A Peer-Reviewed Publication about our life in the future that cannot be envisaged without a decent and effective system of learning for future generations.
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A sustainable future is based on a learning society
UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND
Escalating planetary crises, including climate change, the depletion of natural resources and the human-induced sixth mass extinction, pose increasing demands on pursuing a good life. As the planet is reaching its limits, old perceptions of well-being are being questioned.
A holistic transformation is needed for the planet to accommodate people’s pursuit of well-being. A new study by an international team of researchers explores a Theory of Planetary Social Pedagogy as a driver of a transformative process based on a learning society.
The Theory of Planetary Social Pedagogy is a way of learning applicable to all societal sectors. According to it, people, societies and the world are an interlinked, systemic entity. Such a worldview can make life meaningful, increase people’s experiences of belonging and inclusion, expand the scope of care, and help people identify their opportunities to influence.
In a time marked by crises, learning to be one with the world is increasingly essential. In many ways, our everyday lives are linked with all other life on Earth. People are constantly connected to their surrounding reality through, for example, the food they eat and the air they breathe.
According to Professor Arto O. Salonen of the University of Eastern Finland, the study’s lead author, the main reason behind the escalating planetary crises is the illusion of people being detached from their surrounding reality.
“As we strive for a comprehensive sustainability transition, we need increasingly robust and more systemic interpretations of reality.”
The current political strategy for a sustainable future emphasises economic and technological progress, but that is not enough. Learning is needed, too. A learning society relies on changes in its citizens’ values, beliefs and worldviews.
“How we become aware of our everyday connection to other people and nature at the level of our emotions, body and mind stands at the core of the sustainability transition,” says Planning Manager Erkka Laininen of the OKKA Foundation for Teaching, Education, and Personal Development, a co-author of the study. Having an experience of belonging to and being part of the world strengthens people’s sense of meaningfulness and their agency needed in building a sustainable future.
The transformative power of a learning society can be a key factor in the green transformation permeating all society, in which citizens’ consumer behaviour and ways of living, moving and producing food and energy are organised in new ways. Conceptions of work and the economy can be reformed, too.
A sustainable future is not about life becoming more miserable – it’s about life becoming richer and more meaningful as hope for the future grows stronger.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for action from public and private sectors to deliver $500 billion a year in affordable, long-term financing to developing countries.
The ongoing eighth World Investment Forum, organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Abu Dhabi, focuses on the investment challenges faced by the world’s developing countries amid today’s global crises.
Guterres, in a statement, urged heads of state, ministers, business leaders, sovereign wealth fund managers, private sector executives, stock exchanges and experts to put the Sustainable Development Goals Stimulus Package into effect and work towards delivering $500 billion annual investment for developing countries.
He also called on governments to establish a fair price on carbon and companies to implement credible net-zero plans, aligning with the high-level expert group’s recommendations on non-state entities’ net-zero emissions commitments.
Separately, the ‘Global Leaders Investment Summit 2023’ addressed the $4 trillion SDG investment gap, as only 15 per cent of the SDGs are on target to be met by 2030, with the investment gap in the developing world growing from $2.5 trillion per year in 2015 to $4 trillion now. The summit revealed a staggering $6 trillion valuation for the sustainable finance market.
“Not enough funds are going into new renewable energy plants, water and sanitation installations, agricultural projects, hospitals. And only 5 per cent of all sustainable funds are located in developing countries,” Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said.
“Funding exists, but allocation has been misguided.”
Leaders, including Germany’s Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, discussed ways to close the SDG investment gap, mobilise sustainable finance in global capital markets, ensure sustainability standards in sustainable finance and channel more funds to where they are needed most.
The discussion emphasised the key need for international coordination given the scale of the investment needs and blended finance involving both public and private sectors, including new actors such as sovereign wealth funds.
The forum spotlighted critical sectors, such as the just energy transition and perspectives from countries like Indonesia, South Africa and Vietnam.
