While many participants had hoped for a rocking performance by negotiators, they left still straining to hear the sounds of success.

The most recent round of the United Nations climate change negotiations began early the morning of November 11. After a marathon final session that lasted more than 24 hours, talks concluded at nearly 9 p.m. on Saturday the 23rd. This dramatic finish has become an almost yearly occurrence of governments rocking all Friday night and partying every (Satur)day. With so much activity late in the game, observers might reasonably have expected a lengthy set of agreements to step up the fight against climate change. Or, at the very least, confirmation that Saturday night’s alright for fighting when nations can’t agree.

Instead, based on the reactions from many participants, the final agreements said more about the state of negotiations by what they left out than what they included. To be fair, these negotiations were not intended to reach a final decision on major climate change issues. Warsaw was built as a step toward agreement on a new climate change treaty at negotiations in Paris in December 2015. A successful agreement in Paris depends on countries making commitments to reduce their carbon pollution. Putting their cards on the table as early as possible would help even more. It would leave more time to assess if the commitments will be enough to stop dangerous and potentially runaway levels of climate change. And to negotiate stronger commitments if not.

Rather, governments, particularly the wealthiest and most polluting, spent all of Warsaw showing each other their best poker faces, with no new commitments pledged. Governments did manage to agree to state their commitments “well in advance” of Paris. They did not, however, clarify when exactly that would be.

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adaptation, Adaptation Fund, climate finance, Climate Policy, Green Climate Fund, Lima, loss and damage, music videos, Paris, Peru, Poland, REDD, Secretary-General, Typhoon Haiyan, UNFCCC, Warsaw

Part 2: Clear Policy Signals To Develop Renewable Energies

This series of blogs explores current mechanisms in place to finance renewable energies in the Dominican Republic. Be sure not to miss Part 1 on the Dominican Republic’s clean energy entrepreneurs.

Far from the media spotlight, the Dominican Republic is paving its way to a cleaner energy sector. Over the past ten years, the government has published a large set of policies and laws to incentivize renewable energy production. Lifting clean-energy development to a constitutional objective, Article 67 of the Constitution of 2010 reads, “The State shall promote in the public and the private sector the use of clean alternative technologies to preserve the environment.

Law 57-07 to incentivize the production of energy from renewable sources

A whole corpus of domestic laws recognizing the necessity to transition the energy sector to cleaner fuels has been instituted during the past decade, culminating in 2007 with the publication of Law 57-07 on Renewable Sources of Energy Incentives and its Special Regimes and its appending regulation, which sets a target of 25 percent of renewable energies in the country’s final electricity consumption by 2025.  The law also aims at “opening the door” to sustained commercial financing for the renewable sector through financial incentives such as tax exemptions, a feed-in-tariff (FiT), and a national fund for renewable energies, discussed in more detail in this blog series.

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clean energy, climate finance, Dominican Republic, energy policy, environmental policy, feed-in tariff, finance, green power, low-carbon, renewable energies, renewable energy finance, renewable energy investment, renewable energy sources
solar power plant

A utility-scale solar plant, similar to those India will install to meet its Solar Mission targets

Earlier this month, the Indian Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved a fund of 4.86 billion rupees (roughly $108 million) for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in support of India’s National Solar Mission. This financial commitment is the latest step in support of India’s ambitious efforts to dramatically ramp up domestic solar electricity capacity.

MNRE announced the National Solar Mission in 2009 as one of eight missions under India’s 2008 National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). The Solar Mission sets an overall goal of reaching 20,000 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected solar capacity by 2022 (enough to power 20 million Indian homes), with interim targets of 1,000 MW by 2013 and an additional 3,000 MW by 2017. One of MNRE’s aims in establishing the shorter-term targets is to achieve economy-of-scale cost reductions consistent with the dramatic increase in solar installations, so that solar generation will be competitive with overall grid prices in India by the 2022 target date.

The Solar Mission targets are widely recognized as a bold policy-driven acceleration of renewable deployment, especially considering India’s limited existing solar capacity. In 2009, India had 6 MW of grid-connected solar capacity, only 0.004 percent of its 150 gigawatt (GW) total capacity. For comparison, Germany is the world’s leader in installed solar capacity, reaching a total of 17,000 MW at the end of last year. Other countries continue to lag in solar installations. For example 2009 U.S. solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) capacity was 603 MW, just 0.06 percent of its more than 1,000 GW total capacity.

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Climate Change, climate finance, India, renewable energy policy, solar power

The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that between 2011 and 2035, an average of US$316 billion will be needed annually to limit atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to 450 parts per million, consistent with the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The IEA also estimates that some 80 percent of new electrical capacity within the coming decades will be installed in developing countries. Although these countries are already investing massively in renewable energy technologies, international support is needed to make this transition happen at the speed required to stabilize the global climate.

Spending Wisely

The Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing states that "Spending resources wisely is critical to building the mutual confidence needed to mobilize climate finance"

Development assistance for renewable energy in developing countries increased to more than $13 billion in 2010, and multilateral development banks (MDBs) are increasing their financing for renewables. A joint MDB report to the G8 identified $4.2 billion in investment in renewable energy in 2009, and another $4.9 billion for climate-related development policy loans.  According to the MDBs’ strategic objectives and current pipeline, renewables financing is projected to increase to $5.9 billion by 2012, with an additional $4.6 billion for climate-related development policy loans.

Yet these financial flows constitute only a small portion of the finance needed. This shortfall has sparked a debate over the “smartest” use of these funds.

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Climate Change, climate finance, feed-in tariffs, leverage finance, low-carbon, renewable energy, wind power

The World Bank and other MDBs are increasing funding for renewable energy

Commercial lending for sustainable energies has slowed in the wake of the financial crisis, but support from multilateral development banks is on the rise. This multilateral support, however, only accounted for almost one-eighth of the global sustainable energy investment in 2009. Recent estimates suggest that the public financing needed to achieve a stabilized global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius far exceeds this amount.

Despite this limited means, support from multilateral banks is critical in developing countries transitioning to a sustainable energy sector, as these institutions provide technical assistance, concessional loans, and guarantees that can help mitigate the perceived risks associated with renewable energy technologies. The banks also play an important role in building the conditions that enable investors and commercial financiers to plan investments in these sectors.

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ADB, carbon capture and storage, climate finance, EIB, finance, IDB, nuclear power, project finance, renewable energy, renewable energy finance, World Bank