10 November 2016

Africa: Climate Threat, Action Tracks

analysis

"Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new President's rash words about withdrawing from the international climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate change," Geoffrey Kamese from Friends of the Earth Africa.

There is no doubt that the election of Donald Trump poses an extreme threat to action on climate change, as on a host of other interconnected issues. But, in this case, as in many others, it is important to remember that a U.S. president, no matter how powerful, is only one of the forces affecting the outcomes.

Yes, this is a major setback, but the threat did not begin with Trump and the struggles to combat it must and will continue - on multiple fronts. While no one organization or movement can fight on all fronts, those forces fighting for justice and for a future for our planet must have a vision of a wider background than one U.S. presidential election.

The context is not only the United States, but the world. And the arenas are not only political (at multiple levels of government, and even within the executive branch of the federal government itself), but also technical, economic, and activist (from divestment to protest sites such as the Dakota Pipeline). No one organization or even movement can be on all fronts at once, but together we must find ways to strategies embedded in a wider vision rather than engage in fruitless debates about which action track is the "most important."

This AfricaFocus Bulletin consists of excerpts from a selection of statements and articles illustrating the multiple tracks on which action to combat the threat of global warming can and must take place, globally, in Africa, and in the United States.

The first two statements are reactions from climate activists to the additional threat posed by the election of Donald Trump.

The third highlights the continuing technical and economic success of cheap off-grid and mini-grid solar in Africa, which is now estimated to be reaching 10% of the 600,000 Africans living off national electricity grids.

The next provides a summary of both the necessity and the economic and technical viability of a comprehensive transition away from fossil fuels, from Oil Change International and a coalition of related organizations.

The fifth is an open letter from climate activist groups to the Equator Principles Association of banks committed to social responsibility principles, calling for withdrawal of support for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The sixth is an update from the International Energy Agency, revising upwards its projections for growth of renewable energy worldwide.

And the last is a report from South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) noting that "new power from solar PV and wind today is at least 40% cheaper than that from new baseload coal today."

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on the environment and climate issues, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-env.php

Other background articles worth noting:

"There's no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet," Vox, Nov 9, 2016 http://tinyurl.com/oturdlb

"10 Ways You Can Help the Standing Rock Sioux Fight the Dakota Access Pipeline" http://tinyurl.com/zsgdejf

"Deep breaths. Now let's plan the fight ahead," 350.org, Nov 9, 2016

[Excerpts: full text at https://350.org/deep-breaths-now-lets-plan-the-fight-ahead/]

Here's what I'm keeping in mind right now:

This is a global movement. It's more important than ever to remember our connection with people in literally every country who are fighting the fossil fuel industry right now — many in the toughest conditions imaginable. I believe in our collective power like nothing else.

The fossil fuel industry is in a fight for its life. When we expose their lies, stop their pipelines, divest from their stocks and take away their social license — they fight back. Their investment in this election was no secret, and they're going to double-down in its aftermath.

Local fossil fuel resistance is taking root everywhere. Not only has the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline spread like wildfire, but other campaigns against fracking, pipelines, and coal are too many to name. None of us are giving up or going home today.

Global Community Must Unite Against Trump to Avoid Climate Catastrophe

Friends of the Earth International

Joint Press release

9 November 2016

http://tinyurl.com/pe4u693

As news of Donald Trump's victory in the US Presidential Election reached Marrakech, climate justice groups gathered at the COP22 United Nations annual climate change talks reacted:

"Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate justice - Native American communities, people of color, working people - those that are at this moment defending water rights in Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable energy transformation - are the real beating heart of the movement for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice at home and abroad.. In the absence of leadership from our government, the international community must come together redouble their effort to prevent climate disaster," said Jesse Bragg, from Boston-based Corporate Accountability International.

"For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens' choice to elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is under threat. The international community must not allow itself to be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our communities," said Wilfred D'Costa from the Asian Peoples' Movement on Debt and Development.

"The Paris Agreement was signed and ratified not by a President, but by the United States itself. One man alone, especially in the twenty-first century, should not strip the globe of the climate progress that it has made and should continue to make. As a matter of international law, and as a matter of human survival, the nations of the world can, must, and will hold the United States to its climate commitments. And it's incumbent upon U.S. communities to unite and push forth progressive climate policies on a state and local level, where federal policy does not reign," said Jean Su from California-based Center for Biological Diversity.