The forum held under the theme ‘Investing in Sustainable Development’ strategically aligns with the upcoming global climate change talks at COP28. A dedicated track within the forum will focus on advancing climate finance and investment, providing a crucial platform for policymakers to find solutions and support global climate negotiations.
Viewed globally, it is above all individuals and households that are pursuing adaptation to the impacts of climate change; systematic networking of the various groups affected is lacking. This is the conclusion reached by an international team of experts from Universität Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence for climate research (CLICCS) and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU). Their meta-study was released in the journal Nature Climate Change.
For their meta-study, the 30 authors analyzed more than 1,400 academic studies on climate change adaptation. By doing so, they offer the first global overview of which groups of actors are pursuing adaptation—and how.
Their findings show that the global distribution of tasks lacks cohesion. Above all, there are few concepts designed to better prepare societies, infrastructures and risk management for the impacts of climate change. Extensive collaborations between various government and non-government actors are also lacking.
“Our study indicates that climate change adaptation continues to be largely isolated and uncoordinated,” says Dr. Kerstin Jantke, a co-author and environmental researcher at Universität Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence CLICCS. “That’s disproportionate to how pressing and vital this challenge is.”
Dr. Jan Petzold, the study’s first author, sees a need for action. “Comprehensive, just and forward-thinking adaptation can be considered to be successful when not only official organizations but also a broad range of groups at all levels are involved,” said Petzold.
Petzold, currently a geographer at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, was a member of the Cluster of Excellence CLICCS until the fall of 2021.
To date, primarily individuals and households are taking measures to adapt to climate change impacts, especially in the Global South; very few of them are integrated into institutional frameworks. However, there is also an urban-rural divide. While individual households are largely active in rural areas, government actors tend to coordinate adaptation in cities.
In many cases, the role of governments—global, national and regional—consists in ratifying, planning and financing adaptation measures, while small households are who do most of the technical implementation. According to the study, the scientific community’s involvement in adaptation measures is limited, while that of the private economy is virtually non-existent.
“If, around the globe, it’s predominantly individuals like farmers and smallholders who are doing the heavy lifting, it also shows us the lack of cooperation between different groups of actors—which is a prerequisite for sustainable adaptation projects,” says Jan Petzold. Coordinated concepts are indispensable for far-reaching measures like the climate-aware restructuring of forests, transforming farmland into floodplains, planning new urban infrastructures, and relocating coastal communities.
Involving different groups of actors can also help avoid undesired effects of adaptation measures. “If I only design a given measure to address a single, pressing problem, it could make the situation worse in other areas,” says Kerstin Jantke. For example, levees and dams designed to protect from flooding could destroy coastlines and wetlands, reducing biodiversity or natural CO2 sinks.
Consequently, comprehensive measures should ideally be oriented on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helping ensure it offers solutions that are tenable in the long term.
All over the world, advances in technology present a good opportunity to rebuild energy systems to meet global climate goals. The strong risk-adjusted returns and positive environmental impact will certainly, in any case, mean there is no looking back: Energy transition in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region is going down on a oneway road.
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No looking back: Energy transition in Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region
In many ways, this year was the tipping point for renewable energy. The world has woken up to the imperative of energy transition, and countries around the world have made progress on this front, albeit to different degrees. We take stock of their situation in this multi-part series.
Claimed as one of the highest-potential regions for renewables and energy storage in the world, the Middle East and the Africa have just began exploring their possibility of unlocking the region’s natural and geopolitical advantages in this regard. Storage projects are becoming key factors in achieving RE targets in this region, especially in countries such as Jordon, Israel, Morocco, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and so on.
