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Pitch

Mitigation and adaptations strategies are key, but altering the framework of the economy is paramount


Description

Summary

Europe needs this coherent plan to reach the 2 degree climate scenario, and reduce EU GHG emissions by 2050. While Europe has made steps by adopting a strategy on climate change in 2013, Europe still has a long way to go to reach significant reductions.The key to achieving reductions and building a sustainable system lies in the framework of the economy. To make meaningful change in different sectors (energy, transportation, industry and buildings) and to adapt to the existing issues of climate change, Europe’s financial markets need to support a sustainable future. Policymakers must work together in-order to ensure that the financial markets behave more sustainably. With new policies and coordinated efforts, meaningful change can occur. The plan for each sector is outlined below:

Energy

  • Physical action: Increased use of renewables on an industrial and consumer level. Source of thermal energy (more effective and environmentally friendly than solar heat)
  • Social action: Government providing tax breaks to consumers that choose to go this route, promote energy efficiency 

Transportation

  • Physical action: more fuel efficient vehicles, increase walking and biking, low carbon fuel
  • Social action: aforementioned activities could lead to net savings of 15 bn pounds by 2030 in the UK's social security and healthcare systems... These saved funds could be allocated to companies to promote them to create more fuel efficient vehicles, and a small tax break to those residents who choose to not own a vehicle

Industry

  • Physical action: Agriculturally, many European countries produce for their own use, and only export ~30%, this has an effect on industry. Food prices will see a spike if climate change continues to grow, but increased atmospheric CO2 sequestration in soil via increased corn and soybean production serves two purposes in reducing CO2, and still employs farmers (although, assuming migration to urban centers there will be less people working in the agricultural sector) Thus the main sector of focus is industrial plants. They need to build more efficient plants that use renewable materials and recyclable plants.

 

  • Social action: Pollution taxes (serve as subsidies, and financial support for the new green economy) 
  • Need shift to services, away from industry

Buildings

  • Physical action: energy efficient, solar, mixed use developments
  • Social action: changing building codes, competing for discounted developer properties

Land Use and Waste Management

  • Physical action: More water management systems: desalinisation plants, increased use of recycled water
  • Social action: government support by providing grants

Adaptation

  • Physical action: carbon tax, CO2 Sequestration, Targeted ETS
  • Social action: Policy action backed by a few multinationals

 

It is important to note that these ideas exist under the notion that most of the world's population will live in urban centers by 2050. This migration pattern is important for policymakers, and companies to keep in mind as they plan for the future. 


Which proposals are included in your plan and how do they fit together?

This plan patches together ideas that have been discussed or implemented (successfully or unsucessfully) in the past. However, this plan views all climate change action plans through the lens of the industry-based economy that exists in the EU now. In order for meaningful change to take place, the economy needs to become more sustainable and 'green', as this plan posits. See "Why This Plan?" for more details.

Migration

Migration patterns are an important part of this action plan because the European urban population is expected to be over 80% by 2050. Urban centers account for 70% of global GHG emissions , and are considered hubs for economic activity. City leaders need to take action for climate change in cities; the water sector, energy sector and transportation sector are all vulnerable to damage as a result of climate change. Additionally, public health needs to be taken into account (this will be considered as more of an adaptation strategy). 

  • Urban Adaptation Plans from now are important as a result (http://web.mit.edu/jcarmin/www/urbanadapt/Urban%20Adaptation%20Report%20FINAL.pdf)
  • The essential activites are: (1) meeting with local government departments on adaptation; (2) searching the web or literature for information on adaptation; (3) forming a commission or task force to support adaptation planning; and (4) developing partnerships with NGOs, other cities, businesses, or community groups. 

 

The following plans provide some guidance to this matter:  

urbanization geared towards the right direction

Cooling Climate Change in Europe!

In order to accommodate migration to urban centers, the economy needs to support the plan by large investments in infrastructure. Thus, the following section provides an outline for the financial vehicles that will allow for an easier transition to a green economy. 