"As a young woman and first-time voter I will not tolerate Trump's denialism of the action needed for climate justice. Our country must undergo a systemic change and just transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within my lifetime. The next four years are critical for getting on the right pathway, and the disastrous election of Trump serves as a solemn reminder of the path ahead of us. As young people and as climate justice movements we will be demanding real action on climate for the sake of our brothers and sisters around the world and for all future generations," said Becky Chung from the youth network SustainUS.

As prices plunge, Africa surges into clean, cheap solar energy

Maina Waruru

Mail and Guardian, 12 Oct 2016

http://tinyurl.com/nu7f9v8

Solar systems in Africa can now provide electricity for many households for as little as $56 a year.

Last August Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in place 23 mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar panels, wind or a combination of the two. (Bloomberg) Last August Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in place 23 mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar panels, wind or a combination of the two. (Bloomberg) Until almost two years ago, James Mbugua, a farmer living in Karai, a village on the outskirts of Kenya's capital, relied on kerosene to light his house, and a car battery to power his television so he wouldn't miss the news.

Part of the reason he couldn't plug into the power grid, despite being so close to Nairobi and in an area where electricity is readily available, is that he lives on government land as a squatter, with no papers to show he owns the 70-foot by 80-foot parcel where he has put up a makeshift house.

Now, however, he has found an alternative: An affordable solar system to power his home.

"I could not go on like that and had to seek an alternative way of lighting my house and I discovered that with only $150 I could use solar to light my house and power the television plus radio," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The money for the purchase, he said, came from a loan from his community savings group, which asks members to contribute $5 a month and then offers loans from that pot of cash.

The father of five grown children is one of the millions of people across Africa who are taking advantage of falling prices of home solar panel systems to get cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), home solar systems in Africa can now provide electricity for many households for as little as $56 a year - a cost lower than getting energy from diesel or paraffin.

Of the estimated 600 million people living off-grid in Africa, about 10 percent of them are now using off-grid clean energy to light their homes, according to IRENA statistics.

"About 60 million people may be using off-grid renewable electricity of some kind in Africa. That is about 10 percent of those living off-grid," IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said at a recent off-grid renewable energy conference in Nairobi.

Solar, phones and cash

In East Africa alone, more than 350,000 people are now using solar panels to light their homes and technologies such as mobile phonebased money transfers to pay for the technology, he said. That suggests renewable energy could be a major driver to help the region meet a new U.N. Sustainable Development Goal to provide universal access to electricity by 2030.

"Here in Kenya, we find ourselves at one of the global epicenters of growth, where solar products combined with pay-as-you-go models and mobile payment technologies are breaking new ground in bottom-up electricity sector development," Amin said.

According to Joseph Njoroge, Kenya's energy and petroleum principal secretary, solar mini-grids - small-scale electricity networks, sometimes combined with wind power as well - are expected to play a major role in bringing electricity to sparsely populated but vast northern Kenya, as well as to other areas not connected to the national grid.

"We have a third of Kenya's population living in the northern part of the country, which is also two-thirds of the total area of the country, and it is here that we shall hugely deploy solar mini-grids to attain universal access to power - possibly even before the year 2030", Njoroge said.

Last August Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in place 23 mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar panels, wind or a combination of the two.

60 percent price drop?

IRENA predicts that ongoing renewable energy innovation, including new business models and finance, will result in a 60 percent decrease in the cost of producing electricity from renewable minigrids in the next 20 years.

Such significant cost drops are being seen not just in Africa but across the world, IRENA officials said. They attribute the cost declines to technological innovations, changes in regulatory policies and an improved investment environment for private money.

Solar home lighting systems - which now cost about $120 for a smallscale system in Kenya - have fallen by as much as 80 percent since 2010, according to IRENA. The agency noted that it expects the trend to continue.

At the same time, investments in off-grid solar systems globally grew by 15 times between 2012 and 2015, with $276 million spent on them in 2015.

