As countries begin to reopen their economies, technology experts meeting in the context of the June Momentum for Climate Change stressed that to make green recovery a reality, the immediate post-COVID-19 period of the next 6 to 9 months needs to focus on climate policies and climate-friendly technologies that have been tried and tested and are ready to be rolled out.
This was one of the key messages as technology experts met to identify how climate technologies and the Technology Mechanism under the Paris Agreement can support countries to achieve a green, sustainable economic recovery post COVID-19.
The Technology Mechanism consists of two complementary bodies: the Technology Executive Committee (TEC), its policy body and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), the mechanism's implementation body. Their functions are complementary and support efforts to address both policy and implementation aspects of climate technology development and transfer, including in developing countries.
Technology Mechanism representatives along with technology experts from the private sector, government, entrepreneurs and an international organization emphasized that clean technology has the potential to generate more jobs than investments in older sectors, which proves invaluable in building the recovery the world needs.
The TEC's Chair, Mareer Husny, said "Despite the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting postponement of COP26, the TEC is on track to deliver environmentally sound climate technology policies to support countries in implementing the Paris Agreement. As such, the TEC is keen to provide positive input into green economic recovery efforts, especially with respect to transfer and deployment of climate technologies."
While a multitude of policies and commercial climate-friendly technologies exist, easy access to finance remains one of the main challenges to implementing them.
Experts outlined that governments and international organizations can address these challenges and make technologies more cost effective in various ways, including facilitating the provision of grants and other funding for the implementation of different clean technologies, the introduction of legislation and incentive schemes that prioritize the use of new climate-friendly technologies and the promotion of improved efficiency of existing high-carbon emitting technologies.
Mary Stewart, the CEO of Energetics underlined: "The technologies to set us well on the path to deliver the emissions reductions required to limit warning to 1.5 degrees are currently available at commercial scale. From a policy perspective the low hanging fruit is to enable the implementation of these technologies."
Yet the deployment of climate technologies works best when underpinned by clear and solid policy, mainstreamed into national policies such as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Each NDC reflects the country's ambition, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities.
This year is critical with respect to climate change ambition as 2020 is the year in which Parties will submit their new or updated NDCs. NDCs are submitted once every five years and thus represent a key opportunity to capture post COVID-19 green recovery initiatives that go beyond the short-term.
While climate technologies tend to be country specific, stimulus support from governments should include requirements for ambitious climate action.
Key climate technologies will be those that generate the most jobs per investment. For example, energy efficiency programs that boost local employment and locally sourced equipment will be a good source of jobs and can deliver significant cost and emissions reductions.
Where homes are electrified, programs that address energy use are important. Whereas areas without electrification would benefit from the implementation of renewable energy, either small or large scale depending on the circumstances.
A range of support is available to developing countries to seize this opportunity.
The TEC provides recommendations on climate technology policies for countries on wide range of technology issues.
The CTCN provides technical assistance to countries based on their request.
The Green Climate Fund (GFC) is helping developing countries to leverage NDCs to green national recovery measures.
UN Climate Change also always stands ready to support countries.