An international online community focused on developing new legal strategies in response to export credit agency (ECA) financing of coal projects, the Clean ECA Hub promotes South-to-South learning on law related to the climate and environment.
ECAs are government-funded bodies that support exporting activities of domestic businesses. Japan and South Korea are the world’s biggest financiers of coal through export credit agencies. The project will investigate the climate consequences of this financing in Indonesia, and alternative pathways for low carbon development.
The Clean ECA Hub provides a space for collaborative learning and the co-design of new legal strategies to address ECA fossil fuel finance, while also informing the future research agenda. The community is made up of litigators, legal experts, academics, finance sector actors, campaigners, NGOs, foundations and civil society groups. Together, the network will identify key legal pressure points and systemic levers of change, supporting local legal capacity to drive the low carbon transition.
The hub will also explore the potential for Artificial Intelligence to aid legal practitioners to deploy the global ‘climate litigation’ case law more effectively, and apply it strategically. In order to minimise our climate impact, the initiative will collaborate through online tools.
The objectives of the Clean ECA Hub are to:
Assess the legal basis of ECAs in selected jurisdictions
Map environmental and climate-based legal interventions against ECAs
Identify and prioritise key causes of action in the short, medium and long term
Network with partners to support legal interventions
Develop a community of practice to implement these objectives
Climate Strategies is part of the consortium that operates the Secretariat of the European Commission’s Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition until 2021, together with Ecorys (consortium leader), Wuppertal Institut and ICLEI.
3rd Meeting of the Coal Platform’s Working Groups – Brussels, April 2019
Governments, business and regions all around the world are moving beyond coal and carbon-intensive technologies. All Europeans should benefit from this transition, and no region should be left behind when moving away from fossil fuels. The Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition, established in 2017, helps European countries, regions, communities and workers to the take on the challenge of the required economic diversification of the clean energy transition.
The project will consider the potential contributions of negative emission technologies (NETs) to limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C or 1.5°C. It will address the tension between ambitious temperature targets and possible reliance on untested, yet potentially necessary, technologies in international climate policy by providing detailed quantitative and qualitative insights on readiness and options for developing coherent international governance arrangements, ensuring environmental integrity, and sustainable development.
It will break new ground in addressing questions of economic feasibility and necessary levels of support, and will develop possible practical approaches to foster private sector investments. This research will be accompanied by a continuous stakeholder and public engagement process. This will recognise the novelty of these technologies, including worrying aspects of some of the options, while carefully identifying what are the most crucial areas of concern in this field. The process will involve researchers, NGOs, policymakers, and industry, leading to a creative learning process about the real-world implications of large-scale NETs deployment.
The project’s overarching objective is to create a clear understanding of opportunities, challenges and risks of negative emission reduction efforts based on an informed analysis and proper discussion amongst relevant stakeholders. More specifically the project aims to:
• Assess major prospective negative emission technologies (NETs) through a multi-disciplinary approach involving economics, engineering and political science with regards to their technical maturity, GHG reduction costs and potential barriers for implementation. This assessment will be done over two time scales (towards 2030 and 2050), and case studies will be undertaken, focusing on key NETs technologies.
• Define elements of a potential governance framework required in order to manage and mobilise the deployment of NETs, ensuring environmental integrity and avoiding any negative side effects. The project will build on the Paris Agreement (PA) and will make suggestions for a NETs governance framework.
• Evaluate how to engage and stimulate action for NETs from the private sector both on the international and national level. A focus will be on modalities and procedures for designing market mechanisms (Art. 6) and design of climate finance approaches to mobilise private sector investment into NETs, differentiating into NET providers and NET users.
• Create a common language and increase key stakeholders’ understanding of the implications of large-scale deployment of NETs. This process will actively facilitate mutual learning processes, especially in regard to the impact on energy systems and other dimensions of sustainable development. The project will also facilitate understanding of governance needs at the international level under the PA and discussion of possible guidelines for the (non -) application of NETs, that draws on the best available scientific knowledge and stakeholder views.
The project is being led by a consortium of Märladalen University, Sweden (Sweden, project lead), Perspectives Climate Research (Germany) and Climate Strategies.
The project is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency.
Climate action within the transport and building sectors in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region lags behind that of European front-runners and the overall pace of emissions reduction compatible with the Paris Agreement temperature limit target. Within the region, there are also significant differences between the effectiveness and efficiency of policy instruments, both in design and implementation.
Notwithstanding the significant differences between the transport and building sectors, they both share the characteristics of being deeply granular and decentralised, in contrast to the centralised EU ETS sectors. In addition, the variety of actors, whose cooperation is needed to accelerate emissions reduction (e.g. car manufacturers, local authorities, construction companies, homeowners) is a major challenge in achieving the project’s goal of supporting the CEE countries in reaching the frontier of excellence of climate action.
