Exploring The Outcomes And Consequences Of COP 26

February 1, 2022

In an online meeting on January 27th, the ENGAGE project and a broad group of stakeholders from across the world explored what happened at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow and what this means for research.
Inspired by the opening comments made by a distinguished panel composed of representatives from the UNFCCC secretariat, the European Commission, Brazil, India and the USA, followed by two presentations from the ENGAGE project, the participants discussed the research needs and suggested the following priorities:
Research is required to support increasing the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and in particular to support the urgently needed implementation of proposed emissions reductions. This includes providing transparent and regularly updated tracking of how pledges (at the national and subnational levels) evolve over time (e.g., countries implementing or giving up on pledges). More research is needed on which countries and sectors are setting goals but not implementing them, and on other countries that may not have pledges yet but have been quite effective in reducing emissions in the short term.

  • Regarding the global reporting and stock take, research can make an invaluable contribution in demonstrating how to make them forward-thinking and transformative.
  • Considerable research is still needed in the area of finance, including collaborative financing mechanisms and determining the finance needs for developing countries.
  • Research on climate change solutions should pay much more attention to social change and alternative forms of economy (e.g., sharing, degrowth, solidarity, Beyond GDP, green economy).
  • Research must continue on the topics of equity, effort-sharing and environmental justice. What are the implications of these considerations for 2030? How can country pledges be reconciled with equity considerations and effort-sharing?
  • There is an important need for better coverage of non-CO2 greenhouse gases in research.
  • More research is needed to help some developing countries that hesitate to adopt low-carbon technologies, because they fear that these technologies may not perform, or because they do not have the required technical skills or the resources required. There is also the issue of employment, especially in developing countries, due to decarbonization of the power sector.
  • From a modelling perspective: the NDCs needs to be consistent with long-term strategies. Models could be used to see whether there are policies that are less stringent until 2030 and then lead to faster emissions reductions. Is this feasible at the country level? A range of questions related to modelling require answers, e.g., How to capture technology-based mitigation solutions, for example, more biomass carbon capture and storage (CCS) and gas CCS and how models depict gas storage capability levels. How can models be used to carry out a reality check on what is represented in terms of updated costs and stability requirements? How can the demand system be changed and what is a feasible pace for energy demand reductions on a country level? How can differentiated governance levels be included in models?

The online meeting showed that research can play a very significant role over the next few years in shaping responses to climate change. Clear and transparent reporting of the results of scientific research will be needed and policy making must be informed in a holistic manner. This includes communication about the costs of inaction and clearly showing the repercussions of not sticking to the agreed goals. It will also be important to translate model results into more tangible near-term strategies that can better inform policy makers. The discussions also highlighted the continuing need for capacity building so that policy makers understand the research results, and so that scientists can respond more effectively to decision-makers’ and societal needs. Finally, it is essential to support developing countries through knowledge transfer, capacity building, research and development and building infrastructure.

A downloadable version of the above article is available on our Resources for Policymakers page.

Contribute to ENGAGE Research: 5-Minute Survey on Ethical principles and effort sharing mechanisms

February 7, 2022

The ENGAGE research project has developed a 5-minute online elicitation survey to assess perspectives on ethical principles and effort sharing mechanisms for climate change mitigation strategies.

The survey is available here.

The ENGAGE Consortium would really appreciate further distribution of the survey among your network.

The survey results will inform research on global climate mitigation strategies and future climate mitigation modeling efforts.

The survey data will be anonymized and employed exclusively for research purposes.

For more information, please read the brief study description below:

European Commission report on climate action in a post-covid-19 world

Monday, December 6, 2021

As the COVID-19 crisis hit at the beginning stages of the ENGAGE project, the consortium was able to integrate the potential game-changing nature of the crisis into the assessment of multidimensional feasibility and new emissions pathways. As such these contributions and insights were featured in a novel European Commission publication, Climate Action in the Post-COVID-19 World.

ENGAGE contribution, “From COVID-19 shock to green recovery” addressed: power sector dynamics, showing that there was reduced coal use in the power sector during the pandemic, results from policymaker stakeholder surveys, highlighting the expectation that the pandemic will increase the commitment to polices related to low-carbon energy and transport sectors, and how low-energy demand would reduce the costs of meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Contributions included key partners from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), RFF-CMCC European Instute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE), and Central European University (CEU).

Visit the European Commission website for more.

ENGAGE @ COP 26

November 12, 2021

United Action

The 26th United Nations Climate change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) took place in Glasgow from the 31st October-12th November 2021. The summit brought 120 global leaders and other parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. ENGAGE Partners were fortunate to co-organize and participate in three side event sessions at this year’s COP 26 event, highlighting the results of the project and raising awareness to policy makers and relevant stakeholders.

ENGAGE insights for a global effort

Kicking off ENGAGE’s presence on November 1, 2021, were Elina Brutschin and Bas van Ruijven at the EU Pavilion. Brutschin discussed feasibility and ENGAGE results at the session, “What does transforming the energy system really mean? Adaptation, resilience & transition challenges” and van Ruijven followed thereafter discussing net-zero futures and climate change impacts at, “The Journey from Scientific Insights to Societal Action.

Later that week, an international group of ENGAGE partners, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India, the International Institute for Applied systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria, and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) joined together with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Japan, to organize and host a UNFCCC Side-Event on transitioning towards low-carbon and climate resilient pathways by 2050. At this side-event, the presenters showcased different pathways for achieving a just, low-carbon, and climate-resilient transition by 2050. This included key considerations for addressing mitigation and adaptation challenges, such as technology innovations, energy use, and emissions to ratchet up climate ambitions. The hosts were honored to feature Minister George Heyman (British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change) who discussed the Roadmap to a Clean British Columbia to 2030 providing fruitful insights about the actions Canada and British Columbia were taking to combat climate change.

