This section serves as a list of brief and important updates related to green transition. Content is collected via open sources, cross-checked and subsequently re-shared here. All content is handpicked by the Green Transition Observatory Team.
At the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference for Sustainable Development held on 18 November in Samarkand, co-host Josep Borrell, the High Representative and Vice-President, announced the launch of two flagship initiatives for the EU Global Gateway on water, energy, and climate change as well as digital connectivity. These Team Europe programs will support the resilience, prosperity, and regional collaboration outlined in the EU Strategy for Central Asia while also having the potential to make a significant contribution to the region's sustainable economic and human development.
The Team Europe Initiative on Water, Energy, and Climate Change will help five Central Asian nations manage their water and energy resources responsibly, handle environmental issues, and combat climate change.
There will be a combined initial investment of €700 million from the EU, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), including €200 million from the EU budget. This includes brand-new initiatives like the Regional Action for Central Asia in 2023 Europe and the two bilateral water and energy programs with Tajikistan for 2021 and 2022.
The development of a regionally integrated power market, the control of transboundary water resources, and the incorporation of climate change in the regional political discussion on water, energy, and the environment will be the main areas of attention.
By balancing the needs of upstream hydroelectricity generation with downstream water needs for agricultural output, Central Asian countries will be assisted with managing and sharing their scarce water and energy resources responsibly and fairly. The International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea will be improved as part of this project, along with the National Policy Dialogues on Integrated Water Resources Management in Central Asia and the investigation of novel approaches to better manage the water-energy nexus.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, held the second Australia-EU leaders' meeting with Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia, in the margins of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia.
The leaders emphasised their shared commitment to taking urgent and ambitious action: to address climate change, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation to support small, developing and vulnerable states, including Pacific island countries The EU and Australia are committed to developing closer cooperation on climate change and global just energy transition towards climate neutrality pathways.
The relevant ministers will meet in the first half of 2023 to push for high impact opportunities for cooperation. The next Australia-EU High Level Dialogue on Climate Change and High Level Dialogue on Energy will take place in 2023.
The leaders also agreed to cooperate on building resilient, ethical and sustainable critical minerals supply chains, specifically through the future Australia-EU trade agreement.
They highlighted the importance of promoting best practice and alignment on sustainable finance, and the EU welcomed Australia’s interest in joining the International Platform on Sustainable Finance.
The ILO presented a daring cooperation to hasten the creation of green jobs for young people during the first week of the UN Climate Change Conference. It also unveiled the Just Transition Finance Tool on Banking and Investment Activities and unveiled the Just Transition Pavilion.
A collaboration with the UN and other organizations, known as the Youth Pact, seeks to eliminate the skills gap for young people in developing nations and concentrate on sectors that are sensitive to climate change. One million new green occupations, one million current jobs that are greened, and supporting 10,000 green entrepreneurs are among its objectives.
The Pact is a component of the ILO's efforts to encourage a Just Transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. It brings together the ILO, LinkedIn, the European Commission, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Children and Youth Constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Just Transition Finance Tool on Banking and Investment Activities was introduced by the ILO and the London School of Economics Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and Environment on November 10.
The effort intends to give financial institutions useful guidance, cutting-edge techniques, and links to pertinent materials on how to integrate a just transition lens into their operations in accordance with the Paris Agreement. It highlights entry points for a methodical integration of social considerations in financial institutions' approach to a just transition and concentrates on banking and investment activities.
During the launch, Vic Van Vuuren, Director of the Enterprises Department at the ILO, said, “we are seeing first movers, we are seeing concrete actions coming from the financial sector. But to move from the current nascent stage into mainstream, the sector can benefit from further guidance. We trust that the tool will support implementation of tangible measures.”
On November 8 at the United Nations World Summit on Climate Change (COP27), in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Cyprus presented a near-completion plan which alleviates the regional effects of climate change.
“The initiative of the Republic of Cyprus, after holding a series of regional meetings and two Ministerial Meetings with the establishment of an interim Secretariat, is in its final stage of implementation with concrete actions”, President Nikos Anastasiades affirmed.
The president also stated that “A declaration which aims to implement the regional action plan and cross-border activities to halt the climate crisis and mitigate its devastating effects. With the assistance of all the ministries involved, especially the ministry of agriculture and the significant contribution of the Cyprus Institute, we can now boast that we have coordinated and developed an effective, scientifically based, and targeted regional action plan”.
