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Only 4 out of 38 clean-energy technologies are on track to meet long-term climate goals

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The International Energy Agency’s new and most comprehensive analysis of the clean-energy transition finds that only 4 out of 38 energy technologies and sectors were on track to meet long-term climate, energy access and air pollution goals in 2017.

The findings are part of the IEA’s latest Tracking Clean Energy Progress (TCEP), a newly updated website released today that assesses the latest progress made by key energy technologies, and how quickly each technology is moving towards the goals of the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).

Some technologies made tremendous progress in 2017, with solar PV seeing record deployment, LEDs quickly becoming the dominant source of lighting in the residential sector, and electric vehicle sales jumping by 54%. But IEA analysis finds that most technologies are not on track to meet long-term sustainability goals. Energy efficiency improvements, for example, have slowed and progress on key technologies like carbon capture and storage remains stalled. This contributed to an increase in global energy-related CO2 emissions of 1.4% last year.

TCEP provides a comprehensive, rigorous and up-to-date analysis of the status of the clean-energy transition across a full range of technologies and sectors, their recent progress, deployment rates, investment levels, and innovation needs. It is the result of a bottom-up approach backed by the IEA’s unique understanding of markets, modeling and energy statistics across all fuels and technologies, and its extensive global technology network, totaling 6,000 researchers across nearly 40 technology collaboration programmes.

The analysis includes a series of high-level indicators that provide an overall assessment of clean energy trends and highlight the most important actions needed for the complex energy sector transformation.

For the first time, the analysis also highlights more than 100 key innovation gaps that need to be addressed to speed up the development and deployment of these clean energy technologies. It provides an extensive analysis of public and private clean energy research and development investment. It found that total public spending on low-carbon energy technology innovation rose 13% in 2017, to more than USD 20 billion.

“There is a critical need for more vigorous action by governments, industry, and other stakeholders to drive advances in energy technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “The world doesn’t have an energy problem but an emissions problem, and this is where we should focus our efforts.”

A total of 11 of 38 technologies surveyed by the IEA were significantly not on track. In particular, unabated coal electricity generation (meaning generation without Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage, or CCUS), which is responsible for 72% of power sector emissions, rebounded in 2017 after falling over the last three years.

Meanwhile, two technologies, onshore wind and energy storage, were downgraded this year, as their progress slowed. This brought the number of technologies “in need of improvement” to a total of 23.

This year, the TCEP tracks progress against the Sustainable Development Scenario, introduced in the World Energy Outlook 2017, which depicts a rapid but achievable transformation of the energy sector. It outlines a path to limiting the rise of average global temperatures to “well below 2°C,” as specified in the Paris Agreement, as well as increasing energy access around the world and reducing air pollution.

In this scenario, meeting long-term sustainability goals requires an ambitious combination of more energy efficient buildings, industry and transport, and more renewables and flexibility in power.

The findings this year are compiled in an updated website, which provides easy navigation across technologies and sectors, and draws links across the IEA’s resources. The report will be updated throughout the year as new data becomes available, and will be complemented by cutting-edge analysis and commentary on notable developments on the global clean energy transition.

The findings for each technology and sector will be updated on a continuous basis with the latest information and findings from the IEA. Find out more at www.iea.org/tcep/.

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UN forum to explore use of outer space to improve lives, protect planet

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Marking 50 years since the world first came together to discuss the peaceful uses of outer space, government leaders, policy makers, civil society representatives and space experts will gather at a United Nations forum in Vienna from Monday to explore the future course of global space cooperation for the benefit of humankind.

Dubbed UNISPACE+50, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the event will be the first global UN space summit of the twenty-first century.

Simonetta Di Pippo, the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which is organizing UNISPACE+50, has said that the forum’s priority will be to find ways to use space “to improve lives around the world and protect the planet.”

Since humankind entered the space age with the launch of Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite, incredible progress has been made in the use of space technology. Many ideas that seemed “science fiction” just years ago are now a reality.

From helping us use GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to find our way home, or calling friends in faraway places, applications of space technology have made our lives easier and our world more connected.

Space tech is also helping track endangered species like rhinoceroses and keeping them safe from poachers, providing vital data to famers and improving crop yields, and enabling humanitarian workers reach and assist millions around the world.

Both directly and indirectly, use of space technology is strengthening the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – the global development agenda agreed by all UN Member States in 2015.

Highlighting the importance of space for all of humankind, Ms. Di Pippo urged greater global cooperation in the future of space activities.

“Space is an invaluable tool for achieving sustainable development across the globe, and so it is important that everyone can access and enjoy the benefits that space brings to us all,” she said.

Also joining UNSIPACE+50 will be senior UN officials, as well as former US astronaut Scott Kelly, who was appointed the UN Champion for Space in 2016. Mr. Kelly holds the record for the most cumulative number of days spent in space by an American astronaut on board the International Space Station.

