Technical Solutions Not A Silver Bullet In Battle Against Climate Change

Economic Incentives Must Change On Many Levels

By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Dealing with climate change and its risks will require not only technical responses like drought-resilient crops and higher sea walls but also reshaping economic and political incentives that are driving global warming, scientists said on Wednesday.

“The biggest risk of all that we face is that we’re addressing the wrong problem,” University of Oslo sociologist Karen O’Brien told a week-long conference of climate researchers in Paris.

Using more renewable energy and setting up crop insurance schemes and early warning systems is important, she said. But climate change “is more than a technical challenge.” Finding genuine solutions will have to involve “looking at who has power and how that might need to change,” she said.

sustainable cities
Climate change solutions will require a different set of incentives for government, industry and consumers. Will it take crises of epic proportions to force changes?

The rush to secure oil drilling rights in the Arctic, for instance, is painted by some analysts as the potential start of a new Cold War, as countries compete to gain access to some of the planet’s last untapped oil deposits in pursuit of profit and energy security, she said. But it is happening despite science that shows a third of the world’s already discovered oil reserves – as well as half of gas reserves and 80 percent of coal reserves – must stay in the ground to avoid runaway climate change that could see food supplies collapse, O’Brien and other experts said.

Climate risks will not be tackled effectively unless such contradictions are dealt with, O’Brien said. One way to achieve that could be through people stepping up to try and change the way governments and institutions behave.

“Small changes can make big differences, and individuals, especially when working together, can generate big social change,” she said.

Bending political and economic power to solve climate problems will be difficult, but “we are transforming either way,” O’Brien said, as a world four degrees Celsius warmer – the current trajectory for 2100 – would reshape life on Earth.

trees a climate change solution

Adapting to some of the accompanying problems, including a rise in deaths from extreme heat in South Asia, would be largely impossible, she said.

Some of the biggest opportunities to put the world on a different pathway may lie in fast-growing cities, said Shobhakar Dhakal of the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.

Already more than 70 percent of global emissions caused by energy use come from cities, according to scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By 2050, urban areas will have 2.6 billion more people, most of them in Asia and Africa, Dhakal said.

green infrastructure
Sustainable cities are resilient cities.

If rapidly urbanizing areas can build homes close to jobs and services, while making walking and public transport good options, climate-changing emissions could be reduced dramatically, he said.

“Our ability to make deep cuts to global greenhouse gas emissions depends to a large extent on what kinds of cities and towns we build,” Dhakal said.

Real progress on climate change and reducing vulnerability to its impacts will also require efforts to coordinate a huge range of activities, including social policy, urban planning, insurance, weather monitoring and deploying the right technologies, said Nobuo Minura, president of Japan’s Ibaraki University.

Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Centre warned that “we as humanity are now in a position to disrupt the stability of the entire world by driving climate change.

Many economic and government systems have been designed around a high-emission way of doing things, he said. Now, “we need a new relationship between people and the planet.”

Greener City News via http://www.trust.org/item/20150708160447-iq2yo/

 

Climate Fund Moving At Glacial Speed

Focus On Sustainability, Clean Energy

The Green Climate Fund is finally getting some legs. The big question now is what direction it will pursue. Local ownership, sustainability and a firm commitment to clean energy are a few of the apparent priorities.

“The GCF board is aiming to have at least a few projects in the pipeline in time for COP21 [the high-level climate change summit in Paris in December] – to show the world that the fund is open for business and that developed countries are putting their money where their mouths are,” Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth told IPS. “Of course, this will be more credible once substantially more of the money pledged to the GCF is legally committed.

Green Climate Fund projects
Can the Green Climate Fund move fast enough to make a difference?

“It is essential that those first GCF projects set the appropriate precedent for future-financed activities. The GCF must showcase the best of what it has to offer,” she added. “This means directly addressing the adaptation and mitigation needs of the vulnerable through environmentally-sound initiatives that promote human rights and benefit local economies, rather than Wall Street-type transactions that may theoretically have trickle-down benefit for the poor.”

The Fund is the United Nations’ premier mechanism for funding climate change-related mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. At the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, donors agreed to mobilize 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, in an undefined mix of public and private funding, to help developing countries. The GCF is to be a cornerstone of this mobilization, using the money to fund an even split between mitigation and adaptation projects.

Actual funding has trickled in slowly. But delivery of a pledge by the government of Japan late last month for $1.5 billion carried the Fund over the required 50 percent threshold to begin allocating resources for projects and programs in developing countries.