Resources

Three policy briefs have been developed in close cooperation between IIASA, PBL, and Kyoto University for COP 26 in order to further disseminate ENGAGE results directly to policy makers. The policy briefs include topics on: global scenarios, national scenarios, and feasibility.

Finally, ENGAGE and its partners have created a repository of recordings for the UNFCCC Side-Event that the public may access here.

Navigate/Engage Expert Workshop Session

September 22, 2021

As part of a bigger joint NAVIGATE-ENGAGE organized workshop, the ENGAGE consortium organized a workshop session entitled, “Bringing best practice policies of climate mitigation and Sustainable Development Goals to Integrated Assessment Model Scenarios.” The consortium brought together a range of key experts, policy makers, and stakeholders and gathered feedback on the design of the projects’ research activities, scope of analysis, the choice of relevant IAM outputs and policy-relevant scenarios, and the needs for documentation and communication.

The session evaluated the representation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related policies in Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs), identified examples best practice policies from around the world, and discussed whether and how to include these policy representations in IAM scenarios. The session focused on the SDG targets around biodiversity, health, food, water, and energy. The participants identified policies that protect biodiversity, improve health, and guarantee access to water, food, and energy while at the same time mitigating climate change and discussed whether/how to include these policies in global IAMs.

The workshop, “Modelling and assessment of impacts, adaptive capacity, and interactions with Sustainable Development goals in IAMs” was kindly hosted by ENGAGE partner CMCC and co-organized by the University of Geneva’s Faculty of Science. The overall workshop attracted 150 participants over the course of three days.

Asian Stakeholder Workshop: decarbonization pathways

The partners of the ENGAGE project held an Asian Stakeholder Workshop on Thursday, September 16, 2021 and Friday, September 17, 2021 wherein the partners presented new research results while collecting fruitful inputs from the 83 stakeholders, hailing from different parts of East, South, and Southeast Asia, on the feasibility and equity of national decarbonization targets.

The Stakeholder Workshop materials can be found here on the ENGAGE website. The page includes the presentations given by the expert partners as well as recordings from the workshop, links to feasibility models, and supplementary reading.

New framework to enhance national climate action and achieve global goals

With the COP Climate conference in Glasgow only a few months away, the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and the importance of taking action at the national level to reach global climate goals is returning to the spotlight. IIASA researchers and colleagues have proposed a novel systematic and independent scenario framework that could help policymakers assess and compare climate policies and long-term strategies across countries to support coordinated global climate action.

In a new perspective published in the journal Nature Climate Change, IIASA guest researcher and associate professor of environmental engineering at Kyoto University, Shinichiro Fujimori and colleagues endeavored to address this problem by presenting a systematic and standardized, yet flexible, scenario framework. Starting with projected emission levels of the NDCs for 2030, the framework varies 2050 emissions to explore alternative long-term targets for 2050. Applying the framework to six major Asian countries (China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam), for instance, successfully revealed individual challenges in energy system transformation and investment needs in comparable scenarios. According to the researchers, this framework could be a starting point for comprehensive and independent assessments as input to the global stock take over the coming years.

Read more here

Access the article here

Fig: Illustrative example of the interpretation of the NLPs using Japan as a case study

3rd Project Meeting off to a great start

96 participants from more than 30 institutions and 15 countries joined us for the Opening Plenary session of the 3rd Project Meeting, which is being held virtually from 1-5 March 2021.

Over the coming days, researchers will be meeting to share their findings from recent research, including a feasibility framework and a new generation of decarbonisation pathways. The bulk of the meeting will be composed of brainstorming sessions and discussions on our future work, such as how to incorporate feasibility into global and national models.

The project meeting also includes a capacity building workshop for Asian national partners to kick off planning for regional stakeholder meetings.

Stakeholder meeting on the Paris Agreement implementation and low-emission pathways in a COVID-19 world

Over 100 participants joined the ENGAGE, COMMIT, and NAVIGATE teams in a virtual workshop on 18 November 2020 to hear the latest information from modelling teams and policymakers on the relationships between COVID-19, low-emission pathways in line with the Paris Agreement climate goals, and the next steps in the Paris Agreement implementation process.

Representatives from PBL, the UNFCCC, IIASA, and CMCC shared insights into the implications of COVID for UNFCCC processes and timelines, the results of an expert and policymaker survey on the potential impact of COVID on climate policy, and what we know so far about Paris-compatible pathways in light of COVID-19. COPPE and NewClimate provided more information about country-specific measures for a green recovery and climate action. Officials from South Africa, Germany, and the US then presented national perspectives on climate action and COVID-19 recovery.

Leading questions covered in the discussions
  • What are the implications of COVID for the climate policy making process?
  • In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, do we need to update our understanding of a transition to a carbon neutral future in line with the Paris goals?
  • Can ambitious climate action scenarios be seen as COVID-recovery scenarios?
  • What are the possibilities for a green recovery?​

Joint ENGAGE-NAVIGATE European stakeholder meeting on the impact of the COVID pandemic on decarbonization goals

The ENGAGE and NAVIGATE projects jointly hosted a workshop for European stakeholders on 28 September. The meeting took a participatory approach to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing recovery packages could affect the achievement of decarbonization goals.

The discussion was supported by short inputs from the ENGAGE and NAVIGATE projects on recent surveys that have been carried out, as well as ongoing research on demand and supply shocks, lifestyle changes and recovery packages as a result of the pandemic. Stakeholders and researchers from the project discussed constraints and enablers in break-out sessions, with experts from policy, business and industry, civil society and academia coming together to share their insights.

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