Alexander Ochs

COP21, INDCs and Future Implementation Tools

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Feb 052016
 

Presentation at GECCO-IUCN-USAID webinar on Gender equality & mitigation: COP21 implications for implementing mitigation activities, 5 Feb 2015

Recording of the Webinar is available [here].

Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables

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Jan 292016
 

By Zadie Neufvillelogo-IPS

KINGSTON, Jan 18 2016 (IPS) – By year’s end, Jamaica will add 115 mega watts (MW) of renewable capacity to the power grid, in its quest to reduce energy costs and diversify the energy mix in electricity generation to 30 per cent by 2030. With 90 per cent of its electricity coming from fossil fuels, the government is committed to reducing the country’s carbon emissions by increasing the amount of electricity generated from renewables from 9 per cent now, to 15 per cent by 2020. (…)

WorldWatch Institute’s Sustainable Energy Roadmap for Jamaica 2013 stated that increasing the number of households using solar water heaters, could save an additional 75 to 100 GWh of electricity per year. It concluded that there was a need to create a “smooth transition” to a sustainable and economically viable energy system. (…)

Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy confirmed the report’s findings, noting that Jamaica’s “entire electricity demand could be met with renewable resources” from solar and wind energy. The public sector has already begun its own programme of retrofitting and energy reduction strategies that is said to be saving millions of dollar in expenditure at government agencies and institutions.

Worldwatch noted that investments of roughly 6 billion dollars could increase the contribution of renewables to Jamaica’s electricity production to 93 per cent by 2030, while significantly slashing energy costs. So armed with feasibility studies that points to the possibility for hydropower development along six rivers, Robinson is setting his sights on the road ahead, and another 26MW of power in the very near future.

Find full article here: Jamaica’s Climate Change Fight Fuels Investments in Renewables _ Inter Press Service

Presenting on “After Paris: the climate’s changing, can the world?” at Rachel Carson Center Today

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Jan 262016
 

Interview: Alexander Ochs Discusses the Transition to a Clean Global Economy

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Jan 142016
 

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By Ethan Goffman, http://earthtalk.org/interview-alexander-ochs/

For the past 15 years, Alexander Ochs has been an important figure in international efforts to fight climate change and develop green energy, working with United Nations and other international agencies. Among many endeavors, he is President of theForum for Atlantic Climate and Energy Talks, is Founding Chair of the LEDS-GP Energy Working Group, and is an adviser to the German Government’s International Climate Initiative. Ochs’ academic career is also distinguished; he teaches at Johns Hopkins University and has co-edited three books and published dozens of research articles. As Senior Director of Climate and Energy at the Worldwatch Institute, Ochs has developed a series of sustainable energy roadmaps and implementation plans that are helping bring clean energy to Central America and the Caribbean, with plans to expand to new regions. Ochs also participated in the Paris climate summit. EarthTalk’s Ethan Goffman interviewed him via Skype in his Berlin, Germany office…

 

Or read the full transcript below…

EarthTalk: You’ve worked at the Worldwatch Institute on a series of sustainable energy roadmaps to help countries transition to a clean economy. Why are such roadmaps necessary?

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Tips for living green in 2016

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Jan 112016
 

January 10th 2016 NationalObserver_160111

In December global leaders met in Paris to hammer out an agreement to try and hold global warming to a 1.5 Celsius degree rise in temperature. But while we hold our elected officials responsible for greenhouse gas emission reductions, what can we and what do we do ourselves to contribute to that goal? National Observer asked a number of experts for tips on how you can reduce your personal carbon footprint. (…)

Alexander Ochs, senior director of climate and energy for Worldwatch Institute, questions the ideal of the typical North American, two-garage home with a large lawn. “Is it really worth the two hours commute you do every day to get to your workplace?” he rhetorically asks. Continue reading »

Advancing Low Carbon Development in the West African Region

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Dec 092015
 

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COP 21 Panel, 8 December 2015, African Pavilion. Presented by: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). This panel discussed advancing low carbon development in West Africa and was moderated by Youba Sokona, Special Advisor on Sustainable Development, South Centre.

Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy, Worldwatch Institute, said there will be no sustainable economic growth or social development if Africa’s main energy source is fossil fuels. He said centralized fossil fuel based energy systems are not going to solve the problem of climate change or increase access to energy because they are too expensive, and he therefore recommended decentralized systems and renewable energy. He said Africa is not starting from scratch and that there have already been some “enormous advances” in technology and policy development.

COP21_Panel_AfricanPavilon

Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECREEE, outlined that of the 334 million people in the ECOWAS region only 42% have access to energy and that the energy used mostly comes from fossil fuels and biomass. He said the ECOWAS Energy Strategy for 2030 aims to provide 100% of the region’s population with access to clean cooking energy by 2030 and increase the share of renewable energy in the overall electricity mix to 35% by 2020. He noted another aim to improve the electrification rate from 34% to 88%, an increase equivalent to 60 million households gaining access to electricity between 2015 and 2030. Continue reading »

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: THE UNITED STATES FINALLY SHOWS LEADERSHIP IN THE CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS

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Dec 052015
 

Alexander Ochs, published as Worldwatch Institute blog

Many of us still remember the images from the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, which was launched as “Hopenhagen” with great expectations and concluded in the “Flopenhagen” fiasco: the disappointment of freezing environmentalists lining up in front of the Bella Convention Center; the desperate faces of exhausted negotiators; the Danish sherpas trying to argue small successes in the summit’s failure.

But America’s political superstars would not succeed if they didn’t manage to emerge as winners, even in moments of defeat. U.S. president Barack Obama somehow thwarted the image of Europeans marked by the poor results of months of negotiations. Obama flew in to Copenhagen by helicopter, cut through the icy Scandinavian winds toward the conference venue, and assembled those around him whom he decided were the chosen few.

It is this other image that we conjure up when remembering Copenhagen: the U.S. president, with his sleeves rolled up, surrounded by the representatives of Brazil, China, India, and South Africa. The message: “We saved what could be saved.” But to anyone familiar enough with the negotiations to look behind the façade, this image actually showed those who had sabotaged the ambitious plans of Europeans and their coalition of “more willing but less mighty.” The picture was deceptive: What was rescued was not the climate, the environment, or sustainable development, but a minimal consensus to continue talking. After that, the world became relatively silent on climate diplomacy. But the talking did continue, and it led to much more progress than could have been expected shortly after Copenhagen.

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Paris ist eine gewaltige Chance

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Dec 012015
 

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Von Alexander Ochs

  • Am Ende des Klimagipfels von Paris könnte eine tatsächlich historische, die Welt verändernde Einigung stehen.

Manchem Beobachter sind heute noch die Bilder von Kopenhagen präsent, vom Klimagipfel 2009, der als “Hopenhagen” mit so großen Erwartungen gestartet war und im Fiasko von “Flopenhagen” endete: Die Enttäuschung der Umweltaktivisten, die Erklärungsversuche der dänischen Verhandlungsleitung, die leeren Gesichter der erschöpften Verhandler. Doch US-Präsident Barack Obama schaffte es, im Moment der Niederlage als Sieger dazustehen. Er vermittelte dieses andere Bild von Kopenhagen, auf dem die Europäer nicht auftauchen: Obama, mit hochgekrempelten Ärmeln. Die Message: Hier wurde gerettet, was zu retten war. Gerettet wurde nicht das Klima, sondern lediglich ein Minimalkonsens. Danach wurde es für Jahre wieder deutlich stiller um die Klimadiplomatie.