Employment in the renewable energy sector worldwide hit 8.1 million jobs in 2015, an increase of 1.3 million compared to 2014, IRENA said. Solar panels led the way with 2.7 million jobs created.

In addition to lighting homes for the poor, off-grid renewable energy is being used to power things like health and education facilities, agriculture and water access - helping achieve at least a dozen of the other new Sustainable Development Goals, an IRENA report said. - Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Sky's Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production

Greg Muttitt, September 22, 2016

Oil Change International, in collaboration with 350.org, Amazon Watch, APMDD, AYCC, Bold Alliance, Christian Aid, Earthworks, Équiterre, Global Catholic Climate Movement, HOMEF, Indigenous Environmental Network, IndyAct, Rainforest Action Network, and Stand.earth

http://priceofoil.org/2016/09/22/the-skys-limit-report/

September 2016

Press Release

A new study released by Oil Change International, in partnership with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves - where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.

Key Findings:

The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world's currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2deg C of warming.

The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.

With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Key Recommendations:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.

Some fields and mines - primarily in rich countries - should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.

This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

Executive Summary

In December 2015, world governments agreed to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C, and to strive to limit it to 1.5°C. This report examines, for the first time, the implications of these climate boundaries for energy production and use.

Our key findings are:

The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world's currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.

The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.

With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

One of the most powerful climate policy levers is also the simplest: stop digging for more fossil fuels. We therefore recommend:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.

Some fields and mines - primarily in rich countries - should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.

This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

In August 2015, just months before the Paris climate talks, President Anote Tong of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati called for an end to construction of new coal mines and coal mine expansions. This report expands his call to all fossil fuels

Enough Already

The Paris Agreement aims to help the world avoid the worst effects of climate change and respond to its already substantial impacts. The basic climate science involved is simple: cumulative carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions over time are the key determinant of how much global warming occurs. a This gives us a finite carbon budget of how much may be emitted in total without surpassing dangerous temperature limits.

We consider carbon budgets that would give a likely (66%) chance of limiting global warming below the 2°C limit beyond which severe dangers occur, or a medium (50%) chance of achieving the 1.5°C goal. Fossil fuel reserves - the known below-ground stocks of extractable fossil fuels - significantly exceed these budgets. For the 2°C or 1.5°C limits, respectively 68% or 85% of reserves must remain in the ground.

This report focuses on the roughly 30% of reserves in oil fields, gas fields, and coal mines that are already in operation or under construction. These are the sites where the necessary wells have been (or are being) drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed. These developed reserves are detailed in Figure ES-1, along with assumed future emissions from the two major non-energy sources of emissions: land use and cement manufacture.

We see that - in the absence of a major change in the prospects of carbon capture and storage (CCS): * The oil, gas, and coal in already-producing fields and mines are more than we can afford to burn while keeping likely warming below 2°C.

The oil and gas alone are more than we can afford for a medium chance of keeping to 1.5°C.

When You're in A Hole, Stop Digging

Traditional climate policy has largely focused on regulating at the point of emissions, while leaving the supply of fossil fuels to the market. If it ever was, that approach is no longer supportable. Increased extraction leads directly to higher emissions, through lower prices, infrastructure lock-in, and perverse political incentives. Our analysis indicates a hard limit to how much fossil fuel can be extracted, which can be implemented only by governments:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.

Continued construction would either commit the world to exceeding 2°C of warming, and/or require an abrupt end to fossil fuel production and use at a later date (with increasing severity depending on the delay). Yet right now, projected investment in new fields, mines, and transportation infrastructure over the next twenty years is $14 trillion - either a vast waste of money or a lethal capital injection. The logic is simple: whether through climate change or stranded assets, a failure to begin a managed decline now would inevitably entail major economic and social costs.

The good news is that there is already progress toward stopping new fossil fuel development. China and Indonesia have declared moratoria on new coal mine development, and the United States has done so on federal lands. These three countries account for roughly two-thirds of the world's current coal production. In 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by noting that some fossil fuels should be left in the ground, and there is growing recognition of the importance of a climate test in decisions regarding new fossil fuel infrastructure. d There is an urgent need to make the coal moratoria permanent and worldwide, and to stop new oil and gas development as well.

Ending new fossil fuel construction would bring us much closer to staying within our carbon budgets, but it is still not enough to achieve the Paris goals. To meet them, some early closure of existing operations will be required. Every country should do its fair share, determined by its capacity to act, along with its historic responsibility for causing climate change. With just 18% of the world's population, industrialized countries have accounted for over 60% of emissions to date, and possess far greater financial resources to address the climate problem.

Most early closures should therefore take place in industrialized countries, beginning with (but not limited to) coal. While politically pragmatic, the approach of stopping new construction tends to favor countries with mature fossil fuel industries; therefore, part of their fair share should include supporting other countries on the path of development without fossil fuels, especially in providing universal access to energy. Therefore:

Some fields and mines - primarily in rich countries - should be closed before fully exploiting their reserves, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries. Additionally, production should be discontinued wherever it violates the rights of local people - including indigenous peoples - or where it seriously damages biodiversity.

A Managed Decline And A Just Transition

Stopping new construction does not mean turning off the taps overnight. Existing fields and mines contain a finite stock of extractable fossil fuels. Depleting these stocks, even including some early closures, would entail a gradual transition in which extraction rates would decline over a few decades. This is consistent with a rate of expansion of clean energy that is both technically and economically possible.

We consider a simple modelling of world energy sources under two scenarios: 50% renewable energy by 2035 and 80% by 2045, both with a complete phase-out of coal usage, except in steel production. It is compared with the projected oil and gas extraction from existing fields alone.

We conclude that:

While existing fields and mines are depleted over the coming decades, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace. While this pace of renewable energy expansion will require policy support, it continues existing trends. In many countries - large and small, rich and poor - clean energy is already being deployed at scale today. Denmark now generates more than 40% of its electricity from renewable sources, Germany more than 30%, and Nicaragua 36%. China is now the largest absolute generator of renewable electricity, and expanding renewable generation quickly. In most contexts, the costs of wind and solar power are now close to those of gas and coal; in some countries renewable costs are already lower. The expansion of renewable energy will be harder where there are weak grids in developing countries, hence the importance of climate finance in supporting a non-carbon transition.

As for transportation, electric vehicles are now entering the mainstream and are on course to soon be cheaper than gasoline or diesel cars. With sufficient policy support and investment, the growth in clean energy can match the needed decline in fossil fuel extraction and use.

While there are clear advantages to clean energy - lower costs, greater employment, reduced local pollution, and ultimately greater financial returns - the transition will not be painless. Energy workers' skills and locations may not be well matched to the new energy economy. Whole communities still depend on fossil fuel industries. There is a vital need for a careful, just transition to maximize the benefits of climate action while minimizing its negative impacts.

Governments should provide training and social protection for affected energy workers and communities. Where appropriate, they should require energy companies to offer viable careers to their workers in non-carbon areas of their business. Governments should also consult with communities to kick-start investments that will enable carbon- dependent regions to find a new economic life. Waiting is not an option; planning and implementation must begin now:

Governments and companies should conduct a proactively managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

An open letter to the Equator Principles Association

Civil society groups call for stronger climate commitments in EPs and a halt to financing the Dakota Access Pipeline

By: BankTrack,Friends of the Earth US,others & RAN

For full version, including signatories and references, visit http://www.banktrack.org/ - Direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/p4pwhpr

Nov 7 2016

[For contact on this letter: johan@banktrack.org)] To: Mr. Nigel Beck, Standard Bank, Chair of the Equator Principles Association, All Equator Principles Financial institutions (EPFIs)

Concerning: Equator Principles climate commitments, and EPFI financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, for discussion at your Annual Meeting and Workshop in London

Dear Mr. Beck,

The undersigned organizations are writing to you, as Chair of the Equator Principles Association, to urge the Association at its upcoming Annual Meeting in London to address two distinct and important issues:

Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) must take long overdue, concrete steps to strengthen their climate commitments.

Our deep concern about the involvement of a substantial number of EPFIs in the financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

Strong climate change commitments from EPFIs needed

As you will be aware, your Annual Meeting coincides with the start of the Marrakech Climate Summit, where governments will seek ways to implement the Paris Climate Agreement that came into effect on November 4. As is already clear, commitments made thus far by state parties to the agreement will not keep average global temperature rise below the agreed 2 degree Celsius threshold, let alone the desired 1.5 degree target.[1] To achieve this, much more needs to be done, urgently, by state and non-state parties alike.

The Equator Principles (EPs), being the prime sustainability initiative of 85 of the world's leading banks, could play an important role in strengthening the climate commitments of adopting banks. This would also be in the best interest of those banks, given that the EPs are meant to be an 'enhanced risk management framework for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk', presumably with 'climate change' included as a major risk.

Given the magnitude of the current climate crisis one would expect that the EPs demand a high level of climate due diligence to be conducted, not only to assess the potential impact of climate change on projects under consideration, but also - and more importantly - to assess how these projects will contribute to, or may jeopardize, reaching the globally agreed climate targets of the Paris Agreement.

It would then be imperative that such identified risks are avoided wherever possible. This would require the mandatory choice of the least Greenhouse Gas (GHG) intensive alternative for all proposed projects[2], but also the withholding of finance for all projects and business activities that pose an unacceptably large climate risk. Such stringent due diligence and selection procedures, combined with the a priori categorical exclusion of all projects that by their very nature strongly contribute to climate change (most notably all fossil fuel extraction and transportation infrastructure, and all fossil fuel based energy generation projects[3]) must then necessarily result in major shifts in the overall portfolio of EPFIs.

However, the reality today is very different. It took over a decade for the word 'climate' to even appear in the text of the EPs. But the current, 2014 version of the EPs (EPIII), in which the word finally appears, still seems to be in near-complete denial on the severity of the climate crisis, as it places almost no meaningful climate conditionality on prospective clients and projects.

Meanwhile, EPFIs have continued to enthusiastically finance new coal mines and coal power plants, oil exploration projects and pipelines, gas fracking projects and LNG terminals all over the world.[4] The fact that all these climate destroying projects are stamped with an 'Equator Compliant' seal of approval not only provides project sponsors with a wholly undeserved claim to sustainability, but it also makes a complete mockery of the pretention of the EPFIs to adequately manage social and environmental risk that impact on their business.

Change in the climate approach of the EPs is urgently needed and long overdue. We urgently call upon your Association to use this Annual Meeting to start strengthening your collective climate commitments, by including stringent and binding climate criteria for all projects to be considered under the EP framework, and by categorically excluding all energy projects with an unacceptably large impact on climate change, starting with all coal power plants.

Fortunately, the urgency of this matter is not lost on some of your members; over the last two years a number of EPFIs have adopted climate and energy policies that move way beyond the EPs.[5] It is time for the EP Association as a whole to side with the leaders in your group and move ahead, rather than be content with the EPs merely reflecting the lowest common denominator.

Equator bank funds for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)

Our organizations have been astonished to learn that no less than 13 EPFIs are involved in a credit agreement with Dakota Access LLC and Energy Transfer Crude Oil Company LLC, to borrow up to $2.5 billion to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline in the United States.[6] An additional 8 EPFIs are providing further credit to the project sponsors.[7]

As you are aware, the proposed 1,172 mile-long DAPL is the subject of huge international outcry, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, but supported by the tribal governments of over 280 other tribes and allies from all over the world.[8] This growing global resistance opposes DAPL because it threatens air and water resources in the region and further downstream, and because the pipeline trajectory is cutting through Native American sacred territories and unceded Treaty lands. Harm to Native areas has already occurred when DAPL personnel deliberately desecrated documented burial grounds and other culturally important sites. Native American opponents to the project emphasize that the DAPL struggle is about larger Native liberation, self-determination and survival at the hands of colonial corporations and compliant government actors.