The policies and measures that could accelerate the spread of best practices in both sectors and go beyond the existing frontiers in the CEE countries must take into consideration a variety of interests, as well as established path dependencies in the form of the material infrastructure and habits.
The project aims to make a tangible contribution to the improvement of sectoral climate policies, specifically for policies addressing the two non-ETS sectors: transport and buildings, in the CEE region and on the European scale.
Through the envisaged actions, the project will:
help enhance climate action and international transfer of best practices that focus specifically on accelerating the pace of emissions reduction from the transport and buildings sectors in the CEE region and beyond;
enable the CEE states to implement policy solutions for effective emissions reduction;
facilitate harmonisation of climate action efforts between and beyond the CEE countries, with acknowledgement of the factors that are responsible for current uneven progress (e.g. differences in the socio-economic and techno-logical development, and differences in the administrative capacity);
increase ambitions in the non-ETS sectors and utilise the potential of existing solutions in these areas, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The project is being led by a consortium of WiseEuropa (Project Lead), Climate Analytics, Expert Forum (EFOR) and Climate Strategies.
Despite deep restructuring of the regional economy, which over the past decades enabled development of new, low-emission economic activities, Silesia is still a carbon-intensive region with the highest concentration of coal-dependent jobs in the EU and a strong knowledge- and industrial-base in high carbon technologies.
The region is not only the largest hard coal producer in the EU (with annual production exceeding 50 Mt), but also a major cluster of heavy industries and coal-based power production. Taking into account the path dependencies that have been created and reinforced over the past decades within this cluster, the business as usual situation will continue to place Silesia among the most polluted European regions and increase the risk of the lock-in in regards to its industrial and economic infrastructure, which would
further delay the reduction of the GHG emissions.
In order to preserve industrial competitiveness during the ongoing transition, new, sustainable economic activities based on its existing strengths and potentials have to be developed in Silesia.
The awareness of the restructuring challenge is steadily increasing (e.g. Silesia is heavily involved in the EC Coal Regions Platform). Nevertheless, there is still potential for improvement. In particular, no industrial low-carbon transition plan has been developed yet.
The project aims to apply a systemic approach to low-emission industrial diversification, supported by relevant stakeholders, that will enhance the flow of ideas and resources, contributing to the development of new, sustainable economic activities. Its design to comprehensively addresses the GHG emissions across various stakeholders by targeting the research institutions and companies operating in the carbon-intensive sectors is also an important component.
The project aims to:
Develop and test a methodology concept that can link existing regional competencies and strengths in the area of high-carbon technologies with new low-carbon market opportunities.
Enhance cooperation between regional stakeholders focused on high-carbon activities with the European community of stakeholders focused on developing climate-friendly innovations, in particular within the Climate-KIC framework.
The EIT Climate-KIC Pathfinder Task consortium is formed of WiseEuropa (national project partner and consortium lead), the Central Mining Institute [GIG] (regional project partner), and Climate Strategies (European/International project partner).
This project is developed with support from EIT Climate-KIC’s Re-Industrialise programme.
Climate Strategies is an Officer Partner of EIT Climate-KIC.
Research Input into Talanoa Dialogue
In October 2018, the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) was published. It stresses that both international and national climate policy efforts need to intensify to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. These efforts will require the scaling up of ambition within and beyond current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, including transformative systematic change in policy, technology and behaviour across all regions and sectors.
Climate Strategies has prepared three Insight Briefs that cover key topics regarding SR15:
In order to begin the process of strengthening their NDCs in line with 1.5°C pathways, governments need to conduct a gap analysis at the national level, using the global baseline of SR15. Based on this, they will need to identify key priority actions, both for themselves and those that will be undertaken by non-state actors such as cities and businesses. This requires a framework for comparing the costs and benefits of different types of options, including both mitigation and adaptation in the short and long term.
Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) can help inform these analyses; however, current IAMs are limited in both their scope and approach, and do not reflect real-world policy-making. IAMs should take a more facilitative, bottom-up approach, using indicators that are tailored and applicable to the relevant audience and context. Bilateral feedback loops should be created between researchers and policymakers to establish a continuous policy dialogue regarding the policies and measures that will be useful to, and implementable by, stakeholders.
A mixture of policies is needed to drive disruptive low carbon innovation, along with strengthened governance at all levels, from the global to the local. Many implementation activities are likely to be undertaken at the sectoral and subnational level, and many actions that can help to significantly scale-up ambition will need to be delivered by non-state actors.
Of particular urgency is the need for governments and funders (including multilateral funding agencies) to withdraw financial and fiscal support from fossil fuels, and instead direct this capital toward low and zero-carbon energy development, production and consumption.