Bis jetzt. Der Klimagipfel in Paris ist keiner der Zwischenjahre, in denen nur vorbereitet und debattiert wird – er ist wieder einer der Wichtigen, “a big one”, so wie Rio 1992, Kyoto 1997 und Kopenhagen 2009. Aber diesmal deutet vieles darauf hin, dass am Ende tatsächlich ein Sieg für alle stehen könnte; dass sich die Regierungen aller Staaten auf weitreichende Maßnahmen zum Klimaschutz werden einigen können. Am Ende des Klimagipfels von Paris, am 12. oder 13. Dezember 2015, könnte eine tatsächlich historische, die Welt verändernde Einigung stehen; eine Einigung darüber, wie Staaten wirtschaften, wie sie Energie produzieren und nutzen, wie sie mit ihren Wäldern umgehen, wie sie sich für Umweltveränderungen wappnen; und noch weitergehend, wie sie bei alledem miteinander umgehen. Continue reading »

FOLLOW WORLDWATCH AT UN CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS

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Nov 302015
 

COP21.logoWorldwatch will contribute to the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) starting in Paris, France today by advising governmental delegations, participating in high-level consultations, and speaking at conferences for the general public. We invite you to follow these events as they unfold, either with us in Paris or through our blog and Twitter account.

“The Paris climate summit has all the ingredients to make history: an almost universal understanding of the urgency to act, an agreement on the final document within reach, and governments worldwide determined to act,” says Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy and Worldwatch’s head of delegation.

“A quarter century after the world embarked on protecting the atmosphere, we are closer than ever to making real change happen. Paris can alter the way we generate and consume energy; manufacture goods; produce our food and treat our forests and peatlands; run our transport systems; respond to the ecosystem changes already underway; and, maybe most importantly, work together across borders when confronted with problems of global scale,” says Ochs. “Let’s seize this opportunity!”

Worldwatch will be among the international civil society organizations at the COP21 that will lead in debates and discussions about solutions to climate change. Check out our event lineup below and keep an eye on this critical moment.

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What to expect after the Paris climate talks: A quick survey

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Nov 272015
 

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Claudia Delpero
Road To Paris – Science for Smart Policy

 

From 30 November to 11 December, representatives of over 190 countries gather in Paris to reach a global agreement on how to deal with climate change after the expiry of Kyoto Protocol. The talks take place in a city that has been shaken by the Nov 13 terrorist attacks, under a state of emergency, and high security detail for a COP. (…)

We asked experts from a variety of sectors what they expected to see after COP21. We’ll continue to update this from the conference in the next two weeks. (…)

Alexander Ochs, Director Climate and Energy Program, Worldwatch Institute. Washington – Berlin:

“We will continue helping individual countries and municipalities transform their energy systems, including in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Why the focus on developing countries? Because this is where the development needs are the strongest and the pressure not to embark on a development path dependent on fossil fuels is the greatest. In Haiti, for example, 10% of Gross Domestic Product is squandered on fossil fuels while two thirds of the populations still do not have reliable energy access. In at least four out of five countries worldwide there is now a clear economic argument to move from conventional fuels to renewables and to boost efficiency. There are challenges also in North America and Europe, but the most suffering from today’s unjust, unaffordable, and unsustainable energy system is in the regions less developed.”

Full text [here]

Against the Odds, Caribbean Doubles Down for 1.5 Degree Deal in Paris

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Nov 242015
 

By Zadie Neufville

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 23 2015 (IPS) – Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy. (…)

While agreeing that PetroCaribe could be a disincentive for investments in domestic renewable energy, Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at WorldWatch Institute noted, “Caribbean governments are increasingly aware of the enormous financial, environmental and social costs associated with continued dependence on fossil fuels.” (…)

“Even if the problem of global warming did not exist, and the burning of fossil fuels did not result in extensive local air and water pollution, CARICOM would still have to mandate to transition away from these fuels as swiftly as possible for reasons of social opportunity, economic competitiveness and national security, ”said Ochs, one of the authors of the new Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, launched on October 28. (…)

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CARICOM Celebrates Energy Week, Energy Centre Inauguration

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Nov 142015
 

IISD Reporting Service, 14 NovemberCARICOM.logo

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) hosted the fifth CARICOM Energy Week (CEW) under the theme ‘EmPOWERING Our Sustainable Development.’ The annual awareness-raising event highlights the importance of energy for economic development in the region. To mark CEW, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was inaugurated, and a baseline report for the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) was released.