Over the last months, an ever growing number of Native water protectors and their thousands of allies have converged peacefully in the pipeline construction area to halt further construction of the project. In response to this strictly-peaceful, on-site resistance, police from multiple U.S. states and agencies, members of the U.S. National Guard, and armed private security forces working for project sponsors have used military equipment, tactics and weapons to intimidate, assault, arrest and otherwise commit grievous human rights violations against water protectors and their allies. Indiscriminate use of attack dogs, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, tazers and mace are reported, while journalists covering the assault on non-violent water protectors have been arrested. Protesters that have been arrested have been subjected to inhumane treatment that involved, amongst other things, being locked up naked, or cramped without food and warmth into dog kennels.[9]

The debacle has escalated into a national crisis and an international scandal. A member of the UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has been deployed to North Dakota to monitor the situation, while President Obama has intervened to ask the Army Corps of Engineers to examine alternative routes for the pipeline. Meanwhile, the protest at Standing Rock is backed by over a million - and growing - allies worldwide, with numerous solidarity actions springing up across the United States and beyond, including protests at EPFI headquarters and outlets.

The world is closely watching how all actors involved will deal with the situation, including the banks that provide financial support to the project. Given the presumed Indigenous rights commitments of EPFIs, it is for us inexplicable that gross violations of Native land titles, threats to water sources and the desecration of burial grounds have not been identified early on as reasons for EPFIs to not provide funding for this project. However, this unfortunately fits into a documented and consistent pattern of disrespect of local communities and Indigenous rights by EPFI-backed projects worldwide.

We understand that it is not the role of the EP Association to intervene in specific project situations. Nevertheless, we consider it crucial for the credibility of the Equator Principles as an effective safeguard against violation of Indigenous Peoples' rights that your meeting calls upon the EPFIs involved in financing DAPL that they take swift action to stop the ongoing violation of the rights of Native Americans.

This for now requires that all further loan disbursements to the project are put on hold, and that the EPFIs involved demand from the project sponsors an immediate halt to the construction of the pipeline and all associated structures, until all outstanding issues are resolved to the full satisfaction of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

We kindly request to hear from you as soon as possible on how the EP Annual Meeting has dealt with these two crucial issues and suggest that we further discuss them at our already planned meeting in January.

We wish you a good and productive meeting.

Sincerely

Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, Netherlands

IEA raises its five-year renewable growth forecast as 2015 marks record year (Paris)

International Energy Agency 25 October 2016

https://www.iea.org - Direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/h6x3qrc

The International Energy Agency said today that it was significantly increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables thanks to strong policy support in key countries and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.

The latest edition of the IEA's Medium-Term Renewable Market Report now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 than it did in last year's forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing in the United States, China, India and Mexico. Over the forecast period, costs are expected to drop by a quarter in solar PV and 15 percent for onshore wind.

Last year marked a turning point for renewables. Led by wind and solar, renewables represented more than half the new power capacity around the world, reaching a record 153 Gigawatt (GW), 15% more than the previous year. Most of these gains were driven by record-level wind additions of 66 GW and solar PV additions of 49 GW.

About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world last year. In China, which accounted for about half the wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases, two wind turbines were installed every hour in 2015.

"We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables and, as is the case with other fields, the center of gravity for renewable growth is moving to emerging markets," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director.

There are many factors behind this remarkable achievement: more competition, enhanced policy support in key markets, and technology improvements. While climate change mitigation is a powerful driver for renewables, it is not the only one. In many countries, cutting deadly air pollution and diversifying energy supplies to improve energy security play an equally strong role in growing low-carbon energy sources, especially in emerging Asia.

Over the next five years, renewables will remain the fastest-growing source of electricity generation, with their share growing to 28% in 2021 from 23% in 2015.

Renewables are expected to cover more than 60% of the increase in world electricity generation over the medium term, rapidly closing the gap with coal. Generation from renewables is expected to exceed 7600 TWh by 2021 -- equivalent to the total electricity generation of the United States and the European Union put together today.

But while 2015 was an exceptional year, there are still grounds for caution. Policy uncertainty persists in too many countries, slowing down the pace of investments. Rapid progress in variable renewables such as wind and solar PV is also exacerbating system integration issues in a number of markets; and the cost of financing remains a barrier in many developing countries. And finally, progress in renewable growth in the heat and transport sectors remains slow and needs significantly stronger policy efforts.

The IEA also sees a two-speed world for renewable electricity over the next five years. While Asia takes the lead in renewable growth, this only covers a portion of the region's fast-paced rise in electricity demand. China alone is responsible for 40% of global renewable power growth, but that represents only half of the country's electricity demand increase.

