°It’s Day Five of the COP23 and time for nations to begin talking about climate action. More specifically, events in the Bonn and Bula zones will be looking at the role of energy, water, and agriculture in the future and how each sector can be more sustainable.
There were a number of press releases early on Friday discussing the need for accelerated action on energy to implement the Paris Agreement, the investment needed to reach agriculture, and the amount of financing required to meet the sustainable development goals on water.
A number of leaders across a range of sectors announced a number of new initiatives to aid the transition to renewable energy. The cost of renewable energy is set to continue to fall, below oil and natural gas over the next few years. A recent solar energy auction in Chile sold solar power for just $32.5/MWh, a figure well below the cost of oil and gas. And it will become increasingly cheaper.
“Renewables and energy efficiency can together provide over 90% of the mitigation needed in the energy system by 2050 to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, whilst also boosting the economy, creating jobs and improving human health and well-being”.
– Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
The role of agriculture is vital in creating sustainable rural communities. The need for investment and climate action in agriculture will allow for the potential to reduce carbon emissions and protect rural communities against the effects of climate change. There were a number of recommendations made after discussions involving governments, civil society, the private sector and a number of small-scale farmers which include: Scaling up public and private climate finance flows to agriculture, investment in knowledge and information, and the building of capacity to address barriers to implement climate action.
Many of the national action plans submitted as part of the Paris Agreement prioritise creating sustainable water resources. However, the financing of doing so would need to triple to achieve targets. It is thought that 40% of the global population will be facing water shortages by 2050 which has the potential to increase migration and conflict over water resources, making water resources vital for future sustainable development.
On the morning of Day Five, Al Gore took to the stage in the Bonn Zone to discuss the current climate crisis and just some of the solutions to it. There was also an opportunity for five developing nations covering four continents to discuss the impacts of climate change on their nation and how they are dealing with those impacts.
A number of other events that took place on Day Five included: the role of ethanol as a low carbon fuel for transport, the water-energy nexus, and green activities in China. The last of those is perhaps the most important. In 2016, there were approximately 75 GigaWatts (GW) of solar power added to the global total of 303GW, the majority of this came from new installations in China. They are also harnessing wind power as another alternative to the coal and gas power stations that have allowed them to develop to the point they are at now. To me, it wouldn’t be any surprise to see China take the leading role at COP23 in the USA’s absence.
Alongside the events in Bonn on Day Five, more businesses committed to helping shape a clean economy. First of all, four major businesses have joined The Climate Group’s global electric vehicle campaign and pledged to transition to electric transport by 2030. These businesses are Air New Zealand, Mercury, Royal HaskoningDHV and AEON Mall (Follow the links for more information from each company). Another two companies have also joined The Climate Group’s RE100 campaign. Mace and CDP committed to achieving 100% renewable power, with Mace striving to achieve that by 2022.
The importance of transitioning to renewable energy and making agriculture and water resources more sustainable is vital to achieving the UN sustainable development goals and the national pledges made for the Paris Agreement. There is a lot happening in doing this, but more progress needs to be made if there is any hope of keeping climate change limited to the 2°C of warming advised by climate scientists.