Dear Friend of CPI,
Since my last update to you, our staff has been busy working on analytical projects to support policymakers and other decision-makers around the world. Here’s what’s new with CPI in 2012:
CONSOLIDATION OF EUROPEAN OPERATIONS
In early March, we consolidated our Venice and Berlin offices into a single European program and named Dr. Barbara Buchner as the director of CPI Europe. Formerly the director of CPI Venice, Dr. Buchner will lead CPI’s integrated work program in Europe with the support of our associate directors in Venice – Jane Wilkinson – and Berlin – Ingmar Jürgens. Dr. Karsten Neuhoff, who helped start CPI’s Berlin office and led it for two years, has left CPI but remains at work on climate policy issues at DIW. Our European offices will continue to focus on what works and what doesn’t in climate policy and will explore issues of international climate finance, power markets, energy efficiency, and others.
ENERGY, THE U.S. BUDGET, AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Much of the energy and climate policy discussion in the U.S. centers on whether and how much the U.S. should be spending on energy and climate-related programs. A new CPI San Francisco report analyzes the U.S. budget from 2010 to understand how federal spending and revenue collection might be influencing emissions. The report finds that annual energy-related spending in the U.S. is substantial – in the range of $290-610 billion. Most of this spending is for public investment that supports petroleum-based transportation, however, and very little focuses on reducing emissions. Total spending to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 was just $38 billion, less than 2% of federal spending.
DEFORESTATION IN THE LEGAL AMAZON
Between 2004 and 2009, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell dramatically from a peak of approximately 27,000 km² to about 7,000 km². A new study by CPI Rio de Janeiro explores whether this slowdown was due to economic circumstances or resulted from conservation policies introduced during that period. The study, which provides critical input for policymakers in the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment and in other Amazon countries, finds that approximately half of the deforestation that was avoided – nearly 62,000 km² of forest area or 620 million tons of stored CO2 – can be attributed to government conservation policies. Future work will explore the impact of specific policies during that period.
TRACKING EMISSIONS AND MITIGATION ACTIONS
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. Domestic systems to measure, report, and verify (MRV) GHG emissions and mitigation outcomes help countries meet their policy objectives and determine the effectiveness of their national policies. A new CPI report represents the first stage of a broader CPI effort to characterize, evaluate, and draw insights from existing domestic systems in four nations – China, Italy, Germany, and the United States. While the first report describes the systems in these countries, an upcoming CPI study will evaluate these MRV systems using common criteria.
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE FINANCE
As many of you know, last year CPI published its Landscape of Climate Finance report; in 2012, in addition to updating this work, we are working on a series of case studies that will explore the role of public funds in climate finance and their ability to catalyze private investment. We will also be seeking to identify and analyze specific financing mechanisms and practices that have the potential to be scalable and replicable in other regions and sectors.
Starting this spring, CPI will be offering webinars to share our principal work products and provide an opportunity to ask questions of our analysts. Our first webinars will cover 1) Deforestation in the Legal Amazon: Prices or Policies?, 2) The Landscape of International Climate Finance, and 3) The Impact of Policy on the Financing of Renewable Energy. If you would like to participate in any or all of these webinars, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
I hope that the year has gotten off to a good start for all of you. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or my staff.
Thomas C. Heller
Executive Director, Climate Policy Initiative