Efforts to strengthen climate policy in line with 1.5°C pathways will also require increasing the capacities of relevant institutions, and mobilising additional financial flows, at an unprecedented speed and scale. For strong ‘coalitions of the willing’ to form, those who are willing also have to be enabled. Care must be taken to address each specific barrier to action that a country and region faces in order to avoid social and economic trade-offs that could perpetuate inequalities and ultimately undermine the transition.
The three insight briefs are submitted to the Talanoa Dialogue to help policymakers and other relevant stakeholders better understand the implications of SR15 for NDCs and global climate policy. The official submission to the UNFCCC facilitative dialogue can be downloaded from the Talanoa Dialogue website.
The insight briefs were presented at the 3rd “Global View Spotlight” webinar, convened by the ClimateWorks Foundation on the 31st October 2018.
The insight briefs were authored by a strong, multi-disciplinary team of researchers: Peter Newell and Dian Phylipsen (Insight #1); Oscar van Vliet and Takeshi Takama (Insight #2); and Michael Mehling and Ambuj D. Sagar (Insight #3).
All briefs were edited by Joanna Depledge and reviewed by Heleen de Coninck.
Climate Strategies and the research team gratefully acknowledge funding from ClimateWorks Foundation for this project.
Basic materials, such as aluminium, cement and steel, are central to our economies, but their production accounts for around 16% of European and 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore difficult to envisage how Europe can reach the commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement without significant emission reductions from the materials sector.
While some incremental improvements of existing production technologies have been achieved in sectors such as steel and cement, they amount to only modest reductions. The large, and necessary, mitigation potentials linked to break-through process technologies, new materials, more efficient material use and recycling remain largely untapped.
Transformation of the basic materials sectors to carbon neutrality will therefore require a robust policy framework that set sufficient incentives by improving the economics and viability of key “climate friendly” technologies, materials and practices. Decarbonisation along supply and value chains has to be pursued in association with resource efficiency, industrial symbiosis and the circular economy. Also, transformation should be inclusive, enabling all countries to benefit from the capital intensive investments required for this shift.
Achieving this goals require a shared vision of feasible development pathways, which build on the perspectives of all actors required for successful implementation.
Since the end of 2016 the Climate Friendly Materials Platform brings together policy makers, industry representatives, practitioners in industrial decarbonisation and applied researchers for the development of a shared understanding of tangible policy options and eventually common policy action at the national and EU level to the overall goal of successfully decarbonise the European basic materials sector.
This project will explore options for an effective policy framework to advance innovation and use of low‐carbon technology and material options. To achieve this, the project will:
1. Develop a shared vision and framework to think about policy needs for net-carbon neutrality in materials sector.;
2. Advance analysis on individual policy instruments and governance framework for their implementation.
3. Support converging of preference for European based policy instruments in discussions within EU member states and at Brussels level to contribute to common basis for policy implementation
4. Capacity building and developing of common knowledge base on the policy options for delivering material sector decarbonisation
This collaborative, multi‐stakeholder platform is convened by Climate Strategies and brings together from a broad spectrum of European Universities and Institutes: DIW Berlin (Germany), IDDRI (France), IIT-Comillas (Spain), IVL (Sweden), Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands), REKK (Hungary), Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium) and WiseEuropa (Poland) .
Details on events can be found on the project website of partner DIW Berlin.
“Policy Design for Greening Construction Supply Chains” – Stockholm, May 2019
“Inclusive transformation of the European Materials Sector” – Berlin, March 2019
“Trade and Climate Policy in 2018 and beyond. How to get the incentives right” – Berlin, November 2018
UNFCCC SB’s Side Event “Policy Solutions for a Climate-Friendly Materials Sector – Bonn, November 2017
“Policies to stimulate climate-friendly innovation in the materials sector”- Berlin, October 2017.
“2nd Workshop on Policy Design for a Climate-Friendly Materials Sectors” – Berlin, January 2017
“1st Workshop on Policy Design for a Climate-Friendly Materials Sectors” – Brussels, September 2016
The Climate Friendly Materials Platform builds on continuously work since 2013 to develop an effective policy framework to decarbonise the basic materials sector.
Activities under the Platform (outlined below) have received funding support from the governments of the Netherlands, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, from Heidelberg Cement, Tata Steel Europe, ArcelorMittal, Formas Commons, the Mistra Indigo programme, Germany’s European Climate Initiative (EUKI) and the European Climate Foundation.
