Mitigation Update: IEA, China to Enhance Cooperation, Energy Policies of New Zealand, Estonia in the Spotlight
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The IEA and China will expand their cooperation through a new three-year work programme focused on energy security, capacity building, data and statistics.

Environment ministers in the EU Council agreed to revisions of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) Directive that would take affect after 2020.

The IEA has issued an assessment of New Zealand's energy policy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published an environmental assessment of Estonia, and Japan has doubled its wind power capacity.

5 March 2017: The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that it will expand its cooperation with China, the European Council paved the way to revisions of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) Directive, and international organizations published assessments of the national energy or climate policies of New Zealand and Estonia.

This Update brings you news on these and other developments that speak directly to Sustainable Development Goal SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and (SDG) 13 (climate action).

International Developments in China, Europe

Two recent developments will seek to enhance the transition to a green economy in China and the EU. The IEA and China will expand their cooperation through a new three-year work programme focused on energy security, capacity building, data and statistics. Hailed as “unprecedented” in its scope and extent of cooperation, the programme will help support China’s ongoing energy transition and work to address air quality and other environmental issues through collaboration on, inter alia: improving natural gas infrastructure; integrating renewable energy into the grid; and fostering energy efficiency and technology innovation. [IEA Press Release]

In Europe, environment ministers in the EU Council agreed to revisions of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) Directive that would take affect after 2020. The Council agreed to a package of rules designed to guard against carbon leakage, which is a concern if companies move their operations from a country with stringent climate policies to countries with less stringent policies. The package also includes provisions to quickly reduce the current oversupply of allowances on the carbon market, which should help raise the price of allowances and create incentives for companies to reduce their emissions. The Council’s agreement will serve as the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament. [EC Press Release]

New Zealand, Japan and Estonia’s Energy Policy in the Spotlight

Various recent publications and news focused on the individual energy or climate policies of several countries. The IEA has issued an assessment of New Zealand’s energy policy, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published an environmental assessment of Estonia, and Japan has doubled its wind power capacity.

In its review, the IEA lauds New Zealand as a “success story” for renewable energy development, notably hydro and geothermal where the gains were achieved without government subsidies.

According to the IEA’s review of New Zealand’s Energy policies, the country has made significant progress, but also faces challenges to meeting the growing energy needs, remain competitive and reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In its review, the IEA lauds New Zealand as a “success story” for renewable energy development, notably hydro and geothermal where the gains were achieved without government subsidies. The IEA suggests that future actions should include facilitating technology opportunities for renewable energy and energy efficiency in buildings, industrial heat, transportation and agriculture. The IEA also suggests risk management tools, including creating a safety net for dry years as well as access to global liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets. [IEA Press Release] [New Zealand 2017 Review]

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recommends that Estonia should adopt mitigation measures, use more renewable energy and increase energy efficiency to reduce its reliance on oil shale. These recommendations stem from the findings of the OECD’s first Environmental Performance Review of Estonia, which concluded that Estonia is the most-carbon intensive economy in the OECD. While Estonia achieved its 2020 EU target to have 25% of its final energy consumption be from renewable sources, the country still has the lowest rate of renewable energy generation in the OECD and new wind projects remain uncertain. [OECD Press Release]

In 2016, Japan doubled how much wind power capacity it installed over the previous year according to a report from the Japan Wind Power Association. Through the end of March, Japan is on track to add 300 megawatts of wind capacity. The previous year, 157 megawatts were added. The Association credits new regulations for offshore wind power as fostering some of the growth, which the Association hopes will continue as an important part of Japan’s renewable energy landscape after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. [Reuters Press Release]

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