The initiative's goals include lowering greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, guiding the switch to cleaner, renewable energy sources, encouraging companies to invest in green technologies, and generating new jobs in the green sector.
The regional plan involves more than 240 scientists and technocrats from the wider region and comprises focused projects in 13 theme areas on topics like energy, technology, migration, cultural heritage, water resources, research, tourism, and water and forestry resources.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed his appreciation for President Anastasiades’s commitment to achieve outcomes that could result in the realization of climate pledges.
He also emphasized that one of the most crucial instruments for international climate action is the Voluntary Initiatives (VIs), which were created to mobilize efforts to combat climate change.
With a clear message that the world is on a highway to climate hell, unless fast and bold climate action is taken, the UN Secretaty General Antonio Guteres initiated today the COP27 Summit in Egypt.
According to the UN Secretary General “the science is clear, any hope of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees means achieving global net zero emissions by 2050… We need all hands on deck for faster, bolder, climate action. A window of opportunity remains open, but only a narrow shaft of light remains. The global climate fight will be won or lost, and one thing is certain, those that give up are sure to lose.”
From November 6 – 18, 110 world leaders and ministers gathered in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for the biggest annual conference on climate action, COP27. The key aim of COP27 is to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and builds upon the results of COP26 to fulfill commitments to finance climate action in developing countries, as well as to act on a number of other issues crucial to addressing the climate emergency, such as rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fostering resilience, and adapting to the unavoidable effects of climate change.
The Conference takes place within a deteriorating geopolitical environment, with millions of people around the world currently dealing with the effects of concurrent energy, food, water, and cost of living crises. In this unfavorable environment, some nations have started to stall or reverse their climate policy and increased their reliance on fossil fuels.
As Cyprus is urged to transition to follow a one-way road towards the investment of renewable energy resources and interconnectivity, The Mediterranean Growth Initiative (MGI), PRIO, and Alma Economics examined the situation in Cyprus and established a general course for the future of the country's energy market and interconnectivity in the area.
Humanity risks a future of disastrous climatic effects and instability if urgent and serious action is not taken in the energy sector. Only 15% of Cyprus's electricity was produced by renewable sources in 2021, demonstrating the country's heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Cyprus is not yet connected to other nations' grids in terms of grid interconnectivity, though there are plans for the EuroAsia Interconnector to start up in 2026. Cyprus is also anticipated to implement a competitive electricity plan by the end of 2022. Norway, which is connected to other nations, mainly relies on renewable energy sources, and utilizes a market-based and adaptable energy plan, can teach Cyprus vital lessons.
It is necessary to realize present goals and make new arrangements in order to move toward a green linked market-based paradigm. Physical interconnection, energy storage systems, grid modernization, complete liberalization of the electricity market, cross-border trading, and transparency are some of the essential components of such a model. A scheme like this would assist Cyprus by lowering CO2 emissions, ensuring the security of its energy supply, and lowering electricity prices. The typical electricity user might reduce their annual energy costs by €200.
EMGF focused on the European Union’s efforts to distance itself from Russian gas due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Major gas discoveries in offshore areas in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant have brought renewed interest to stakeholders, particularly since the disruption of gas flows from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
Should the EU wean itself clean off Russian gas, then all regional gas-producing countries and numerous key stakeholders may be affected, hence the discussion centred on the matter.
Participants included the EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the Energy Ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Greece, as well as the Secretary General of the forum, Osama Mobarez. Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Israel, France, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine all equally participate as members of the EMGF. The EU, the World Bank, and the United States also retained their observer status at the Forum.
The discussions during the forum focused on how the Eastern Mediterranean region can be utilised better for the EU's own energy security challenges in the long run.
Nonetheless, while funding from institutions like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank will be required, both the EBRD and the EIB declared that investments in oil and gas projects would be scrapped, in order to align with the EU's climate change goals.
Countries such as Egypt reacted to this specific position, arguing that the green transition can be run in parallel with regional investment in hydrocarbons, with the latter acting as a catalyst for building greener technologies.
The 2 main topics of this conference were the following:
- "Greening the economy in the pan-European region: working towards sustainable infrastructure?"
- "Applying principles of circular economy to sustainable tourism"
Furthermore, the countries were invited to participate and undertake actions within the framework of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative. The need for greater education regarding sustainable development issues was also highlighted.