The Platform aims to contribute to a shared understanding of tangible policy options and eventually, common policy action at national and EU level, an effective exchange of experience to be fed into the different national decision-making processes and the effective provision of relevant research as a basis for successful implementation, industrial innovation and evidence-based investment decisions. While, so far, the focus of the Platform has mainly been on North-Western Europe, this project aims to support the position of Southern and Central-Eastern European countries and open the space for inclusive transformation, where all countries can benefit from the capital intensive investments required for this shift.
Project to address the broad question of: what policies are necessary for the materials sector to successfully innovate and subsequently adopt new low-carbon technologies? The project brought together researchers from different disciplines, as well as participants from industry.
The project explored whether inclusion of domestic sales of selected energy intensive commodities (e.g. steel) in domestic emission trading schemes is an effective and feasible approach towards restoring the carbon price signal in these sectors, without damaging competitiveness.
The project provided objective, evidence-based research on the past and current effectiveness of the EU ETS for Energy Intensive Industries. Assess proposals for improvement of the EU ETS and contributed to improved mutual understanding of different stakeholder group.
The COP21 outcome represents an important new strategic context for EU climate policy. Analysing the implications of this new context requires an interdisciplinary approach, combining analysis of the evolution of the international climate regime as well as of NDCs and their socio-economic implications.
Such analysis is also urgent, given the timelines imposed by the Paris Agreement for a “facilitative dialogue” in 2018 with a view to creating the conditions for the revision of NDC in 2020.
In order to address the context described above, this project has four objectives:
Assess the adequacy of the NDCs submitted at COP21 in light of the global temperature target of limiting warming to 2°C/1.5°C, through the analysis of GHG scenarios and energy system scenarios.
Assess the implications of NDCs and deeper mitigation pathways on other European socio-economic objectives, related to innovation and technology deployment; trade and competiveness; investment, financial flows and economic growth; and global energy markets and energy security.
Assess the adequacy of the outcomes of COP21, and the implications and opportunities emerging from ongoing UNFCCC negotiations. The project will undertake a social sciences-based (in particular international law and international relations) assessment of the outcome of COP21.
Policy recommendations for EU climate policy and climate diplomacy.
The project officially launched in December 2016 and will run for three years.
The first project meeting was held in Paris, in January 2017. This meeting provided the first opportunity for consortium members to present initial ideas and gather feedback for the scope of the project.
The second project meeting and first stakeholder workshop were held back-to-back in London, in June 2017. The event provided an opportunity for the project consortium to present project ideas to date to the External Advisory Board (EAB) for key feedback.
Materials are central to our economies but their production also dominates industrial greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore difficult to envisage how Europe can reach an 80-95% emission reduction target without significant emission reductions from the materials sector.
While some efficiency improvements and fuel shifting to lower carbon inputs have been achieved in sectors such as steel and cement, they amount to only modest reductions. The large, and necessary, mitigation potentials linked to break-through process technologies, new materials, and more efficient material use remain largely untapped.
The Climate-Friendly Materials project aims to explore what elements need to be put in place to allow for large scale emission reductions from material production through developing a portfolio of innovative processes and materials and providing incentives for their efficient use.
The emission mitigation opportunities requires a coherent combination of the three elements:
Plausible technological pathways;
Strategically oriented private sector decisions;
Robust and credible regulatory policy framework.
The project will address the broad question of: what policies are necessary for the materials sector to successfully innovate and subsequently adopt new low-carbon technologies?
The project will bring together researchers from different disciplines, as well as participants from the industry.
The project launched in June 2016, co-led with DIW Berlin.
The first workshop was held in Brussels in September 2016. The agenda and selected presentations are available for download from our event page.
The second workshop was held in Berlin in January 2017. Further information can be found on our event page. All presentations are available for download.
We held a side event at the 46th session of the UN Subsidiary Bodies in May 2017, in Bonn. Further information is available on the event page.
The first project report, published in January 2017, is available to download. It outlines policy developments that can allow all actors in Europe to benefit from climate friendly choices on producing, using, and re-using basic materials.
Analysis and recommendations drawn from the International Roundtable on the Future of Coal: The International Thermal Coal Sector at a Crossroads
Between 2016 and 2019, Climate Strategies, together with IDDRI, developed ‘Coal Transitions: Research and Dialogue on the Future of Coal‘.
Coal Transitions was a KR Foundation funded, +2-year transdisciplinary, international effort to link and reinforce policy, research and advocacy efforts on coal transition in different countries.
The project aimed to fill the gap of international dialogue and lesson learning on coal transition, but will also to link to other initiatives focusing on coal, such as on the investor side.
Coal Transitions’ international coverage included Australia, China, Germany, India, Poland and South Africa.
For more information, please download a two page briefing on this page. You can also follow updates on the Coal Transitions website and Twitter page, currently run by the CoalExit team based at TU-Berlin.
Reports produced by Coal Transitions between 2017 and 2018: