Guide for energy entrepreneurs who want to link their businesses to carbon finance

GVEP International, in partnership with the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, has published a guide for energy entrepreneurs who want to link their businesses to carbon finance. The guide, which is part of a series also covering Investment Finance and End-User Finance, aims to provide recommendations on their first steps to assess their businesses’ potential and guide them through the complexities of the ever-evolving carbon market.

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USAID NGO Grant Support: Request for Applications from NGOs

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a Request for Applications for the Development Grants Program providing support in the three sectors of microenterprise, water and climate changeadaptation. Applications can be submitted by indigenous, local NGOs from different countries or private and voluntary organizations in the US.

The Development Grants Program aims to create new partnerships between USAID and NGOs which have limited or have not been able to access prior funding directly from the USAID. Through this program, the Agency seeks to expand its network of NGOs and build their capacity.

The objectives of the DGP as presented in this Request for Applications are:

1. Broadened participation in USAID programs of local NGOs and U.S. PVOs with experience and expertise relevant to priority USAID and partner country development objectives;

2. Expanded numbers of local NGOs and U.S. PVOs with planning, management and service delivery systems adequate to implement USAID-funded activities; and

3. Measurable contributions by LNGOs and U.S. PVOs to the achievement of the development objectives for participating USAID Missions’ country programs, in particular as they pertain to Agency priorities and initiatives.

A list of eligible countries along with the specific funding sectors is given in the link below. To apply to this program, concept notes have to be submitted initially outlining the proposed project in the areas of microenterprise, water and climate change adaptation. Detailed proposals will be requested after the review of concept notes.

The closing date for the submission of concept notes is 25 April 2011.

For more information, visit and search by funding opportunity number for “M-OAA-GRO-EGAS-DGP-11-0001.”

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Sustainable Energy Bulletin for June 2010 is out

Tuesday May 11th, Hon. Gay Mitchell and Hon. Nirj Deva who are members of the European Parliament in collaboration with Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA) and Hivos hosted a successful hearing on energy and development issues. The main objective
of this hearing was to lobby for the increase of the funding of renewable energy projects by the European Commission.
Hivos and TaTEDO participated in this event, please read more here

Solar charged phones launched in Tanzania

Tanzanians have been urged to use environmentally friendly mobile phones to support global initiatives to reduce the impact of climate change.

The call was made by the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office (Environment) Dr Batilda Buriani in Dar es Salaam on Thursday when launching the environmental friendly mobile phone which will run on solar power.

She said the mobile phone which has been launched by Vodacom Tanzania will help to preserve the environment and reduce dependence on electricity.

She said the cellular phones have come at the right time when Tanzania and other countries in Africa are facing serious power problems.

She said though the number of mobile phone users in Africa has increased by 50 percent, millions more cannot access the service due to power problems.

Dr Buriani said the solar charged cellular phones will help Tanzanians living in rural areas to get relevant agricultural information especially on markets.

“People in rural areas have for years not benefited from mobile phone services due to power problems, but currently they can enjoy modern communications by simply exposing their cellular phones to light”, said Dr Buriani.

She said Tanzania becomes the second country in East Africa to use the solar charged mobile phones after Uganda launched it last month. Vodacom Tanzania Director Dietlof Mare said his company was improving the communication industry by giving customers modern advanced products.

He said since most Tanzanians in rural areas are low income earners, they have decided to sell the solar charged phones at affordable price of 50,000/-.

Mare said his company has so far been successful in its recent M-PESA service with more than one million people registered to use it countrywide. He said more than 16bn/- is transacted through M-PESA every month.



UN climate change negotiations end with no answer to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The UN climate change negotiations which ended yesterday in Bangkok have largely failed to deliver any substantive progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement issued yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Saleemul Huq, senior fellow in the climate change group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, said the negotiations have also failed to transfer technology and finance from rich to poorer nations for adaptation and mitigation, leading to serious questions about the political commitment of the industrialized nations.

Huq, who is also a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said;

"Last month, President Obama, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other leaders of industrialised nations all lined up to say how committed they were in tackling climate change and reaching an effective agreement on how to do this when UN negotiations end in Copenhagen in December."

"This gave the world high expectations for the international negotiation session that has run for the past two weeks in Bangkok," he added

"But it seems like the negotiators from industrialised nations either didn’t follow their leaders’ speeches or haven’t been receiving any new instructions because in virtually every aspect of the talks, there has been minimal progress of any substance," he said.

The G77/China group of 132 developing nations said that the EU is trying to "divide and conquer" developing nations and detract attention from their own broken promises.

There was virtually no progress on new targets for developed nations that are party to the Kyoto Protocol to cut their emissions, despite them being legally bound to agree new targets, he said.

The G77/China accuses the United States and the European Union of trying to kill the Kyoto Protocol, the only legal agreement that commits nations to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The EU as a party to the protocol is legally bound to agree new targets for a post-2012 period.

