At G-7 Summit, World Leaders Must Commit to Increasing Climate Finance for Developing Countries
The G-7 Leaders’ Summit is underway, from June 11–13, in Cornwall, UK. As host nation for this summit, and the annual climate talks later this year (also known as COP26), the UK will clearly be elevating the need for climate action, alongside dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and trade issues. One priority that must get urgent attention: richer nations need to make concrete commitments to increasing climate finance for developing countries. Here in the US, 48 groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have just sent a letter to Congress calling for increased funding for climate finance in the federal budget.
The G7 Leaders’ Summit must prioritize climate finance
At the summit, the leaders of the G-7 countries — the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy, and the EU — will be joined by guest nations Australia, India, South Korea, and South Africa. Tackling climate change is one of the four policy priorities on the agenda.
Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit, the finance ministers of the G-7 nations met last week. The highlight of that meeting was the announcement of a commitment to a global minimum tax rate of 15 percent for major corporations. In a statement, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “That global minimum tax would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation, and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the US and around the world.”
However, in terms of climate outcomes, the Finance Ministers’ Communique was disappointing. There were vague mentions of commitments to achieving net-zero emissions by mid-century and no major new financial commitments for clean energy investments or adaptation needs in developing countries, raising the stakes for more concrete actions at the Leader’s Summit and ahead of COP26.
On international climate finance, specifically, the text stated:
“We commit to increase and improve our climate finance contributions through to 2025, including increasing adaptation finance and finance for nature-based solutions. We welcome the commitments already made by some G7 countries to increase climate finance. We look forward to further commitments at the G7 Leaders’ Summit or ahead of COP26. We call on all the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to set ambitious dates for Paris Alignment ahead of COP26, and welcome their work supporting client countries.”
The unfair and worsening toll of climate impacts
Worldwide, climate impacts are unfolding in terrifying and costly ways. Worsening heat waves, floods, droughts, tropical storms and wildfires are taking a mounting toll on communities and economies.
Last month, for example, the unusually intense Cyclone Tauktae struck the coast of Gujarat in India, after traveling up the western coast causing heavy rainfall and floods. The cyclone took the lives of over 100 people, including 86 at an offshore oil and gas facility. Tauktae was the fifth strongest Arabian Sea cyclone on record, with peak winds of 140 mph, and tied for the strongest Arabian Sea landfalling cyclone. This latest storm is part of a trend toward increasingly frequent and powerful storms in the Arabian Sea that scientists have attributed to climate change, and that is expected to worsen.
And in a new ground-breaking study, researchers found that across 43 countries, 37 percent of summer heat-related deaths can be attributed to human-caused climate change. In several countries, including the Philippines, Thailand, Iran, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia, the proportion was greater than 50 percent.
The bottom line is that many developing countries that have contributed very little to the emissions that are fueling climate change are bearing the brunt of its impacts. Richer nations, like the United States, which are responsible for the vast majority of cumulative carbon emissions to date, must take responsibility for the harm being inflicted on poorer nations.
Climate finance is also desperately needed for developing countries to make a low-carbon transition. To have a fighting chance of limiting some of the worst climate impacts, the world will have to cut heat-trapping emissions in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The recent IEA net-zero by 2050 report points out that this is both feasible and affordable — as long as we make proactive, intentional investments in clean energy and curtail fossil fuels now, globally. That includes investments in decarbonizing every sector of the global energy system. It also means providing electricity to the 785 million people who currently do not have access, and clean cooking solutions to the 2.6 billion people who need them, most of whom live in developing countries — two priorities which the IEA estimates could be achieved by 2030 at a cost of about $40 billion a year and would deliver tremendous public health and economic benefits.
The necessary scale of international climate finance
In 2009, at the annual climate talks in Copenhagen, richer nations pledged to raise $100 billion a year to help developing countries cut their carbon emissions and adapt to climate change. Over ten years later, they have fallen woefully short.
The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020, points out that “Annual adaptation costs in developing countries alone are currently estimated to be in the range of US$70 billion, with the expectation of reaching US$140–300 billion in 2030 and US$280–500 billion in 2050.”
Here in the US, the Biden administration and Congress must step up and ensure that this year’s federal budget includes a significant down payment on a US fair share contribution to climate finance, ahead of COP26. Forty eight groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, have just sent a letter to Congress, calling for a Fiscal Year 2022 allocation of at least $69.1 billion to support critical development goals and dedicating at least $3.3 billion of that for direct climate change programs as a step towards significantly increased international climate finance.
This is a minimum threshold, and a lot more will be needed in the years to come, including concrete steps from richer countries to recognize and respond to those crushing impacts of climate change that poorer nations simply will not be able to adapt to.
Sharp cuts in carbon emissions needed
Sharp cuts in global carbon emissions remain a core priority, especially with the latest data confirming — again — that we are far off track from where we need to be. While the 2020 economic downturn led to a brief dip in emissions, they are set to rise at a record-setting pace in 2021. Here too, richer nations must do much more. The Biden administration has made a significant commitment, pledging to cut US emissions 50–52% below 2005 levels by 2030, and we must now secure the domestic policies to deliver on that goal, starting with the American Jobs Plan.
An unconscionable gap between the rich and the poor
The gap in climate finance for developing countries is unconscionable. This mirrors the inequity in global vaccine availability, with richer nations stockpiling billions of surplus vaccine doses even as many countries have barely received any. With the climate crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, millions of lives are at risk and many more are being driven into poverty.
Just as with the COVID-19 crisis, solving the climate crisis will require collective global action. Equity is at the heart of ensuring the success of our efforts. Richer nations must both make sharp cuts in their own global warming emissions and contribute to climate finance for developing countries.
This guy built a six-seater electric bike for $150, and it absolutely rips
I’ve always enjoyed multi-seater electric bikes, which bring passenger-carrying utility to small-format, easy-to-produce vehicles. But I never thought I’d see the concept taken this far. At least not until I stumbled upon a six-seater electric bike that has me all kinds of jealous.
It’s no surprise where this custom e-bike originated. If you want to see the most creative and ingenious transportation solutions in the world, you have to head over to Asia.
The Chinese often get a lot of credit for some of the more wacky vehicles popping up on Alibaba, but India usually takes the cake with some of the coolest auto and motorcycle innovation on the planet. And that’s exactly where this impressive six-seater bike comes from, where it was hand-built by Ashhad Abdullah from Lohra in eastern India.
Abdullah seems to have caught my recent Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week entry for a three-seater electric bike and said “Hold my lassi.”
Instead of a three-seater, Abdullah doubled the capacity to six seats. His stretch-limousine electric bike looks like it wears a scooter fork on front complete with drum brake, off-road lighting kit, and even a motorcycle horn. The rear seems to hold a hub motor wheel in a swingarm supported by dual coilover shocks. There’s a battery box mounted just in front of the swingarm, though how much capacity he’s rocking seems to be a mystery.
Bridging the two ends of the bike is a bespoke ladder frame with six seats, six handlebars, and six pairs of foot pegs.
There’s no word on the turning radius, but we’d wager it’s somewhere around the width of the state of Bihar.
Abdullah created the custom-designed bike after climbing fuel prices made petrol-powered motorcycles less appealing. In total, he says the bike cost him around 12,000 INR (US $150) to build.
It gets a range of around 150 km (93 miles) and costs around 10 INR (US $0.12) to recharge.
I’m not sure if this is technically an e-bike, at least by electric bicycle standards. It certainly looks like a tandem-style bicycle setup with bicycle seats, but the lack of pedals means it would be classified more like an electric scooter or motorcycle.
But whatever you call it, the six-seater bike has received a warm reception around the world.
The novel creation went viral on Twitter after a video of it in action was reposted by Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra Group, one of the largest automakers in India (and similar in size to GM).
It’s unlikely we’d see an awesome ride like this in the West, where safety regulations and an unhealthy aversion to two wheels would likely make this six-seater dead on arrival.
I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to argue with the safety concerns, especially when seeing six helmet-less heads and a few bare feet as well.
There are some good alternatives available in the US, at least if you’re alright with just two-seater e-bikes. But with options like a $999 Lectric XP 3.0 or a $1,499 RadRunner helping put more riders on smaller electric vehicles, the chances for sharing the fun on e-bikes are growing, even in laggard countries like the US.