Being held from 18-21 June, UNISPACE+50 will include a symposium (18-19 June) and a high-level segment (20-21 June). On 22 June, the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will resume its regular session.

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The future we want depends on innovative policies and people-centred technology

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ILO Director-General Guy Ryder has urged global business leaders to work together with the United Nations to build a future of work that is equitable and harnesses technology to enhance people’s lives, especially those who are trapped in forced labour.

Speaking to over a 1,000 CEOs at The Consumer Goods Forum’s annual Global Summit in Singapore , Ryder said that “A major transformation of the workforce lies ahead of us. We can design the future of work we want, but there is general concern about what the future will bring. We should give people greater confidence in the future through good business conduct and public policies.”

The remarks come just after the release of a global call to action , affirming business’ commitment to strive to eradicate forced labour from global supply chains and not to tolerate forced labour within their operations. The call to action to end forced and unethical recruitment practices issued by The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), in alignment with the ILO and IOM, will raise awareness and help drive responsible business practices.

“Businesses have a central role to play in fighting the global scourge of forced labour. It is not just the right thing to do, it makes economic sense too. Value chains that are free of forced labour are much more productive and sustainable than those that cut costs and whose workers toil in conditions akin to slavery”, Ryder added, as he called on CGF members to implement the Priority Industry Principles on Forced Labour .

Leading into the Summit, the ILO launched a new Business Network on Forced Labour  that will help enterprises make progress on the elimination of forced labour and trafficking. The Forced Labour Network will contribute to Alliance 8.7 , a global partnership to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7, which calls for the elimination of child labour by 2025 and forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.

Governments must also adhere to international conventions and introduce effective policies to combat forced labour. The 50forFreedom  campaign supports governmental efforts to ratify the Forced Labour Protocol  adopted by an overwhelming majority by the International Labour Conference in 2014 . The Protocol, reinforces the international legal framework for combating all forms of forced labour, including trafficking in persons, and calls on ratifying States to take measures to prevent forced labour, protect victims and ensure their access to remedies and compensation.

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MDB Climate Finance Hit Record High of $35.2 Billion in 2017

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Climate financing by the world’s six largest multilateral development banks (MDBs) rose to a 7-year high of $35.2 billion in 2017, up 28% from the previous year.

The MDBs’ latest joint report on climate financing said $27.9 billion, or 79% of the 2017 total, was devoted to climate mitigation projects that aim to reduce harmful emissions and slow down global warming.

The remaining 21%, or $7.4 billion, of financing for emerging and developing nations was invested in climate adaptation projects that help economies deal with the effects of climate change such as unusual levels of rain, worsening droughts, and extreme weather events.

In 2016, climate financing from the MDBs had totaled $27.4 billion.

The latest MDB climate finance figures are detailed in the 2017 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance, combining data from the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank Group and the World Bank Group (World Bank, IFC, and MIGA). These banks account for the vast majority of multilateral development finance. In October 2017, the Islamic Development Bank joined the MDB climate finance tracking groups, and its climate finance figures will be included in reports from 2018 onwards.

Climate funds such as the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund, the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF), the European Union’s funds for Climate Action, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and others have also played an important role in boosting MDB climate finance. As well as the $35.2 billion of multilateral development finance, the same adaptation and mitigation projects attracted an additional $51.7 billion from other sources of financing last year.

Of the 2017 total, 81% was provided as loans. Other types of financial instruments included policy-based lending, grants, guarantees, equity, and lines of credit.

Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia and the Pacific were the three major developing regions receiving the funds. The report contains a breakdown of climate finance by country.

The sharp increase came in response to the ever more pressing challenge of climate change. Calls to galvanize climate finance were at the heart of events such as the One Planet Summit in Paris in December 2017, 2 years after the historic Paris Agreement was adopted. Multilateral banks began publishing their climate investment in developing countries and emerging economies jointly in 2011, and in 2015, MDBs and the International Development Finance Club agreed joint principles for tracking climate adaptation and mitigation finance.

Climate finance addresses the specific financial flows for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities. These activities contribute to make MDB finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development, in line with the Paris Agreement. The MDBs are currently working on the development of more specific approaches to reporting their activities and how they are aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“ADB’s climate investments reached $4.5 billion last year, a 21% increase from 2016 and in line with our climate finance commitment to reach $6 billion by 2020. ADB will continue to deepen its collaboration with other MDBs while employing consistent and rigorous methodologies to track climate finance,” said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Mr. Bambang Susantono. “ADB acknowledges the critical role of external funding and has accessed $265 million in concessional financing from the Green Climate Fund to date. It also continues to establish innovative financing facilities, such as the Asia Pacific Climate Finance Fund, which supports financial risk management products that can help unlock financing for climate investments in clean technologies and that build resilience to climate risks.”

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