Framework of the Economy for a Green Future

Financing the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in Europe is essential, but must be dealt with on a regional scale. The financial methods need to be tailored to meet the needs of different economies and the carrying infrastructure and technology that exists within a specific country. The government can target climate change by reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions levels by introducing domestic emission trading scheme, reforming the tax system—carbon tax and global warming tax, and introducing a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy. A growth strategy can include Green Innovation. Green innovation will create a new demand of USD 415 billion, and create over a million jobs in the process, while also reducing emission by 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide at the global level. Within the energy sector, the government can look at implementing renewable energy, nuclear power plants, improving the efficiency in thermal power generation, smart grids, and energy-saving home electronics. A long-term framework needs to be developed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and increase use of renewable energy. Farmers need policies that allow for high-quality products for higher prices. Farmers need to improve productivity and efficiency that will facilitate a more competitive domestic market. This includes payments to farms that rely on farming income; the extensive production will lower prices, and not only increase domestic demand, but also allow for exportation of goods. 

The government has to implement environmental policies to promote economic growth and the transition to a green economy. In order to promote the use of environmentally friendly cars, governments must implement a subsidy for environmentally friendly cars. In order to promote the use of eco-products, the government needs to create a law that require public institutions to play a leading role for the purchase of eco-products and provide their information to the public.

By providing low carbon tax breaks and other incentives towards companies that produce economically friendly products or operate in a sustainable manner, corporations will be more willing to part-take in green growth and innovation. Moreover, the government can afford to give such tax breaks because it will have increased its corporate-tax base. Environmentally oriented indirect taxes need to be further explored. By exploring increased environmentally oriented indirect taxes, there would be an additional raise in revenue as well as increased environmental incentives.  In addition to tax revenues increasing, the government needs to cut spending to in order to achieve a budget surplus—currently, the country’s public debt is twice the size of its economy. 

 

Finally, green innovation throughout Europe can be used to facilitate a green economy.This is particularly useful in-terms of promoting infrastructure developments such as high-speed trains, urban transportation, water infrastructure, energy infrastructure and eco-friendly cities. These improvements will also allow for a low-carbon economy. 

An alternative to bank mortgages can make energy efficient homes affordable.

Energy

  • Physical action: Increased use of renewables on an industrial and consumer level. Source of thermal energy (more effective and environmentally friendly than solar heat)
  • Social action: Government providing tax breaks to consumers that choose to go this route, promote energy efficiency 

The following plans are incorporated in this plan because a change in the energy sector is essential. The current set-up of the energy sector contributes to large GHG emissions. 

Europe: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)

Advanced Energy Planner- A practical real time energy management device

 

Increase Natural Gas Energy Efficiency

Transportation

  • Physical action: more fuel efficient vehicles, increase walking and biking, low carbon fuel
  • Social action: aforementioned activities could lead to net savings of 15 bn pounds by 2030 in the UK's social security and healthcare systems... These saved funds could be allocated to companies to promote them to create more fuel efficient vehicles, and a small tax break to those residents who choose to not own a vehicle

 

Beyond Getting There -- Reducing air travel emissions through virtual networks

 

Industry

  • Physical action: Agriculturally, many European countries produce for their own use, and only export ~30%, this has an effect on industry. Food prices will see a spike if climate change continues to grow, but increased atmospheric CO2 sequestration in soil via increased corn and soybean production serves two purposes in reducing CO2, and still employs farmers (although, assuming migration to urban centers there will be less people working in the agricultural sector) Thus the main sector of focus is industrial plants. They need to build more efficient plants that use renewable materials and recyclable plants.
  • Social action: Pollution taxes (serve as subsidies, and financial support for the new green economy) 
  • Need shift to services, away from industry
  • Service based industry utilize less energy and materials, but employ more individuals. Examples of companies that are more service based, but still profitable include initial start-up companies such as Facebook, Alibaba and Uber. These companies are still extremely profitable, generate economic growth, and employ a large number of people. It is a shift from the initial industrial sector that spurred economic growth, but created high levels of GHG emissions during the 19th and 20th Century. Governments need to support these types of ventures by offering tax incentives, and work space to start-up companies.

 

United States Industrial Collaboration Agency (USICA)

Buildings

  • Physical action: energy efficient, solar, mixed use developments
  • Social action: changing building codes, competing for discounted developer properties

Land Use and Waste Management

  • Physical action: More water management systems: desalinisation plants, increased use of recycled water
  • Social action: government support by providing grants

Waste Management: Chemosynthetic Production of Biomass Using Sewage Nutrients

Cash for Trash: E-Waste Disposal and Management in China

Pre-Paid Water Metering and Desalination System

Adaptation

Europe CO2 Soil Sequestration via Plant Root Mass Using a Renewable Abiotic EPS

  • Physical action: carbon tax, CO2 Sequestration, Targeted ETS
  • Social action: Policy action backed by a few multinationals

 

Eduacation

  • Awareness of climate change has risen dramatically, but the costs need to be made evident to everyone in order for the plan to work. This plan is not just a top down approach, but it is also a bottom-up approach. 