The Fund aims to finalize its first set of projects for approval by the GCF Board at its 11th meeting in November.

It has also identified strategic priority areas and global investment opportunities that are not adequately supported by existing climate finance mechanisms, and can be used to maximize the GCF’s impact, especially investments in efficient and resilient cities, land‐use management and resilience of small islands.

“Projects must be genuinely country-driven, which means not only government-driven but also driven by communities, civil society and local private sector. And, of course, there must be no trace of support for dirty energy,” Orenstein said.

Green Climate Fund

To date, 33 governments, including eight developing countries, have pledged close to 10.2 billion dollars equivalent, with 21 of them signing a part or all of their contribution agreement. But how to maintain and accelerate that funding in the long term remains to be seen.

In a new analysis, the World Resources Institute (WRI) notes that more than five years after Copenhagen, the sources, instruments, and channels that should count toward the 100-billion-a-year goal remain ambiguous.

It suggests four possible scenarios: developed country climate finance only; developed country finance plus leveraged private sector investment; developed country finance, multilateral development bank (MDB) climate finance (weighted by developed countries’ capital share) and the combined leveraged private sector investment; and all the first three sources, plus climate-related official development assistance (ODA) as compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In terms of which is most likely to be adopted, as governments negotiate a comprehensive new climate change agreement for the post-2020 period, Michael Westphal, a senior associate on WRI’s Sustainable Finance team, told IPS that parties have not agreed yet on even what finance sources should count.

“Our scenario analysis is focused on assessing how likely is it that each scenario could reach 100 billion dollars, given different assumptions of growth and leverage,” he explained.

“One of the main conclusions, not surprisingly, is that the more sources that are included, the more realistic is it for the 100 billion dollars to be reached – i.e., it would require lower growth rates and assumptions about how much private finance is leveraged per public dollar.”

Supplemental funding could flow from new and innovative sources, such as the redirection of fossil fuel subsidies, carbon market revenues, financial transaction taxes, export credits, and debt relief, the analysis says.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that pre-tax fossil fuel subsidies for OECD countries – long derided as irrational and destructive by environmental groups and many economists – amounted to 13.3 billion dollars in 2012.

Budgetary support and tax expenditures to fossil fuels totalled 76.4 billion dollars in 2011 for the OECD’s 34 member countries.

“On fossil fuel subsidies, the G20 has agreed to phase them out over the medium term, so we think it is likely to have progress on this front over the next five years,” Westphal told IPS.

“The IMF has written extensively about the costs of fossil fuel subsidies, so the issue is now a front burner issue for multilateral finance institutions.  As for ETS [emission trading system], governments would have to agree to divert some of the revenues from the allowances into their budgets for international climate finance.”

But even should the funding goal be reached, observers will be watching closely to see where the money goes.

Karen Orenstein has compared the push by some governments and financial institutions for “less dirty” fossil fuels to fight climate change to a doctor telling his cancer-ridden patient that “it’s fine to smoke, as long as the cigarettes are filtered.”

She notes that the list of activities that can currently be counted under the Common Principles (approved by multilateral development banks and the International Development Finance Club in March) as climate mitigation finance includes “energy-efficiency improvement in existing thermal power plants” and “thermal power plant retrofit to fuel switch from a more GHG-intensive fuel to a different, less GHG-intensive fuel type.”

“In the broad spectrum of fossil fuels, there is always going to be a project or fuel type that is relatively more or less dirty than another,” Orenstein says. “Allowing so-called climate financing for projects that are slightly less dirty than a hypothetical alternative is a sure way to game the system.”

She’s also guarding against the funding of false solutions like so-called “climate smart” agriculture, biofuels, waste incineration, nuclear energy and big dams – many of which are included in the Common Principles.

Climate Change News via http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/climate-fund-rolls-out-amid-hopes-it-stays-green/

The Most Eco-Friendly Cities In The World

Earth Day Every Day In Sustainable Cities

Innovations in technology and environmental friendliness are not mutually exclusive — in fact, the smarter a city is, the more eco-friendly it can (and should) be. Since we’re always talking about the most well-connected smart cities, here is a list of cities that are doing great things for the planet, too.

sustainable cities leaders

These aren’t in any particular order, as they make various rankings every year on different lists by many organizations. There are some usual suspects, but hopefully, some cities that surprise you as well.

All 10 cities are notable for their recycling and composting programs, bike friendliness, sustainable construction, clean-tech advancements, and energy conservation.

Oslo, Norway

Several Scandinavian cities consistently rank as the greenest in the world, and one of them is Oslo, the most populous city in Norway. For many years, sustainable environmental practices have been part of this city’s plan. The government has a committee focused specifically on strategies for sustainable development, and aggressively protects wild, natural areas from development, which reduces its carbon footprint.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is one of the cleanest cities in the world and has a lot of environmental planning initiatives. The city has a goal to be free of fossil fuels by 2050. According to research from HouseTrip, 93% of residents walk, bike, or take public transportation to work.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with a great infrastructure built for bike routes. Amsterdam is also one of the cities that conserves the most water, according to HouseTrip research. The city also has an array of eco-friendly hotels. In 2014, Cisco signed an agreement with Amsterdam to make it a green and hyper-connected place, the “Internet of Everything” city and one of Cisco’s showcase metropolises.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is known as one of the greenest cities in North America, and is definitely the most eco-friendly in Canada. The government enacted a Greenest City 2020 Action Plan several years ago, and though many people drive, it has plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 33% by 2020, and is a world leader in its use of hydropower.

Curitiba, Brazil

On the South American Siemens Index of green cities, this is the only South American city that ranks above average in eco-friendly rankings. Curitiba has long had a rapid-transit bus system and great recycling program, and plans to build a better bus system and more bike routes. Compared to other cities in the region, it’s faring pretty well for its carbon footprint.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, Africa’s second largest city, is making some great progress environmentally. About five years ago, the country built its first wind farm, and has a goal of generating 10% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. It’s also very bike-friendly and has a lot of environmental initiatives in the communities.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen consistently ranks as Europe’s greenest city, with most residents living near and using public transportation, and half of them riding a bicycle for their commutes. Though it’s large in size, this makes the city’s carbon footprint relatively small. Citizens also compost and recycle, and work hard to conserve energy. Copenhagen has a plan to be carbon neutral by 2025.

San Francisco, California

Of course, San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in North America, with a 77% recycling rate and wide city regulations on recycling and composting. The city is extremely bike-friendly and is constantly ranked as one of the best cities for organic, sustainable food. The Bay Area is also the headquarters of many environmental and cleantech startups, an area of technology which is growing rapidly.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis has been on several green city lists throughout the past few years. The city has a program called Minnesota GreenStep Cities, which enacts sustainable practices and programs across the state. And with 92 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street paths, good air quality, and a nice park system, Minneapolis is both clean and eco-friendly and becoming more known for its energy conservation every year.

Freiburg, Germany

The city of Freiburg, Germany, which is on the edge of Black Forest close to Switzerland and France, has been on lists for green cities since 2008. Germany is a world leader in renewable energy, especially solar. Freiburg takes great measures to reduce energy consumption, particularly with residential homes. Apparently, home builders plan to use almost no energy and less than 40 gallons of oil to heat homes.

Sustainable City News via http://www.techrepublic.com/article/green-tech-the-most-eco-friendly-cities-in-the-world/

Arab Future Cities Summit Next Month

Smart Solutions For Sustainable Cities

The Middle East’s premier smart cities event will take place April 13 and 14, 2015 at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha, Qatar. In its 4th year running, the event will attract over 300 senior level executives to discuss progress, efficient management of resources, future developments and ways of making future cities more efficient and resilient in the Middle East.

green cities Qatar
Qatar is making sustainability a priority. It’s a leader in the region and the world.

The Middle East is at the forefront of developing Smart City Solutions to meet the rising demand for energy and resources from a large and growing urban population. The region’s transition from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy is further fueling the concept of smart cities.

Smart Cities enhance quality of life through integration of ICT within the infrastructure framework. Upon successful implementation, smart cities will not only boost commercial and capital investments but will be the best approach for reducing the tremendous strain on the present day infrastructure.

The Arab Future Cities Summit 2015 will showcase city development best practice strategies through presentations from some of the world’s leading experts and the innovative solutions that will integrate citizens, systems and services. There will be opportunities for networking along with knowledge sharing on the various sustainable technologies promoting smart city developments.

Connecting government authorities, developers, urban planners, investors, academics, and cutting-edge technologists, this event focuses on sustainable city development across the Middle East region and is a must-attend for key stakeholders committed to developing smarter cities.

Sustainable City News via http://www.arabfuturecities.com/

Cities In Brazil Cancel Carnival Due To Severe Drought

Drought Linked To Climate Change, Deforestation

Cities in the southeast of Brazil have called off Carnival this year due to a serious drought that has plagued the region for months and shows no signs of abating.

Brazil is famous for its Carnival, a week-long street festival where people party day and night, bringing Samba music and elaborate colorful costumes to the street, to mark the beginning to Lent. This year’s Good Friday, which marks the beginning of Carnival, lands on Friday, February 13.

Sao Palo drought and water crisis
Is Brazil’s drought and water crisis caused by Amazon deforestation?

At least 15 cities and towns in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais and San Paolo have already called off all or parts of their Carnival festivities because of the region’s water crisis. Both states have been suffering from drought for more than a year, with the water situation worsening. This has been the regions’ worst drought in at least eight years.

In December, authorities warned that the city of San Paolo in San Paolo State – Brazil’s largest and most populous city – had already tapped into its emergency water reserves and had merely two to three months left of guaranteed water supply. Though Carnival is still set to go ahead in San Paolo, many city counselors have called for its cancellation. However, other cities in the state have chosen to air on the side of caution.

“We have canceled the street Carnival to stop tourists coming to the city, so the city is quieter during Carnival. We don’t have good conditions to have a big celebration and one of the reasons is the water crisis,” said Marcelo Daniel, the Secretary of Culture in the town of Araras, San Paolo.

Larger areas such as Oliveira, Minas Gerais also canceled their Carnival celebrations, which usually attracts about 20,000 tourists.

“Never in the history of our city has something like this happened,” said Antônio Penido, chief of staff and president of Oliveira’s Carnival Commission. “With broken hearts, we made the decision.”

Brazil’s worsening drought has been linked to both climate change and deforestation in the Amazon. According to Antonio Nobre, a leading climate scientist at Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), these two issues combined are drastically reducing the release of billion of liters of water into the atmosphere by rainforest trees, reducing rainfall in the south.

reforestation and climate change solution
Reforestation can help turn the tides of climate change.

Sustainable Cities News via: http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/312-16/28497-brazils-cities-cancel-carnival-because-of-drought

New Resources Help Leaders Plan Sustainable Cities

Resources Help Urban Planners, Policy Makers Coordinate Visions 

The World Resources Institute and Johnson Controls have launched an initiative that brings together their policy and technical expertise to help rapidly growing cities in developing countries plan a low-carbon infrastructure to promote sustainability and fight climate change.

Non-profit policy research organization World Resources Institute (WRI) and building energy systems firm Johnson Controls recently launched a new initiative that aims to improve energy efficiency in rapidly growing cities around the world.

sustainable cities and climate change
Aversion and mitigation strategies are part of civic leadership in the age of climate change.

The Building Efficiency Initiative (BEI), which combines the United States-based firm’s expertise in providing building efficiency solutions and WRI’s on-the-ground experience in building livable cities, will provide practical resources to city planners and industry partners on how to accelerate their energy efficiency programs, both organizations said.

The initiative will conduct research, facilitate discussion among experts, and engage with local practitioners in WRI’s global partner cities. “Specifically, the Initiative will engage public and private sector innovators to develop, test, and scale energy efficiency solutions like new finance models, and promote better approaches for integrating distributed energy systems at the building and community level,” Jennifer Layke, BEI’s director noted in a blog.

BEI supports the Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform of the United Nation’s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, which targets to double the rate of energy efficiency improvement around the world by 2030, WRI and Johnson Controls added.

Cities will account for 70 percent of the world’s population by 2030, nearly 20 percent higher than it is today.

If not properly planned, urban development choices could lock-in cities in decades of high-carbon infrastructure or buildings that use up huge amounts of energy, the institute explained.

The World Bank has estimated that cities worldwide account for around two-thirds of global energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

In a recent study of three cities in Southeast Asia – Da Nang in Vietnam, Cebu in Philippines and Surabaya in Indonesia, the financial instiution said improving energy efficiency is not just good for the environment, it is also good for economic growth as it supports local economic development through productivity gains, reduced pollution, and more efficient use of resources.

“With the extraordinary global shift toward an urban environment, success in sustainable development will largely be determined in cities. This new initiative will focus on the opportunities and challenges that rapid urbanisation presents, especially in major developing countries,” said Dr Andrew Steer, president and chief executive officer of WRI.

Johnson Controls vice president Chuck Harvey said that his firm has been tracking data and analysing technologies, policies, and building energy practices through the US-based Institute for Building Efficiency which the firm established since 2010.

“Working with World Resources Institute and its network of global partners, we can jointly scale innovative energy efficiency policies and solutions,” added Harvey.

Johnson Controls and WRI found that the potential for sustainable and efficient buildings is enormous in urban areas of emerging economies. An International Energy Agency forecasted that 60 percent of buildings in China by 2020 have yet to be built.

The partners noted that there are six critical barriers to the adoption of energy efficient programs by building owners:

  • lack of information and awareness on options that may be available when it comes to building efficiency
  • lack of technical knowledge to evaluate their options
  • uncertainty about how to measure or understand the energy efficiency performance
  • inability to meet financial criteria (return on investment rates)
  • lack of capital funds to invest in energy efficiency
  • landlord/tenant split incentives (the landlord does not have a reason to invest in efficiency if the tenant is the one paying the energy bills)

BEI, which is part of WRI’s sustainable urban development initiative Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, can help urban planners develop policies and improve the design of tomorrow’s cities, including through more efficient buildings and energy systems, stressed WRI and Johnson Controls.

“We are excited to work closely with Johnson Controls and other partners to develop innovative and practical recommendations on building efficiency that support a strong, low-carbon pathway for greener cities,” said Dr Steer.

Source: http://www.eco-business.com/news/wri-johnson-controls-offer-energy-efficient-pathway-cities/

Urban Forestry An Emerging Priority For Universities, Cities

Need Policies To Stop Urban Deforestation, Promote Reforestation

A multi-state team from universities in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland are working to advance the profession of urban forestry. The team led by researchers at Virginia Tech has launched Urban Forestry 2020. The project aims to examine the challenges faced by the urban forestry profession and devise strategies for advancing the profession.

urban forestry
Urban forestry can help blunt the forces of climate change.

The project also includes representatives from Virginia State University, West Virginia University and the University of Maryland. It is partially funded by the U.S. Forest Service.

Urban forestry is the management of trees and green spaces in communities to enhance quality of life and protect the environment. Team officials say that while the profession has advanced rapidly over the last 20 years, there are many issues that need to be faced to move it forward.

“The beauty of the urban forestry profession is its interdisciplinary nature,” said Susan Day, associate professor of urban forestry at Virginia Tech and the project’s lead investigator. “People from diverse backgrounds work together to solve problems with a critical urban natural resource that has a big impact on our day-to-day lives. But the field’s interdisciplinary nature is also a challenge when it comes to networking and education, and the profession is experiencing some growing pains.”

The team has assembled a committee to help guide the project, bringing together leaders in urban forestry and related fields like urban planning, landscape architecture and civil engineering to examine recruitment into urban forestry, accreditation of university urban forestry degree programs, and professional credentialing and networking of urban foresters.

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/va-wva-md-schools-advancing-urban-forestry/2014/07/05/18b3d7c0-044d-11e4-ae91-d5e5645b17c1_story.html

U.S. Mayors Pass Climate Change Resolution

Political Momentum For Change If Nothing Else

A bipartisan group of mayors from across the U.S. passed a resolution Monday that green lights projects to tackle climate change. The group approved a resolution at the U.S. Conference of Mayors event in Dallas that encourages cities to use nature to “protect freshwater supplies, defend the nation’s coastlines, maintain a healthy tree and green space cover and protect air quality.”

USCM resolution on climate change
US Mayors endorse natural solutions to climate change mitigation and resiliency.

The group included red-state Democratic mayors Lee Leffingwell from Austin, Texas, and Greg Stanton of Phoenix, Ariz. Republicans that signed the resolution include Carmel, Ind. Mayor Jim Brainard, and Betsy Price, mayor of Fort Worth, Texas.

“What’s so significant is that there was a unanimous vote on an issue that can be so divisive,” said Laura Huffman, director of Texas’ Nature Conservancy.

On top of infrastructure projects aimed at mitigating climate impacts, cities will look to combine tradition pipes with open spaces to build effective storm water collection systems. By tackling such projects, more parks, and recreation areas will be created as well the mayors said.

The overall strategy will address water, wastewater and stormwater runoff, heat island effects, preservation of open space and provide an inventory of emissions from fossil fuels for city operations to set reduction targets.

The move comes as climate change policies continue to divide lawmakers in Congress. As President Obama proposes more regulations curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the name of climate change, Republicans are seeking to block his standards using any means available.

Source: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/210273-us-mayors-pass-climate-change-resolution#ixzz35cbj80gP 

Obama Announces Billion-Dollar Climate Change Challenge

Plan Lacks Substance, Vision

Speaking at the commencement ceremony at the University of California Irvine on Saturday, President Barack Obama continued his advocacy to curb carbon emissions by committing $1 billion in competitive funding measures to address the effects of extreme weather, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

President Obama announces climate change task force
President Obama announces a climate change challenge that sounds more like an Olympic swimming event than urban planning and resiliency.

“The climate change deniers suggest there’s still a debate over the science, there’s not,” Obama said in his remarks. He compared those who reject the view that human activity is contributing to rising temperatures to someone who thinks the moon is made of cheese.

In May the White House unveiled a climate change report stressing urgency and a call to action. The effects of climate change globally are resulting in extreme weather, sea levels rising, seasonal allergies and a host of detrimental effects.

The report called “Weather from the White House” was aimed to start a conversation between the president and “local and national meteorologists.”

With average temperatures in the US rising, two degrees since 1895, and the expectations of 10 more degrees by 2100, the sea levels could rise by more than six feet putting coastline cities in jeopardy.

The report predicted economic and human repercussions from the changing climate and underscored “the need for the American people to prepare for and respond to [the] far-reaching implications.”

The president’s report is a compilation of the largest collection of US climate data ever assembled and included the work of approximately 300 experts.

The report recognized that the data has been accumulating for years and, “it is notable that as these data records have grown longer and climate models have become more comprehensive, earlier predictions have largely been confirmed resulting in the following according to the report”:

In addition to causing changes in climate, increasing levels of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities have a direct effect on the world’s oceans. Carbon dioxide interacts with ocean water to form carbonic acid, increasing the ocean’s acidity. Ocean surface waters have become 30% more acidic over the last 250 years as they have absorbed large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This ocean acidification makes water more corrosive, reducing the capacity of marine organisms with shells or skeletons made of calcium carbonate (such as corals, krill, oysters, clams, and crabs) to survive, grow, and reproduce, which in turn will affect the marine food chain.

Still, public reception of scientific evidence for global warming remains mixed among some political segments. Climate change is not a hot topic during elections, even though it should be. And some lawmakers refuse to accept the science and the Obama administration’s approach that it is a threat to the economy and life as we know it.

“The president’s plan is nuts,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said earlier in June.

In Saturday’s speech to university students, Obama acknowledged the challenges of making even incremental changes to policies in Washington; however, progress on climate change is a worthy goal and should not be put off for future generations to address.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/president-obama-renews-call-to-combat-climate-change-1402773087

Johannesburg First C40 City To Issue Green Bonds

Strong Support For Sustainability Projects

The City of Johannesburg is proud to announce that today we had a successful auction of the first green bond COJGO1 maturing in 2024. The bond of R1.46 billion is priced at 185 basis points (1.85%) above the R2023 Government Bond, which is very competitive and is a reflection of the City’s improved financial position.

Johannesburg sustainable city
Sustainable cities are essential to a sustainable future.

Executive Mayor of Joburg, Clr Parks Tau says “This is the first green bond to be listed in the 2013/2014 financial year and marks a historic occasion, as Joburg is the first city in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to issue the Green bond.”

The City is pleased to announce that the bond auction was a success and 150 percent oversubscribed.

“This clearly demonstrates investor confidence in the City of Johannesburg and commitment to environmental stewardship and climate change, while receiving a market related financial return. The City would like to thank all the investors that made this debut Green Bond a success” adds Mayor Tau

The Green Bond will provide the City with a funding source to improve and expedite the implementation of its climate change mitigation strategy and move the City towards a low carbon infrastructure, minimal resource reliance and increased preservation of natural resources. What distinguishes this green bond from any other general obligation bond is that the projects to be financed are green initiatives such as the Bio Gas to Energy Project and the Solar Geyser Initiative, as well as all other projects that reduce green house emissions and contribute to a resilient and sustainable city.

The City is not new to finding innovative funding mechanism as it also pioneered the first general obligation municipal bond in 2004. The City has successfully redeemed R1.9 billion since the inauguration of the municipal bond market including R900 million in the past 12 months.

Source: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/06/12/johannesburg-the-first-c40-city-to-issue-green-city-bond/option=com_content&view=article&id=9073:04062014-the-city-of-johannesburg-issues-the-first-ever-jse-listed-green-bond-&catid=217:press-releases-2013&Itemid=114