CEW was held 8-14 November 2015, with CARICOM member States hosting events, such as panel discussions, site visits to renewable energy projects, the Electric Mobility Show and Conference, and activities with local schools. The Week also featured contests, such as a radio pop quiz with prizes, kilo-walk, energy app competition, video competition, and photo and art competition.

In conjunction with the Centre’s inauguration, the Worldwatch Institute launched the C-SERMS Baseline Report and Assessment, which analyzes the region’s current energy policy framework, evaluates renewable energy and energy efficiency potential, and suggests regional short-, medium- and long-term targets for the energy sector. Among the recommended targets are achieving 48% of electricity generation from renewable energy by 2027 and a 33% reduction in the region’s energy intensity.

[Full article here]

 


 

A Tragedy with a Happy Ending? The United States before the Climate Summit in Paris

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Nov 132015
 

El 85% de la electricidad sería renovable en el 2030

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Jul 082015
 

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Esto reduciría los precios en 40% respecto a 2010, según informe
ECONOMÍA PERSONAL

| 08 JUL 2015, 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON.- La transición a un sistema eléctrico alimentado por 85% de energías renovables puede reducir el coste medio de la electricidad en la República Dominicana por 40% en 2030 en comparación con 2010, según un informe del Instituto Worldwatch, presentando en el Ministerio de Energía y Minas dominicano.

DomRepSERlaunch_2015“Esta vía ambiciosa hasta energías renovables haría más seguro y confiable el suministro de energía de la isla. También crearía hasta 12.500 puestos de trabajo adicionales y reduciría las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en el sector eléctrico dominicano a apenas 3 millones de toneladas al año, a la vez que haría más resistente el sector de energía a los impactos del cambio climático y reduciría la contaminación local del aire y del agua”, indica el comunicado de prensa sobre el informe Aprovechamiento de los Recursos de Energía Sostenible de la República Dominicana.

El Ministro de Energía y Minas Antonio Isa Conde; el Viceministro de Energía, Ernesto Vilalta; el Secretario de Estado y Vicepresidente del Consejo Nacional para el Cambio Climático, Omar Ramírez, y otros funcionarios gubernamentales de alto rango se reunieron con Alexander Ochs, Director de Clima y Energía de Worldwatch y director del estudio, para recibir el informe.

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Climate and population are linked — but maybe not the way you thought

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Jan 242015
 

 

gristBy  and , Grist, 24 January 2015

It’s not a topic that comes up in high-level international negotiations on climate change. Yet who would disagree that when individuals and couples use modern contraception to plan childbearing according to a schedule that suits them, they tend to have fewer children than they would otherwise? Could it be that this aspect of family planning, multiplied hundreds of millions of times, might lessen the severity of human-caused climate change and boost societies’ capacity to adapt to it?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, after all, recently noted that population and economic growth “continue to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.” Not many analysts see “win-win” opportunities in reining in economic growth. Population growth, by contrast, might be slowed as a side effect of efforts that have multiple other benefits — such as education, empowerment of women, and the provision of reproductive health services including safe and effective contraception. And there’sreason to believe that slower population growth also makes societies more resilient to the impacts of climate change already upon us or on the way.

This line of reasoning raises concerns among some groups that are active in climate change advocacy, who argue that linking family planning to climate change amounts to blaming parents of large families in developing countries for a phenomenon caused more by smaller but high-consuming families in industrialized countries. A more pragmatic worry may be the less-than-generous pie of international funding available to address climate change. Should family planning have precedence over renewable energy and direct efforts to adapt to climate change, when the needs are so great and the financial resources to address them are already insufficient? Continue reading »

WEBINAR RECORDING: Energy Low-Emissions Development Strategies: A Regional Overview of Africa and Experiences from Cape Verde and Kenya

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Jan 232015
 

LEDS_GP_logoRecording of the webinar from 22 January 2015:

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 Introduction & Moderation

Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch Institute/EWG Chair

 Regional Overview: Low Emission Energy Development in Africa
John Yeboah, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency/EWG co-Chair