 

Why This Plan?

There are other plans the propose similar ideas, but most of these ideas are not enough in isolation. In order to create effective change, dynamic action needs to be taken across the board in Europe. As long as fossil fuels are relatively cheaper, and high emission producing industries rule the economy of the EU, effective climate change action plans cannot be implemented. The change has to be cohesive--across many sectors--but target the cost to the average consumers in the market as well as to major industries that emit high GHGs during a natural course of business. This plan will allow for policymakers to act now while the market conditions are less favorable towards oil prices that are geopolitically unstable, and are becoming more favorable towards alternative energies. 

In developing and implementing this plan, it is integral to remember that Europe is facing the possibility of an economic recession. A change to the framework of Europe's economy, as this plan suggest--a more sustainable and green economy--will alleviate the struggles that the economy is currently facing. By investing in innovative technologies that combat climate change, jobs are created, and an investment in the future sustainable economy is made. This also shifts the economy away from the industry based economy where it currently is (and where it can no longer sustain economic growth), towards a services based economy that can rejuvenate growth across Europe. An industry based economy, that many European countries have had since the 19th Century, led to high emission levels and accelerated climate change. This plan alleviates financial pressures, and promotes a positive future for the economy and environment--entities that make it difficult to generate a positive outcome for both without causing significant harm to the other. 


Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab

The plan is believed to achieve reduced GHG emissions by 2020 due to the plan's accessibility and application in different sectors. 


What are the plan’s key benefits?

  • Coordinated efforts between government leaders and business leaders will allow for a more effective adaptation of the plan because support from the economy is essential for any climate change plan to work
  • Future economic growth for European Union is generated
  • Takes previous plans, but implements them in a novel way--involving businesses and governments for the good of regular consumers
  • Not implementing any plan will lead to catastrophic climate change scenarios

 


What are the plan’s costs?

  • Overhauling the economy of the EU has a steep price to pay--monetarily and socially. This plan will face a lot of resistance from various parties--especially countries that rely heavily on manufacturing and are already struggling financially. 
  • In order to mitigate this large cost, it must be made evident to countries and to citizens the larger cost that can arise if these actions are not taken now, and climate change continues. There is a larger global awareness now about climate change, but this momentum needs to be capitalized on by policymakers to create lasting policies


What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?

  • Coordinating the various actors in the region to build this plan because some countries are more vested than others (Baltic States v. Mediterranean States) 
  • Getting business leaders to agree because profitability will initially decrease. Funding is the key factor to any plan. 


Timeline

2015: Announced

2016-Mid 2016: Meeting to discuss feasibility across different countries and industries. Plan is drawn up

2016-2020: Plan is implemented in each country (biannual meetings/correspondences to update on the status and emission levels)

2021-2022: Major overhaul to plan, if necessary, after assessing data of the past 5 years and monitoring emissions levels

2022-2030: implement revised plan (biannual meetings/correspondences to update on status/emission levels)

2031-2032: Major overhaul to plan, if necessary, after assessing data of the past 5 years 

2032-2040: implement revised plan (biannual meetings/correspondences to update on the status/emission levels)

2041-2042: Major overhaul to plan, if necessary, after assessing data of the past 5 years

2042-2050: implement revised plan (biannual meetings/correspondences to update on the status/emission levels)

2045: Major overhaul to plan, if necessary, after assessing data

2045-2050: implement revised plan (updates)

2050: complete


Related plans


References

  1. http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/smart-energy-solutions/increase-renewables/up-with-the-sun-solar-energy.html#.ValLEflVhBe
  2. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2011-07-26/bright-future-solar-powered-factories
  3. http://www.2052.info/glimpse-92/
  4. http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n2/full/nclimate2475.html
  5. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0442%282004%29017%3C3721%3ACONAAF%3E2.0.CO%3B2
  6. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/apr/24/china-climate-change-carbon-emissions
  7. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-01/scientists-start-150-billion-program-to-cut-clean-energy-costs
  8. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0120985#pone.0120985.ref004