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NEWS: Catch up on the national low-carbon action debate


On 23 October, CDKN co-hosted a national low-carbon action debate in London. Discussions ranged from creating the right financial conditions to developing a new model for sharing lessons learned. If you couldn’t be there, you can now watch the event on video.

A video from the event Sharing lessons on national low-carbon action is now available for viewing via the ODI website. At the event, which took place at the Overseas Development Institute last month, a speaker panel lead a lively debate on national action on climate compatible development. Insights came from projects supported by joint hosts CDKN, the LEDS Global Partnership and ODI. Country perspectives came from Bangladesh, Latin America, the UK and the USA.

The event sought to explore: the enabling role of the finance sector and how conditions for private-sector low-carbon investment can be created; approaches on national low-carbon action in Least Developed Countries; and how national low-carbon action is being accelerated through multi-stakeholder national planning approaches, international knowledge sharing, networks and think tanks.

The panel included:

Dr Atiur Rahman, Governor of the Bank of Bangladesh. Probably the greenest central banker in the world, he spoke about convincing key stakeholders, particularly within the private sector, of the need for low-carbon action. One of his methods was to take CEOs on roadshows. He updated the gathering on moves Bangladesh is making to create the financial conditions for taking low-carbon action, including introducing new green banking guidelines and using locally owned models. These include the ‘four cow’ model, for producing organic fertilizer and biogas, and plans to expand the use of solar technology.

Susannah Fisher, Researcher, Climate Change Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development. She spoke about how the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in, submitting National Adaptation Programmes of Action, working on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, and prioritising quick wins on national low-carbon development planning. Her examples included Ethiopia’s sectoral approach and FONERWA in Rwanda.

• Ron Benioff, Director of the LEDS Global Partnership and Manager of Multilateral Programs, US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He challenged participants to think about how to effectively share knowledge on low-emissions development so it results in collective national low-carbon action. He suggested a new model; which the LEDS Global Partnership is scoping, called the  ICAN model. Benioff said this concept could promote low-carbon action, explaining that the ‘I’ has three meanings: empowering Individuals; fostering Inspiration; and promoting Innovation; the ‘C’ is for Collective action; and the ‘N’ is for network.

• Pippa Heylings, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, CDKN. She related experiences of the Mitigation Action Planning Scenarios (MAPS) process, in Peru and Chile. She underlined the importance of engaging multiple stakeholders through processes such as MAPS, saying that they provide essential building blocks for agreements on national low-carbon action. She explained that the sources of research, the models and baselines to be used and the facilitation approach could all be agreed in this way.

• Edward Hogg, Senior Policy Advisor, 2050 International, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. He spoke on the need for long- and mid-term targets, saying that although it’s good to pick the ‘low-hanging efficiency fruits’ it’s essential to also plan for the longer term. There are now over one million ‘green’ jobs in the UK, he reported. He recommended that nations seeking scenario calculators should try the 2050 calculator. This tool enables users to explore how the UK can meet its 2050 emissions-reduction target, but it can be easily adapted for use by other countries.

• Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Programme, World Resources Institute. She urged civil society and think tanks to use their ‘networking’ muscles to work with governments and other stakeholders, and engage the press, to help change national narratives on taking action to reduce carbon emissions.

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