 Learning from Cape Verde’s Renewable Energy Plan
Anildo Costa, Consultant to the Government of Cape Verde

 Learning from Kenya’s Renewable Energy Plan
Esther Wang’ombe, Government of Kenya

Q&A

 

Bridging the Gap: Family Planning, Rights, and Climate-Compatible Development

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Jan 212015
 

NewSecurityBeatJanuary 21, 2015 By Benjamin Dills

“There is no magic bullet or solution to resolving climate change quickly,” said the Population Reference Bureau’s Jason Bremner at the Wilson Center on October 28. “Our next 100 years will be far different from the last 100 or the last 1000…and it has become clear that nations will have to pursue many strategies in order to reduce emissions, build resilience, and adapt.” (…) 

Climate-compatible development has two complementary goals, said Alexander Ochs of the Worldwatch Institute: to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the capacity of people, communities, and countries to adapt to climate change and extreme weather. (…)

 

The energy, transport, and climate communities were traditionally separated, said Ochs, but just as they are increasingly working together to curb emissions, the climate, health, and development communities need to do the same. That means creating regular opportunities for dialogue at all levels, from local to international negotiations and the Sustainable Development Goals.

[Please find the full article HERE.]

Energy Low-Emissions Development Strategies: A Regional Overview of Africa and Experiences from Cape Verde and Kenya

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Jan 162015
 

LEDS_GP_logoDear Friends and Colleagues,

I am excited to announce the next webinar in our series on regional leaders in climate-compatible development and their innovative energy approaches from around the world.

Please join us on January 22 at 2 PM GMTfor an online sessionon Energy Low-Emissions Development Strategies: A Regional Overview of Africa and Experiences from Cape Verde and Kenya. Please register for free at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5131648729578459906.

Our regional leaders series is part of our work within the Low Emission Development Strategies – Global Partnership (LEDS-GP), an international initiative aiming to enhance information exchange and cooperation among countries, international programs and practitioners working to advance climate-compatible growth. Worldwatch, as host of the secretariat of the LEDS Energy Working Group (EWG), facilitates these webinars in cooperation with the LEDS Regional Platforms. Recordings of our previous sessions on Latin America/Caribbean and Asia, as well as other LEDS-EWG webinars, can be found here.

[Here] you can find a flyer. Please help us spread the news about this exciting series. Thank you!

Best,

Alexander Ochs
Director, Climate and Energy Program
Worldwatch Institute

Can clean energy trump chaotic politics?

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Jan 132015
 

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Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter, Published: Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Five years after a catastrophic magnitude-7 earthquake rocked Haiti, killing 220,000 people and leaving the capital city of Port au Prince in ruins, clean energy experts say they are cautiously optimistic about progress despite the country’s political turmoil. A recent road map published by the Worldwatch Institute described the Caribbean island nation as being at an energy crossroads. Just a quarter of the country’s 10 million population has access to electricity, the lowest rate in the region, and the vast majority of those who do live in urban areas. Meanwhile, about 85 percent of the country’s electricity generation depends on imported oil. But, it finds, powering the country with 90 percent renewable energy is “a realistic option.” Doing so, the authors argue, can improve Haitians’ access to energy and create a low-carbon model of growth for other small island nations. But the effort won’t be without serious challenges. (…)

Alexander Ochs, director of climate and energy for the Worldwatch Institute, said “bottom-up” energy access work is where the most promise is in Haiti at the moment. “I think people are taking power, the electricity power, into their own hands now,” Ochs said. On a national level, he noted, “policies have not changed much” in Haiti, and said it’s up to the government to change the country’s course.

From a technical standpoint, according to the Worldwatch study, promise for developing an electricity sector based on renewable energy in Haiti abounds. In outlining several scenarios for expanding clean power, researchers conclude that achieving a 90 percent share of renewable energy would call for investing in 120 megawatts of natural gas capacity by 2030 while adding about 1,900 MW of renewables to its existing hydropower capacity. Yet wariness from investors because of political instability and policy confusion remains a major problem. (…)