Category Archives: Energy security

Co-benefits feature in three side-events at COP 22


As co-benefits continue to rise up the political agenda, there will be three side-events on this theme at COP 22 in Marrakech.

How to maximise the co-benefits of climate change mitigation action

Wednesday 9 November, 10.30am-12.00, EU Pavilion, Bratislava Room.

This side-event will highlight the substantial potential for climate action to generate co-benefits for other objectives. It will present evidence that the value of these benefits, for example in avoided healthcare costs or fuel savings, can exceed the cost of climate mitigation, so that climate action can pay for itself. This can be a powerful motivation for countries to increase the ambition of their NDCs (nationally determined contributions), which are currently not adequate to meet the long term temperature goal set in Paris. Equally, possible adverse effects of some mitigation actions can act as barriers to action. Well-designed, integrated policymaking can maximise the co-benefits and minimise any adverse side-effects.

This event aims to:
• Present an overview of the latest science and co-benefits of achieving the long-term global temperature goal
• Showcase current national/local/city-level activities
• Communicate the benefits and opportunities of a co-benefits approach to mitigation, building optimism around achieving INDCs
• Provide a platform for delegates from other countries to share their ideas about implementing integrated approaches .

The programme is as follows:

  • Overview of latest evidence on co-benefits (Alison Smith, ECI)
  • Co-benefits in mega-cities (Seth Schultz, C40 Cities)
  • Enhancing co-benefits using market mechanisms (Frank Wolke, vice-chair of the CDM board)
  • An MCDA tool for incorporating co-benefits in decision-making (Ankit Bhardwaj, Centre for Policy Research)
  • Case study: Stockholm (Katarina Luhr, Mayor for the Environment, Stockholm)
  • Case studies from Asia (Eric Zusman, Asian Co-benefits Partnership)

The Co-benefits from Mitigating Climate Change and Air Pollution in Asia: Beyond Quantification

Japan Pavilion, Friday 11 November, 3pm

Asia’s policymakers are increasingly turning to co-benefits to help align their climate and air pollution policies. The expanding interest has led to growing attempts to equip policymakers with the tools and knowledge to quantify reductions in multiple pollutants. But while quantifying co-benefits can help policymakers envisage potential savings, it is still one part of a decision making process. Equally important are whether the results of a co-benefits analysis are integrated into policy and achieved on the ground. The purpose of this session is to discuss how to move from quantification to concrete demonstrations of co-benefits in Asia. The speakers are:

  • Eric Zusman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES)
  • Ana Rojas, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Teng Fei, Tsinghua University, China
  • Arnico Panday, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) , Nepal (TBC)
  • P.R. Shukla, Indian Institute of Management, India

Missed Co-benefits of INDCs

Friday 18 November,  EU Pavilion, 14.30

The New Climate Institute are organizing this event to highlight the Missed Co-benefits of INDCs for fossil fuel imports, air pollution and jobs.

If you will be at COP 22 you are very welcome to come to these events, and please also help to spread the word.


Co-benefits of climate action worth at least £85 billion in UK

Wide-ranging review finds benefits dominated by lifestyle change

A wide-ranging review has found that meeting carbon targets in the UK will provide at least £85 billion in health and environmental co-benefits up to 2030.

The report considered the impacts of action to meet the UK’s fourth carbon budget, for the period 2023-27. This is a step on the path towards cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 1990 levels). After an extensive review of existing studies and literature, the consultants identified a wide range of both positive and negative impacts, which were quantified where possible.

The results are quite surprising. As expected, positive impacts (co-benefits) include the air quality benefits of reduced fossil fuel combustion. The health benefit of reduced exposure to fine particle (PM2.5) pollution was estimated as around £1 billion per year in 2030. Yet even greater benefits arise from a shift to healthier lifestyles. The health benefits of walking and cycling instead of driving are estimated as £2.3 billion in 2030, reflecting the importance of active lifestyles in reducing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. There are even greater benefits through cutting traffic congestion, saving £8.4 billion in lost time.

Some negative impacts were also identified, including waste disposal and accident risk for nuclear power. The total impacts that were quantified reached around £13 billion per year by 2030, with a net present value of £85 billion over the period 2008 to 2030 (at an annual discount rate of 3.5%). However, the researchers stress that this is an incomplete estimate as not all impacts could be quantified.

An extra scenario in which consumption of meat and dairy produce was halved was also evaluated. This produced health benefits worth an estimated £11 billion per year in 2030, through reducing the intake of saturated fat, though the authors note that there is considerable uncertainty attached to this estimate.

Forster, D., Korkeala, O., Warmington, J., Holland, M. and Smith, A. (2013) Review of the impacts of carbon budget measures on human health and the environment. Report to the Committee on Climate Change. Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK: Ricardo-AEA and EMRC.



Climate policy boosts energy security

Low carbon scenarios increase diversity and reduce energy trade

A new study shows that climate action improves energy security, as energy demand declines and low carbon renewable and nuclear energy displaces imported oil and gas.

Jessica Jewell of IIASA and her co-authors found that under a baseline scenario, global energy trade soars from 100 exajoules (EJ) per year today to 400 EJ in 2100. Over-reliance on imported energy could expose many countries to risk of supply disruption or price shocks, especially as oil and gas exports will continue to be dominated by a small number of countries. But under a range of low-carbon scenarios energy trade is much lower, varying from 40 to 240 EJ/yr in 2100. This is partly due to lower energy demand, and partly to replacement of imported fossil fuels with locally produced renewable and nuclear energy. In the baseline scenario, the proportion of the global primary energy supply that is traded remains at around 20%, but in the scenarios with unlimited penetration of renewables it falls to as little as 3%.

There are interesting differences between the 42 different low carbon scenarios. All are taken from the Global Energy Assessment, and all restrict future temperature rise to 2oC over pre-industrial levels. However, the greatest energy security benefits arise in the scenarios that focus on energy efficiency rather than energy supply. These scenarios see energy demand fall steeply, reducing the need to import energy and making the economy less sensitive to global energy price fluctuations.

The lowest energy trade occurs in a high efficiency scenario in which there is a significant switch to electric and hydrogen vehicles, and no restriction on the uptake of renewable or nuclear energy. Interestingly, restrictions on the uptake of carbon capture and storage (CCS) tend to improve energy security, as this forces a move away from fossil fuels.

The most striking impacts are seen in global oil trade. Under the baseline, this rises from around 80 EJ/yr today to a staggering 180 EJ in 2100 – a major security risk, given that the transport sector is almost totally dependent on oil. Yet in all the low carbon scenarios, oil trade plummets dramatically to under 10 EJ/yr by 2100. Trade in gas and coal is also lower in the low carbon scenarios than in the baseline, with the exception of a few scenarios where the use of renewables is restricted.

Trade in biofuels increases in all scenarios, including the baseline, yet it remains at well under half the volume of oil traded at present. In some scenarios, however, trade in hydrogen becomes comparable with present day oil trade by the end of the century. But both biofuels and hydrogen are exported from a greater range of countries than oil and gas, meaning that supply risks are lower. The exception to this is a few scenarios that restrict nuclear energy, as this limits the number of countries that can generate enough electricity to produce hydrogen, e.g. by electrolysis of seawater.

The paper concludes that low carbon scenarios generally lead to lower energy trade and higher energy diversity, especially where the focus is on reducing energy demand, though in some scenarios a high penetration of solar power by the end of the century does reduce the diversity of the electricity supply mix.

Areas for future study could include analysis of other aspects of energy security that were not included in the model, such as resource depletion (for oil and gas), ageing infrastructure and spare electricity generation capacity.

Energy security under de-carbonization scenarios: An assessment framework and evaluation under different technology and policy choices. Jessica Jewell, Aleh Cherp and Keywan Riahi. Energy Policy. 65 (2014) 743-760.



Climate policy has ‘enormous’ synergies with energy security and air quality

New study shows savings of $100-600 billion a year in air quality control and energy security costs
Tough climate policy can set us on the path to energy sustainability, by cutting air pollution and improving energy security, a new study concludes.

Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria modelled hundreds of different energy policy scenarios. They found that the scenarios with stringent climate policy produced huge benefits for health and energy security, with big cost savings compared to the other scenarios.

Decarbonising the energy system would cut pollution by fine particles and ozone, saving 23 million disability-adjusted life-years worldwide by 2030, compared to a baseline scenario in which all currently planned air quality legislation was enacted. At the same time, energy efficiency improvements and a shift to low-carbon energy (including locally produced renewable energy) would strengthen the energy security of individual countries and regions, by increasing the diversity of the energy mix and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The cost savings are potentially huge: $100-600 billion annually by 2030 in avoided expenditure on air quality control and energy security, which is 0.1-0.7% of global GDP. This would substantially offset the costs of investing in efficient and low-carbon technologies, estimated as up to 1.5% of global GDP. There would be further benefits from avoided health care costs and avoided climate adaptation costs, which were not included in the analysis.

The paper concludes that “the common practice of focusing on single issues ignores potentially enormous synergies”, highlighting the need for more holistic policy approaches.

Climate policies can help resolve energy security and air pollution challenge, McCollum, David L., Volker Krey, Keywan Riahi, Peter Kolp, Arnulf Grubler, Marek Makowski and Nebojsa Nakicenovic. Climatic Change 119: 479-494. July 2013.