As billionaires gather in Davos, an announcement on some more detail of a key new program to cut emissions fails to mention that carbon credits will only be given to projects that would not have happened anyway.
This rule – that projects must be “additional” to win credits – has caused consternation in carbon trading circles because without it supply in CO2 markets might be too high.
Yet what is important is that projects get done now — get done urgently.
It’s still valuable to the climate, important for the world, that projects get done now.
Carbon market rules do need a fundamental rethink so they scale more quickly. The voluntary market as it exists is moving in the wrong direction.
I’m not saying the so-called ETA will definitely exclude additionality, but quite a few people I’ve spoken to can’t see how credits from renewable energy are “additional” because solar, wind, batteries are already the cheapest form of power generation in many parts of the world, according to a host of analysts and measures.
See this below: The ETA projects will be “High-integrity—Ensuring strong environmental integrity by offering payments only for GHG reductions that are based on and verified to a robust standard and by seeking strong alignment with best practices for the pursuit of global net zero GHGs, including for private sector net zero strategies and the use of carbon credits.”
The lack of carbon pricing (which only covers about 25% of the globe’s emissions) means consumers continue to choose cheaper, dirtier existing power generation. It’s a huge market failure.
(Updates to clarify additionality – comments to email@example.com)
U.S. State Department, Bezos Earth Fund, and The Rockefeller Foundation Announce Next Steps on Energy Transition Accelerator
ABU DHABI | January 15, 2023 – The U.S. Department of State, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bezos Earth Fund today announced next steps in developing the Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA), a joint initiative to catalyze private capital to accelerate the transition from dirty to clean power in developing countries.
The three partners introduced the broad outlines of the ETA at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in November in Sharm el-Sheikh with the aim of undertaking an inclusive process to fully design the initiative in the lead up to COP 28 this December in Dubai.
In a session today at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Bezos Earth Fund Chief Executive Officer Andrew Steer, and The Rockefeller Foundation Executive Vice President Elizabeth Yee announced a set of broad principles that will guide the ETA, the formation of a High-Level Consultative Group to provide input informing its development, and a core team of experts and institutions contributing to the ETA’s design.
The ETA’s aim is to help keep a 1.5°C limit on warming within reach by driving private investment in comprehensive energy transition strategies that accelerate the deployment of renewable power and the retirement of fossil fuel assets in developing countries. Annual clean energy investment must triple to $4.2 trillion by 2030 to keep 1.5°C within reach, according to the International Energy Agency, with more than half of that investment in emerging and developing economies.
As envisioned, the ETA will support country-driven energy transition strategies through a high-integrity voluntary carbon market framework that will generate carbon credits representing verified greenhouse gas emissions reductions and make them available to qualified private sector and sovereign government buyers.
In accelerating the clean energy transition, the ETA will aim to deliver deeper, earlier emissions reductions, help developing countries achieve and strengthen their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, and advance broader sustainable development goals, including expanded energy access and poverty alleviation. It also will generate new finance to strengthen adaptation efforts in vulnerable countries.
The guiding principles (full text below) call for an inclusive, comprehensive, high-integrity approach that mobilizes new climate finance, supplementing other sources, to promote ambitious efforts to rapidly reduce emissions in this critical decade.
The High-Level Consultative Group helping to inform the ETA’s development will include leading experts across a wide range of regions and constituencies representing civil society organizations, standard-setting initiatives, private sector coalitions, and intergovernmental bodies. Participants confirmed to date are listed below.
In addition to the High-Level Consultative Group, the partners will provide broader opportunities for stakeholders to provide input, including briefings and listening sessions, and the release of draft elements of the ETA methodology for public comment.
The Department of State, The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bezos Earth Fund are collaborating for the purpose of developing the Energy Transition Accelerator as an independent initiative.
The partners’ efforts to develop the ETA are being supported by a strong team of experts and institutions, with lead coordination provided by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). In designing the ETA, the partners will seek broad alignment with evolving best-practice standards, including those of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), the Voluntary Carbon Markets Initiative (VCMI) and the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM).
ENERGY TRANSITION ACCELERATOR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
The Energy Transition Accelerator will aim to help keep a 1.5°C limit on warming within reach by catalyzing private capital to accelerate the transition from dirty to clean power in developing countries. Its development will be guided by broad, transparent consultation and the intention to align the ETA with these six core concepts:
- Near-term—Promoting ambitious efforts by countries and companies to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) now, in this critical decade.
- Inclusive—Advancing programs that deliver on broader sustainable development goals, including expanded energy access and poverty alleviation, and that are underpinned by strong transparency and social, environmental, and other just transition safeguards.
- Comprehensive—Supporting ambitious power sector-wide energy transition strategies that accelerate the deployment of renewable power and the retirement of fossil fuel assets.
- High-integrity—Ensuring strong environmental integrity by offering payments only for GHG reductions that are based on and verified to a robust standard and by seeking strong alignment with best practices for the pursuit of global net zero GHGs, including for private sector net zero strategies and the use of carbon credits.
- Supplemental—Incentivizing new private-sector climate finance for mitigation and adaptation that augments, not substitutes for, other sources of public, private, multilateral, and philanthropic finance and companies’ continued investments in deep emissions reductions within their own value chains.
- Transitional—Helping, on a time-limited basis, to kickstart the energy transition by rewarding accelerated power sector decarbonization and by providing an option for companies to responsibly use the resulting verified GHG emission reductions to reinforce science aligned progress toward global net zero GHGs.
ENERGY TRANSITION ACCELERATOR HIGH-LEVEL CONSULTATIVE GROUP (Preliminary List of Participants)
- Luiz Fernando do Amaral, CEO, Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi)
- Inger Andersen, Executive Director, U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
- Manish Bapna, President and CEO, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
- Harry Boyd-Carpenter, Chair, Joint MDB Climate Group
- Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director, Climate Policy Initiative (CPI)
- Aniruddha (Ani) Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute (WRI)
- Suzanna DiBianca, EVP and Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce, on behalf of Business Alliance to Scale Climate Solutions (BASCS)
- Saliem Fakir, Executive Director, The Africa Climate Foundation
- Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)
- Andrea Guerrero García, Program Director, Growald Climate Fund
- Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD)
- Catherine McKenna, Chair, U.N. High-level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities
- Rebecca Mikula-Wright, CEO, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC)
- Helen Mountford, President and CEO, ClimateWorks Foundation
- Brian Moynihan, Chair, Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI)
- Annette Nazareth, Chair, Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM)
- Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Co-Chair of UN-Energy
- Michele Roberts, National Co-Coordinator, Environmental Justice Health Alliance
- Vera Songwe, Co-Chair, U.N. High Level Expert Group on Climate Finance
- Lord Nicholas Stern, Chair, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics
- Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director, Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR)
To express interest in the ETA, please contact: ETA@rockfound.org.
About the Bezos Earth Fund
The Bezos Earth Fund is Jeff Bezos’ $10 billion personal commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs and others to help drive climate and nature solutions. By allocating funds creatively, wisely, and boldly, the Bezos Earth Fund has the potential for transformative influence in this decisive decade. Funds will be fully allocated by 2030 — the date by which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals must be achieved. More information about the Bezos Earth Fund is available here: https://www.bezosearthfund.org/who-we-are.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal and sustainable. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to health care and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.