In the negotiations focusing on ways to tackle climate change by reducing deforestation, the European Union has removed a provision that would protect against the conversion of natural forests to plantations, threatening impact for biodiversity and forest-dependent people.

"One area of hope is that countries are now reaching agreement that adaptation is essential to protect people and economies in the developing nations," said Huq.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change binds rich countries such as the United States and European Union member states to provide funding for developing nations to adapt and mitigate climate change.


International legal regime inadequate to tackle climate change, says NGO

The Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD) has said that international law is inadequate to deal with millions of people forecast to become `climate exiles’ in the face of escalating climate change.

A statement issued yesterday in Dar es Salaam by Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC), said during the occasion to mark its twentieth anniversary today, FIELD would highlight how international legal framework is unprepared to deal with the victims of climate change.

“Although estimates vary, between 200 million and one billion people could become displaced by climate change by 2050,” the statement read in part.

The statement said although some of these figures have been questioned, it is clear that the international community needs to prepare for the likelihood that some small island countries and low-lying territories will be lost.

As climate exiles have no standing in existing international law, this raises unprecedented legal challenges said FIELD in the statement.

“There are currently no legal frameworks or guidelines that can provide assistance or protection for people crossing borders because of displacement due to climate change,” the statement added.

Climate change is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Its effects—higher temperatures, rising sea levels, food insecurity and more frequent weather-related disasters—pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies causing chaos for millions of people. The so-called ‘climate hotspots’ – low lying islands, coastal regions, large river deltas and underdeveloped regions – remain in danger of catastrophic environmental change.

Particularly vulnerable are small island states. The entire population of the CarteretIslands of Papua New Guinea, are the first people to be officially evacuated due to climate change. Others, such as Kiribati or the Marshall Islands, may disappear completely or become uninhabitable making their populations stateless. Kiribati has already started searching for a new home for future generations, according to the statement.

Under current international law, any climate-induced, cross-border migrations from these areas would trigger little of any protection or provide aid, it added.

FIELD Director Joy Hyvarinen said in the statement: “International refugee law focuses on those who are persecuted for political, racial or religious reasons. It was not designed for those who are left homeless by environmental pressure”.

“Migration in itself is not bad, but migration forced by climate change is a tragedy and the international legal framework needs to be adjusted to help climate exiles and deal with statelessness and compensation.”

So far IPCC has suggested that more than 600 million people currently living in low-lying coastal zones – 438 million in Asia and 246 million in least developed countries – will be directly at risk to potential threats of climate change in this century.


Political frameworks: responding to climate change

Africa yet to benefit from carbon finance

The global value of the carbon market doubled between 2007 and 2008 growing from US$ 63 million to US$ 123.4 million. However, Africa’s participation in this market is very limited. Only 1% of the projects in both mandatory and voluntary markets are implemented in Africa.

Indian and China posses large share of mandatory market projects. Unlike in Africa, India and China have developed infrastructure and institutional capacity to develop carbon credit projects. Furthermore, Africa is faced by limited human resource capacity to plan, prepare and implement carbon credit projects and small size of the projects which makes them less attractive for financing. The most common type of projects in these countries is renewable energy projects from hydro power and energy efficiency.

Even with voluntary markets, India and China are enjoying long term experience with CDM projects to develop and implement carbon credit projects.

Voluntary markets were developed to function parallel to Kyoto protocol mechanism with simpler, quick and low transaction costs. Over the years the voluntary markets have gained integrity and grew interms of both number of projects and value. The initial rapid growth of the carbon market has triggered various associated service providers and financial mechanisms such as offset retailers, carbon fund, trading platforms and registers.

The largest market for the carbon credit is the European countries which has set the target of reducing 8% of the emission under the framework of the Kyoto protocol adopted in 1997. Countries under the Annex 1, industrialized countries and those with economies in transition, are set to reduce 5.2% of their emissions compared to the 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Under the 2008-2012 timeframe Kyoto protocol operates through three mechanisms namely Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation and Emission Trading. Despite good intentions of the Kyoto Protocol, still it is haunted with a number of problems including non-ratification of some key countries including the United States and the fate of the protocol after 2012 when it will come to end. Canada and New Zealand are reported to have abandoned the Kyoto protocol because of changes in the economic strategies which has force them to increase dependency on fossil fuels.

Constraining carbon emission if associated with constraining economy for which some countries are not ready to accept. These countries also argue that the Kyoto Protocol would be appropriate if India and China would have commitment in emission reduction targets.

There are a number of questions on the effectiveness of the Kyoto protocol framework in addressing climate challenge. The reduction in emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) has already reached around 6% although other sources estimate the reduction at 11%. However, this rate seems little if the reductions have to decrease to 60% as required by the protocol.

Many practitioner in the carbon trading are looking at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP) 15 meeting in Copenhagen to resolve some of the major current issues including the Kyoto protocol post 2012, support to increase participation of African countries in carbon markets and acceptance of the projects related to reducing emission through deforestation and degradation (REDD).