th Annual Asian Clean Energy Forum in Manila, Philippines.
At this week’s Asia Clean Energy Forum, policymakers, private sector firms, and non-governmental organizations will discuss how Asian countries can transform their power sectors while meeting development needs.
As feed-in tariffs gain traction as a policy mechanism of choice, we must keep in mind the bigger picture of the financial health of developing country electricity sectors.
Renewable energy has the potential to transform Asian society, but only if its leaders can take it to the next level.