We may never get six bodies on one bike, but even two would be a good start!
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Tesla launches in Thailand, opens Model 3 and Y orders at competitive prices
Tesla has officially launched in Thailand and opened orders for Model 3 and Model Y at competitive prices.
It has been a little while since Tesla has expanded into a brand-new market. The company was trying hard to enter the Indian market for years, but the effort was put on hold earlier this year after negotiations with the government stalled.
A few weeks later, we learned that Tesla’s new market team turned its attention to Southeast Asia, and more specifically Thailand.
The automaker filed to register its product for sale in the country. That was the first indication that Tesla planned to enter the market.
In September, we reported that Tesla started to hire in Thailand – indicating that a launch was imminent.
Today, Tesla has officially launched its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Thailand with a small event in a luxury mall in central Bangkok.
The automaker has started taking orders through a new Thai configurator for those two models. Tesla is offering all variants of the Model 3 and Model Y for sale in Thailand:
The Model 3 starts at ฿1,759,000 in Thailand, which is the equivalent of about $50,000 USD and fairly competitive compared to other luxury EVs in the market.
The Model Y starts ฿1,959,000, or about $58,000 USD.
Interestingly, while Tesla is starting to take orders through the new configurator, the automaker doesn’t list expected delivery windows in the country.
While we don’t know when official deliveries from Tesla will start in Thailand, there are already a decent number of Tesla electric vehicles in the country.
They have been imported privately by the owners – and that’s a factor that Tesla takes into account when considering entering a new market. If many people are willing to go through the trouble of importing the vehicle, there’s a good chance that there’s a market for its vehicles in the country.
We even reported on the Thai police buying a fleet of Tesla Model 3 vehicles for police patrol back in 2020, pictured above.
The Thai auto market is more significant than most people would think. More than 750,000 cars were sold in the market last year, and it is expected to ramp up to 800K–900K this year. However, most of those vehicles are not in the same price range as Tesla vehicles.
Thailand is also a vehicle assembly hub with up to 2 million vehicles produced locally per year.
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U.S. pledges to ramp up supplies of natural gas to Britain as Biden and Sunak seek to cut off Russia
Rishi Sunak and Joe Biden photographed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Indonesia on Nov. 16, 2022.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON — The U.K. and U.S. are forming a new energy partnership focused on boosting energy security and reducing prices.
In a statement Wednesday, the U.K. government said the new partnership would “drive work to reduce global dependence on Russian energy exports, stabilise energy markets and step up collaboration on energy efficiency, nuclear and renewables.”
The U.K.-U.S. Energy Security and Affordability Partnership, as it’s known, will be directed by a U.K.-U.S. Joint Action Group headed up by officials from both the White House and U.K. government.
Among other things, the group will undertake efforts to make sure the market ramps up supplies of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. to the U.K.
“As part of this, the US will strive to export at least 9-10 billion cubic metres of LNG over the next year via UK terminals, more than doubling the level exported in 2021 and capitalising on the UK’s leading import infrastructure,” Wednesday’s announcement said.
“The group will also work to reduce global reliance on Russian energy by driving efforts to increase energy efficiency and supporting the transition to clean energy, expediting the development of clean hydrogen globally and promoting civil nuclear as a secure use of energy,” it added.
Commenting on the plans, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “We have the natural resources, industry and innovative thinking we need to create a better, freer system and accelerate the clean energy transition.”
“This partnership will bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy once and for all.”
The news comes at a time of huge disruption within global energy markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The Kremlin was the biggest supplier of both natural gas and petroleum oils to the EU in 2021, according to Eurostat, but gas exports from Russia to the European Union have been signifciantly reduced this year. The U.K. left the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.
Major European economies have been trying to reduce their own consumption and shore up supplies from alternative sources for the colder months ahead — and beyond.
Top CEOs from the power industry have forecast that turbulence in energy markets is likely to persist for some time. “Things are extremely turbulent, as they have been the whole year, I would say,” Francesco Starace, the CEO of Italy’s Enel, told CNBC last month.
“The turbulence we’re going to have will remain — it might change a little bit, the pattern, but we’re looking at one or two years of extreme volatility in the energy markets,” Starace added.
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