This is in sharp contrast with the European Union, Japan and the United States where additional renewable generation will outpace electricity demand growth between 2015 and 2021.

The IEA report identifies a number of policy and market frameworks that would boost renewable capacity growth by almost 30% in the next five years, leading to an annual market of around 200 GW by 2020. This accelerated growth would put the world on a firmer path to meeting long-term climate goals.

"I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next five years are more optimistic," said Dr. Birol. "However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables. The IEA will be working with governments around the world to maximize the deployment of renewables in coming years."

Comparative Analysis: The cost of new power generation in South Africa

Chris Yelland

Daily Maverick, 9 November 2016

http://tinyurl.com/nbdwh3o

In a presentation dated October 14, 2016, the head of CSIR's Energy Centre, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, and Ruan Fourie, energy economist at CSIR's Energy Centre, provide a comparative analysis for new power in South Africa based on recent coal IPP bid price announcements by Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson on October 10, 2016, and other data.

This study is seen as important for any review of the draft update to the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (Draft IRP) currently in progress by the Department of Energy (DoE).

The Draft IRP was to have been presented to the Cabinet last week, and thereafter made available to the public for comment, but this has since been delayed, with no further dates being given.

Since the previous due date of end March 2016, the request for proposals (RFP) for the proposed 9.6 GW new nuclear build in South Africa has also been further delayed from the revised issue date of end September 2016.

However, it is known that in the meantime various stakeholder structures reporting to the Minister of Energy are currently reviewing the Draft IRP and its proposals for new renewable, baseload coal and nuclear power, and making further input and recommendations.

The CSIR study shows the significant reduction in the cost of energy from wind and solar PV generation technologies in South Africa since submission of bids for Window 1 of the renewable energy IPP programme (REIPPP) on November 4, 2011, to those of the expedited round of Window 4 on November 4, 2015.

The result of this reduction is that new power from solar PV and wind today is at least 40% cheaper than that from new baseload coal today.

Recent bid prices for solar PV in Mexico at R0,49/kWh, Dubai at R0.42/kWh, Chile at R0.41/kWh and Abu Dhabi at R0.34/kWh (all based on US $1 = R14) have shown that this significantly reducing price trend is continuing still further globally.

The solar PV, wind and coal IPP tariffs presented by the CSIR for South Africa are fully comparable, because they are all based on long-term take-or-pay contracts with the same off-taker (Eskom). The tariffs have also been suitably adjusted for consistency.

In this regard, the price of R0.61/kWh for new wind and solar PV, and R1.03/kWh for new coal IPPs, reflects an adjustment of the bid prices to ensure a common base-date of April 2016, a consistent present-value-equivalent escalation index of CPI+1%-point, and exclusion of the carbon tax of R120/t of CO2 emitted from the coal IPP tariff.

The CSIR study also presents the latest updated levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) calculations for new Eskom baseload coal at R1.10 to R1.20/kWh, new baseload nuclear at R1.20 to R1.30/kWh, new midmerit gas (CCGT) at R1 to R1.20/kWh, and new mid-merit coal at R1.50/kWh.

The CSIR study and presentation confirms EE Publisher's earlier LCOE calculations for the cost of for new nuclear power in South Africa. The EE Publishers study calculated an LCOE of R1.30/kWh for nuclear power based on Rosatom VVER 1200 reactors, and provided a detailed sensitivity analysis for the various assumptions used.

The CSIR study and presentation of the LCOE for new Eskom baseload coal power is also in line with EE Publishers' own LCOE calculation for Eskom's new Medupi and Kusile baseload coal-fired power stations of R1.05/kWh and R1.16/kWh respectively.

After first rubbishing EE Publishers' LCOE calculations for Medupi and Kusile, citing its own calculation of R0.71/kWh and R0.82/kWh for Medupi and Kusile respectively, Eskom's head of generation, Matshela Koko, subsequently undertook have Eskom's and EE Publishers LCOE calculations independently reviewed.

However, after receiving EE Publishers' detailed analysis of the differences between Eskom's and EE Publishers' methodology and assumptions, Eskom has since reneged on this undertaking, and ignored all efforts to proceed with the independent review it had proposed. DM

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