Global Briefing: Paris Olympics targets zero food waste and more plant based meals

African green hydrogen plans, new coal-to-clean energy deals, and worsening climate impacts

Paris Olympics plans to half carbon footprint of meals served at the Games

Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet this week unveiled the catering strategy for the upcoming Olympic Games in the French capital, revealing a goal to half the average carbon footprint of meals served during the Games. French and sustainable cuisine in the spotlight during the Games.

The organising committee said it would work with NGOs and commercial partners to slash the impact of the estimated 13 million meals that will be served during Paris 2024 and showcase the best of sustainable food.

It said it would aim to deliver twice as many plant-based foods per meal and set an objective of zero food waste by sizing quantities, designing recipes that reduce the risk of waste, and recycling 100 per cent of non-consumed food.

It also said it would aim to ensure 80 per cent food supplies come from France, with 25 per cent sourced from within 250 kilometers of the competition sites. And it pledged to half the amount of single-use plastic in catering, in response to high expectations, particularly from athletes and consumers, to reduce plastic pollution.


African countries team up for new green hydrogen initiative

A group of Six African countries this week formally launched the Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance, with a view to accelerating to new energy technologies that open up access to clean, affordable energy supplies to all.

The governments of Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, Morocco, and Mauritania said they to foster collaboration in creating a sustainable intend environment to supercharge green development.

Following initial discussions at the COP26 Climate Summit last year and the official launch this week, the Alliance is now inviting more countries to join in this effort, responding to the opportunities presented by lower cost renewables, fast-developing electrolyser technology, and signals from several major markets that green hydrogen demand is likely to emerge at scale this decade.

The launch took place at the first-ever Green Hydrogen Global Assembly in Barcelona, ​​with support from the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the Green Hydrogen Organisation, the African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

“With its huge renewable energy resource wealth and land space, Africa has a chance to become a frontrunner in this burgeoning green hydrogen industry, creating zero-emission jobs, domestic energy supplies and export revenues fit for a decarbonised future,” said UN Climate Change High-Level Champions Nigel Topping and Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin. “But to get there, we need radical collaboration across the governments, the private sector and civil society to set the right policy and investment frameworks, and we need to secure long-term offtake agreements. The Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance will go a long way in fostering these developments.”


RWE issues €2bn green bond

German energy giant RWE has successfully issued a new €2bn green bond. The bond was issued in two tranches of €1bn each with maturities in 2026 and 2030. The company said the issuance “met with strong interest from investors”.

The latest issuance follows RWE issuing two green bonds last year with a total volume of €1.85bn. The company said that as stated in its RWE Green Bond Framework, wind and solar projects are eligible for green bond funding.


COP26 President hints at coal-to-clean energy deals with Indonesia and Vietnam

COP26 President Alok Sharma has hinted that a coalition of industrialized nations is exploring how to introduce new multi-billion dollar green funding packages to emerging emerging in Asia building on the just transition deal agreed with South Africa at the COP26 Climate Summit last year.

Climate Home News this week reported comments from Sharma confirming he had recently visited Vietnam and Indonesia and discussed the prospect of providing similar funding packages that could help them curb their reliance on coal power.

“There’s two countries which have significant growth in the economy, significant growth in the need for energy usage and both have a big potential when it comes to clean energy – both in terms of wind but also in terms of solar,” he said.


Michael Bloomberg announces $242m clean energy investment push

Michael Bloomberg this week announced a new $242m push to promote clean energy in 10 developing countries, as part of his plan to accelerate the closure of coal power plants worldwide.

The New York Times reported that the announcement had been tied to a gathering this week in Rwanda hosted by the Sustainable Energy for All group. The new funding will support clean energy programs in Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam.


WMO raises alarm over latest climate records

Four key climate change indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification – all set new records in 2021.” This is yet another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems,” the WMO said.

The WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 report confirmed that the past seven years have been the warmest seven years on record. 2021 was only one of the seven warmest because of a La Niña event at the start and end of the year, which had a temporary cooling effect but did not reverse the overall trend of rising temperatures. The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11C above the pre-industrial level.

Criticising “the dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres again called on governments to grab the “low-hanging fruit” of transforming energy systems away from the “dead end” of fossil fuels.


Climate Overshoot Commission appointed

The Climate Overshoot Commission formally launched this week, with three former presidents and one former prime minister among the membership of the 16-strong group.

The group has been tasked with exploring various mechanisms for reversing warming if global temperatures spiral beyond the goals of the Paris Agreement. As such, it will explore the feasibility and the likely challenges faced by controversial negative emissions and geo-engineering projects.

In a press release, the commission said that research indicates that “if these options supplemented emissions cuts and were governed well, they could help ward off harms to people and the planet”.

“All of us would prefer not to confront the consequences of insufficient action,” said the group’s chair Pascal Lamy, president of the Paris Peace Forum and former director general of the World Trade Organization. “To be clear, the primary strategy is and should remain the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

“But we also have an overriding responsibility to be prepared, in case we do not succeed. That means considering and anticipating all potential responses that could minimise the damage and suffering, especially of the most vulnerable.”


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