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September 11, 2009 |  2 comments |  Print  Your Opinion  

Global Green Recovery Task Force

G20 Need to Push Green Technology Markets

Global Green Recovery Task Force: In a report commissioned by the Policy Planning Staff of the German Federal Foreign Office, an online task force conducted by the Atlantic Initiative with 26 experts from Germany, the US and the UK, derived green technology market recommendations in three broad areas: 1) generating new sources of revenues to fund green technologies; 2) intensifying dialogue on existing national green policies; and 3) spurring new international co-operation on green technologies.

The first set of recommendations focuses on the question of how to meet growing demand for public and private funding of green technologies. While it is easy to ask for more public spending, governments will face significant budget restrains in the next few years due to the financial crisis. In order to generate new sources of revenues to fund green technologies, the Atlantic Task Force recommends the following measures to Germany, the UK and the US:

-          Order international public financial institutions to make the financing of renewable-energy projects a priority providing at least 20% of new loans for energy efficiency and renewable energies.

-          Lift the percentage of auctioning revenues from emissions trading that must be reinvested in green projects inside and outside of the emissions-trading sectors to 50% by 2015 and 100% by 2020.

-          Generate new funding by auctioning national emission allowances under the UNFCCC system or through taxes on air tickets or bunker fuels.

-          Start to develop a market for "green bonds" that allows cheap refinancing and gives tax incentives to consumers with the proceeds to be directly invested in renewable-energy projects.

The second set of recommendations focuses on the question of how Germany, the UK and the US and the other G20 countries can intensify the dialogue on existing national green policies to mutually learn from each other and share best practices. To this end, the Task Force recommends the following:

-          Extend public procurement of clean technology. Leading by example, federal agencies should make their procurements as carbon neutral and encourage cities, municipalities and other public entities to buy a certain percentage of their energy needs from renewable sources to set an example. The initial focus should be on low-emissions transport (public transport, government vehicles, military equipment); green buildings; and IT.

-          The Transatlantic Economic Council should implement "Top Runner" approaches with cooperative identification of efficiency standards based on leading products and technologies to continuously raise the performance bar and position firms in a strong position to capture global market share.

-          Establish a best-practices roundtable on cleantech at the next G20 meeting focusing on a) feed-in tariffs as they have been proven to be an immensely successful tool for promoting investment in renewable electricity generation; and b) on lessons learned from the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as there is no need to repeat elsewhere the same initial mistakes made in the setup of the EU ETS.

The third set of recommendations focuses on new international co-operation on green technologies to spur breakthroughs in the areas of energy efficiency, electric mobility, plus-energy houses, solar power as well as CCS technologies. Here, the most important recommended measures include the following:

-          Create an Web 2.0 Cleantech Investment Forum. Building on the idea of the Transatlantic Climate Bridge the Federal Foreign Office should fund a Web 2.0-based platform to help renewable energy companies and entrepreneurs finance their innovations and projects. The Forum would serve as a one-stop hub with an efficient search system connecting public money, private investors, and cleantech business/entrepreneurs at one's fingertips. Its three major elements should be a user-friendly central database of all public money available for renewable energy in G20 countries or at least in the US, UK, and Germany; an online matchmaking platform for private investors around the world; and a central hub for services regarding renewable energy.

-          Analyze in which areas a greater harmonization of green technology standards, codes and contractual principles makes sense, encourage the development of common patent standards and facilitate greater coordination in dealing with counterfeiting and piracy. A transatlantic or G20 workshop group should develop contractual principles for businesses engaging in green-technology licensing in developing countries. In addition, Eco-Patent Commons should be supported. Finally, bilateral code acceptance agreements should be given high priority as differences in building- and construction-code standards pose the biggest barriers of entry to technology-developing companies from any country seeking to transfer these technologies to the other markets.

-          Establish a transatlantic panel to analyse current green-technology initiatives and their potential environmental, economic and social costs and benefits and assess how current programs could be improved within each country. The panel should also suggest how best practices can best be emulated in other countries' political realms.

-          Bundle research and expertise from academia, engineering/business, finance and politics across the G20 to develop mechanisms, rules and norms that can help foster the creation of clean-technology markets. The focus should be on low-cost solar photovoltaic, energy storage, electric mobility and fuel cells.

-          Define legitimate forms of public "green" aid through agreements that state support to specific green activities (in terms of subsidies, tax reductions or any other form) are non-discriminatory. State-aid practices, procurement policies and subsidies should be harmonized with a maximum of transparency.

-          Work with the Carbon Disclosure Project to push the campaign for disclosure of carbon emissions within balance sheets in order to evaluate the "carbon footprint" of companies.

-          Set up public-private partnerships for large-scale G20 demonstration and flagship projects in electric mobility, energy storage, power generation, efficiency and CCS

-          Open and sustain the markets for green technologies through better trade policy by discontinuing direct or hidden subsidies to climate-changing activities. The G20 should make green aid a priority issue at the WTO level.

-          Expand and reform climate-related development assistance as part the UNFCCC process to align national development targets with global environmental objectives.

-          Establish a permanent group of "Energy and Climate Sherpas" in the G20 process. The high-level staff of the Heads of State and Government and the ministers should meet regularly, in order to interlock efforts and align priorities on multiple levels.

Please visit the Atlantic Task Force "Global Green Recovery," a joint project of Atlantische Initiative e.V. and the Policy Planning Staff of the German Foreign Office, for more information.

The full report is available for download below.

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I like this Article! What's this?

Donald  Stadler

September 13, 2009

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I like this comment! What's this?
My initial reaction to this elaborate plan is it sounds like complete Bull.

Specifically Honeywell-Bull or Groupe Bull. During the 80's the French government poured many billion dollars of public francs into Groupe Bull. Alas, this capital influx did not lead to success in the marketplace. Possibly because Groupe Bull's market WAS the French government rather than - actual customers.

I see here a much more ambitious scheme than Groupe Bull, a plan breathtaking in it's ambition. A plan which proposes nothing less than to guide and finance an entire new industry, and also force a market for that industry to come into being - whether it will or not. Breathtaking.

It's a beautiful vision (as was Groupe Bull). The Bull was slain by the brutal fact that there were no customers; this will also, I fear.

In American parlance a group of many objects can be termed a 'load'.

Therefore I will call this what it is - a load of (Groupe) Bull.
Unregistered User

February 16, 2010

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I like this comment! What's this?
The only things being advocated here are constructing structures to racketeer. Governments should not be conducting the details of how people behave in an economy. That is, in effect, a cryptic, unamed revival of the failed and wasteful command economies of the past.

The ordering of things that financial institutions must do is foolish beyond measure, and is preceisely why the California energy market melted down, and precisely how Americans ended up with the mortgage markets triggering bank crises: because businesses were compelled by threat of lawsuit and by statute to perform enterprise efforts driven solely by social service measure.

In effect we are looking at think-tank types trying to coerce governments to compel action by private citizens to do their will at the expense of those citizens by compulsion.

It's no wonder that the advocates of this kind of thing are frequently too young to have a genuine awareness of history, or much life experience for that matter. Nor, do I suspect, have the advocates ever held a job that required them to perform successfully through their own actions and decisions which had to break even, or create enough of a profit to create a job for anyone else.

I also suspect that the same advocates of these measure ever had to place their own savings of earnings at the risk of what they advocate.

This is the kind of externalized theorizing that wrecks economies and societies if they're foolish enough to permit scholars to put their theses into practice at the risk of other peoples' well being.

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