Dear Friend of CPI,
Since my last update to you in May, all five Climate Policy Initiative offices have been busy at work with policymakers and industry experts, assessing a number of current climate and energy programs and policies. I have included some highlights below:
International Climate Finance
In mid-October, Climate Policy Initiative and the World Bank Group, in collaboration with China Light & Power and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, hosted the inaugural meeting of the San Giorgio Group, a new working group of key financial intermediaries and institutions actively engaged in green, low-emissions finance. By reviewing the current landscape of climate finance and examining cases studies focused on significant portfolios and projects, the Group was able to address a range of issues involved in putting together successful green investment projects. Moving forward, the Group will continue to explore ways to align public and private incentives, manage risks and coordinate different actors, and to scale-up climate finance and spend available resources more wisely.
In support of the San Giorgio Group’s efforts, as well as the development of the Green Climate Fund, CPI published its Landscape of Climate Finance study, which is the first to comprehensively map the magnitude and nature of international climate finance, i.e. the sources of finance, the intermediaries involved in its distribution, the role of financial instruments, and its end uses. Compiling data from a wide range of sources, our work suggests that at least USD 97 billion in climate finance is currently available annually. However, there are still many definitional uncertainties that make it difficult to assess whether the international community is close to meeting its commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing nations tackle climate change. Our research also finds that the total amount of private finance is almost three times greater than the total amount of public finance, highlighting the importance of capital investment for mitigation and adaptation activities. While there are many efforts underway to track and document elements of the climate finance landscape, our study shows that information is fragmented and definitions and methodologies vary, impeding a better understanding of what is needed to enhance the effectiveness of climate finance.
Impact of Policy on Renewable Energy Financing
Renewable energy continues to dominate policy discussions in many regions, including the U.S. and the E.U. where there is a strong interest in the impact of policy on the cost of energy. With a variety of tools at their disposal, policymakers are considering which ones have the greatest impact. Published in October, our case study analysis examines the effects of policy on project economics, as well as on the cost and availability of financing, for six renewable energy projects in the U.S. and Europe. The analysis shows that policy support was necessary to attract investors to the renewable projects studied and that the duration of revenue support and revenue certainty had the biggest impact on the cost of financing. During meetings in the U.S., London, and Brussels, policymakers indicated interest in further work on the efficiency of tax incentives and other financial instruments, the best methods for setting renewable energy targets, and the best methods for financing wind and nuclear energy in particular.
Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China
We have just published our second annual review of China’s low-carbon development efforts, in support of the NDRC’s and other Chinese government agencies’ efforts to meet energy and carbon intensity reduction goals. Our review found that during the 11th Five-Year Plan (FYP), technology upgrades accounted for 69% of energy intensity reductions during this period and changes in economic structure accounted for 23% of reductions. To meet its goals, China employed mainly administrative instruments, incentive instruments, and a new target accountability system, and it invested 2.6 trillion yuan (USD 399 billion) in clean energy and energy efficiency. Opportunities for the 12th FYP include deeper penetration of clean technologies, exploring additional market-based instruments, and extending support to small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, China may need to pay attention to increasing energy intensity in the West and Northeast, work with local governments to set more reasonable growth targets, and redirect increasingly energy-intensive consumer behavior.
Systems for Tracking and Evaluating Emissions and Mitigation Actions in China, the U.S., Germany, and Italy
With a number of domestic and international targets in place for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the importance of tracking and verifying those emissions has become readily apparent. Some countries have well-established systems to do so, while others are still developing their systems. In order to help nations learn from best practices, a global CPI team has begun to evaluate the systems currently in place in four countries —China, Italy, Germany, and the United States. We will soon publish our working paper, which represents the first stage of a broader CPI effort to characterize, evaluate, and draw insights from current domestic systems for tracking and evaluating emissions and mitigation actions.
Building Energy Efficiency
Buildings account for nearly 30% of global energy demand and CO₂ emissions, which has led policymakers to consider the best programs and policies for increasing efficiency and reducing energy use. In Germany, our team has been working closely with the Federal Environment, Transportation, and Buildings Ministries to evaluate policies related to the German Energy Concept. In addition to providing a general overview of the policies currently in place to reduce the energy requirement of buildings in Germany, the team has also closely reviewed the use of tax incentives, information tools, energy performance certificates, and other financial incentives. Our U.S. team has also recently published a study of the impact of state energy codes on the real energy consumption of residential buildings, finding that the codes work.
I hope you have had a productive 2011, and look forward to seeing many of you in the New Year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff.
Thomas C. Heller
Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative