CLIMENGO researchers Karin Bäckstrand and Oscar Widerberg at the Global Climate Action Summit

CLIMENGO researcher Karin Bäckstrand participated as a delegate in the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco 10-14 September, aimed to enhance actions by non-state actors to implement the Paris Agreement.

Also at the summit, CLIMENGO researcher Oscar Widerberg participated in the presentation of a pre-release version of a chapter of the forthcoming UN Environment Emissions Gap Report, which he co-wrote together with other researchers.

CLIMENGO presentation at the 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations in Prague

Currently the 12th Pan-European Conference on International Relations takes place in beautiful Prague, organized by the European International Studies Association (EISA) in collaboration with the Central and East European International Studies Association (CEEISA). CLIMENGO member Lisa Sanderink will be presenting tomorrow in a panel titled “Politics, Power and Activism” in the section “Energy and the Global Commons”. Lisa will present her research on frames for global renewable energy governance in the context of current international energy politics and SDG 7 more specifically. An abstract of the paper she will be presenting and more details about when and where the panel will take place can be found below. Come and join the session if you want to hear more about how renewable energy institutions frame the global energy challenge and define the role of renewables in addressing this critical challenge.

When: Saturday, September 15

Time: 14:30 – 16:15

Location: room SB228, University of Economics, W. Churchill Sq. 1938/4, Prague 3

 

Abstract – Facing the frames for global renewable energy governance

Lisa Sanderink,  Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

A worldwide uptake of renewables is key to a sustainable energy future for all, and to achieve this goal effective global governance is paramount. However, global (renewable) energy governance is fragmented in multiple ways. First, the domain is governed by an array of institutions, including international organizations such as the IEA and IRENA and cooperative initiatives such as RE100 and REEEP. Second, these institutions focus on different energy sources and technologies, including solar, wind and hydropower. Third, there are three critical challenges at play, commonly known as energy security, energy access and environmental sustainability. In an attempt to create a common norm and increased consensus for global (renewable) energy governance, Agenda 2030 included SDG 7 to ensure sustainable and modern energy for all, integrating the three global energy challenges into one universal objective. While renewable sources of energy have enormous potential to contribute to achieving SDG 7 and the threefold challenge, it remained unclear if renewable energy institutions were reaching their full potential in this regard. By applying an innovative method for frame analysis, this paper uncovers how renewable energy institutions frame the global energy challenge and define the role of renewables, to eventually examine the extent to which this aligns with the potential of renewables to contribute to SDG 7 in an integrated manner. The results demonstrate that current discussions on renewable energy are dominated by climate talks, with a growing interest in the access issue while undermining concerns of security.

 

Technical report: Mapping the Institutional Architecture of Global Energy Governance

In a recently published report, CLIMENGO researchers Lisa Sanderink, Kristian Kristensen, Oscar Widerberg and Philipp Pattberg map the institutional complexity of global energy governance.

The technical report presents a comprehensive dataset and mapping of 128 global governance arrangements that address the threefold global energy challenge: energy security, energy access and environmental sustainability. The report is written in relation to the CONNECT project: Coping with Fragmentation – Assessing and Reforming the current Architecture of Global Environmental Governance. In addition, it contributes to the CLIMENGO project, which aims to map the institutional nexus of global climate and energy governance, to evaluate the effectiveness and legitimacy thereof, and to develop a knowledge-base for decision makers.

The full report is available on the Publications page.

CLIMENGO session at Interconnections Conference (May 12-13, 2017)

On the 12th and 13th of May the Interconnections Conference took place at the German Development Institute (http://interconnections2017.org/).  At the conference the interconnections between the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda were stressed, and more specifically, the role of state, non-state and subnational actors herein. The three key questions the conference addressed were the following:

  • Which linkages at the international level between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement can foster non-state and subnational synergies and accelerate the transition towards a sustainable and climate smart future?
  • How to increase and mobilize national and local capacity, including institutional, planning, financing and statistical capacities, for non-state and subnational action that delivers on both agendas?
  • How can the role of non-state and subnational actors in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement be strengthened at the national level?

With climate change and energy being key components in the sustainable development debate, the CLIMENGO project’s research aligned very well with the Conference’s content. Therefore, the project members were excited to present five papers in a session called Energy Transition (Saturday May 13, 15:00-16:30), which was chaired by CLIMENGO’s project leader Karin Bäckstrand. First, Philipp Pattberg discussed a conceptualization of the “nexus”, applied to the climate and energy domains. Thereafter, Fariborz Zelli presented a paper written with Thijs van de Graaf about actors, institutions and frames in global energy politics. Third, Jakob Skovgaard presented a paper about carbon pricing discussing the different initiatives, performing different roles in this field. In addition, Harro van Asselt discussed interactions between international cooperative initiatives in the field of fossil fuel subsidy reform. Finally, Lisa Sanderink discussed the wide array of governance institutions in the renewable energy governance domain.

After the presentations the presenters received a few interesting questions from the audience, which led to some fruitful discussions. For example, on how to improve collaboration and division of work within the fragmented structure of the climate-energy nexus, and on the tension between global energy challenges related to sustainability and energy access. The CLIMENGO project would like to thank all hosting institutions for the well-organized event and for the opportunity to speak about CLIMENGO related topics.IMG-20170513-WA0010

CLIMENGO Workshop (May 11, 2017)

Since all CLIMENGO members were in Bonn to attend the Climate Change Conference, the decision was easily made to have a CLIMENGO workshop as well on Thursday May 11. The meeting took place at the German Development Institute (https://www.die-gdi.de/en/), which was a great location close to the Climate Conference venue. The project members discussed the progress made in each work package and next steps for a successful continuation of the project. More specifically, they first discussed the updated mapping of the so-called climate-energy nexus (work package 1). Thereafter, they discussed the case-studies to be conducted for work package 2, zooming in on three micro-fields: fossil fuel subsidy reform, carbon markets and renewable energy. In addition, Naghmeh Nasiritousi discussed the first CLIMENGO working paper (see publications) for work package 3, in which she addresses the question how to assess legitimacy and effectiveness in a fragmented climate and energy governance landscape. Last but not least, the project members discussed deliverables, outreach and possible contributions to the upcoming COP in Bonn. All in all, it was a very productive workshop involving some interesting discussions and in which some important questions were addressed.

CLIMENGO at COP22

While in Stockholm records were beaten in terms of snowfall in November, CLIMENGO members Karin Bäckstrand, Harro van Asselt, Oscar Widerberg and Lisa Sanderink traveled to warm and sunny Marrakech in Morocco to attend the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The COP which also served as the 12th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and of course as the 1st meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). The Parties met to discuss the implementation of the Paris Agreement, raising ambitions, climate finance, capacity-building, technology transfer, the involvement of non-state actors and much more.

For this purpose Morocco went out of its way to let the conference run smoothly. Even though there might have been some minor start-up problems, the event was well-organized and the vibrant city, which revolved around the COP, was a great home for the climate conference. It also showed in the strong commitment of Hakima El Haite, Delegate Minister of Environment of Morocco and appointed Climate Champion, who attended and spoke at as many events as possible.

The rapid entry into force of the Paris Agreement ensured an optimistic atmosphere at the start of COP22. However, the news which came to light on Wednesday morning (9th of November) about the US elections threatened to cast a shadow on the COP. Trump’s intention to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement was the big elephant in the room. Still, it did not really seem to dominate the debates: the general hope that everyone held on to was that developments in climate action are already on their way and a president-elect cannot simply hinder these. This was also evident in the Marrakech Proclamation, which was released on the 17th of November. Therewith, the Heads of State, Governments and Delegations stressed the momentum for climate change worldwide, which is ‘irreversible’ (to read the full Marrakech Proclamation: http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/marrakech_nov_2016/application/pdf/marrakech_action_proclamation.pdf).

Accordingly, some of the key outcomes from the COP22 are the following. First of all, the intention to move forward on a rule book or operational manual for the Paris Agreement. Secondly, a capacity-building initiative for transparency was announced by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Moreover, the NDC Partnership was launched and governments made progress on key areas, such as climate finance, adaptation, capacity-building technology and gender responsiveness. Next to these outcomes a set of initiatives was launched, for example the Global Peatlands Initiative and the World Alliance for Clean Technologies. Last but not least, the High-Level Climate Champions launched the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which is supposed to catalyze and support climate action by Parties and non-Party stakeholders in the period from 2017 to 2020. For more information on key achievements and initiatives please visit: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/unfccc-newsroom/nations-take-forward-global-climate-action-at-2016-un-climate-conference/).

Besides keeping track of the negotiations and developments at the COP22 for research, the CLIMENGO team was also involved in the organization of side-events. Harro van Asselt, as a researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), co-organized a side-event on ‘fossil fuel supply and climate change: key steps to enhance ambition’, together with Oil Change International (OCI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Furthermore, Oscar Widerberg from IVM was involved in the organization of a side-event on linking state and non-state climate action, together with researchers from the German Development Institute (DIE Bonn), Forum for Reforms and Entrepreneurship (FORES) and York University. For more information on this event please read a blogpost by Oscar Widerberg: http://fragmentation.eu/?p=405.

To sum up, even though the COP22 was “the COP after Paris”, it was certainly of value. It reminded everyone of all the developments that are ongoing in climate action worldwide. Let’s hope the momentum is indeed irreversible. By all means it left the CLIMENGO members with much food for thought and inspiration for further research.