The prime drivers of energy storage in the region are as following:
Intermittency in solar and wind power generation warrants robust energy storage systems in place for reliable and consistent energy supply
Demand for grid improvements and control of load-shedding across vast and remote areas of the region fuels the critical need for energy storage
Push from power utilities and government policies to invest in battery storage, as in countries such as South Africa and Israel
Interest shown by private sector IPPs in energy storage
Ease in lending by DFIs and commercial banks for energy storage projects under RE sector
As per a recent report by Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), about 30 energy storage projects are planned in MENA region between 2021 and 2025 with a total capacity of 653 MW / 3,382 MWh.
Pumped hydro storage (PHS) and electrochemical energy storage, Sodium-Sulphur (NaS) and lithium-ion batteries in particular, are the preferred technologies in the region. The storage duration hovers between 32 minutes and 2 hours for li-Ion batteries, 6 hours for NaS batteries, and 10 hours in the case of thermal storage.
The share of battery energy storage is expected to jump from the current 7 percent to 45 percent by 2025, APICORP report adds.
A fair share of ES projects, both planned and already operational, are coming up in the GCC (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman), North Africa (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), and some key projects in the Levant (Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon).
Some of the key developments in ES projects in 2023 are as following:
Israel has announced 800 MW/ 3,200 MWh BESS buildout comprising four facilities of 200 MW and 4 hours’ storage duration each in the northern Gilboa mountain range region.
West Africa’s first BESS project (16 MW of solar PV with 10 MW/ 20 MWh) dedicated to frequency regulation is coming up in Senegal – the largest BESS in the country as of now.
Masen is undertaking Noor Midelt III solar-storage project with 400 MWh of BESS capacity in Morocco – the largest energy storage project in the country.
Ncondezi Energy has secured land agreement for 300 MW solar-cum-storage project in Mozambique early this year.
South Africa has floated RfP for 513 MW of battery storage early this year.
Sungrow to build 536 MW/ 600 MWh BESS for ACWA Power in Neom smart city in Saudi Arabia.
Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) has called for 300 MW/ 300 MWh of BESS capacity in UAE in the next three years.
The year 2023 is considered as pivotal period for the MENA region in embracing e-mobility. Investors are identifying unique opportunities to capitalize the emerging EV space, which is seen as a corollary to the emergence of RE, energy storage, and smart grid initiatives in recent times.
The Middle East and African EV market size is expected to grow from $2.70 billion in 2023 to $7.65 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 23.20 percent, predicts Mordor Intelligence.
Some of the critical factors influencing the region’s transition to EVs are as following:
Abundant solar and wind energy potentials that can support a vibrant EV ecosystem
Change in policy focus of governments in the region to promote the use of EVs with tax incentives
Rising government initiatives to build charging infrastructure
Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries burdened with fuel dependency and subsidies are in urgent need of alternative energy sources for transport
Startups and incubators are showing high interest in new business models
Western electric car markets are showing interests to enter the premium markets in the region
Leading countries in this emerging EV endeavor in the MENA region are Turkey, Israel, Jordon, UAE, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Here are the latest developments in this regard:
UAE has revised its national EV policy with a target of achieving 50 percent EV penetration in total vehicles by 2050. The country also plans to build 914 AC and DC charging stations for electric vehicles by the end of 2023.
Dubai has vowed to increase the city’s network of public charging stations by 170 percent in the next three years – from 370 points currently to 680 by 2025.
Israel has registered a 10 percent rise in EV sales in the first half of 2023 as against last year.
Turkey is fast-emerging as an EV manufacturing hub in the Middle East, with global OEMs like Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, and Renault establishing JVs for EV assembly to cater to local and export markets.
The COP27 held in Egypt last November kick-started a pivotal moment for green hydrogen investments in the MENA region. A slew of announcements in the past one year have put the region under the spotlight, thanks to a combination of factors such as rising global demand (especially for Europe), cost reductions via innovation, and pre-existing conditions suitable for production and transportation of green hydrogen.
At present, over 46 green hydrogen and ammonia projects across Middle East and Africa has been identified, with an estimated total budget of more than $92 billion. Although the current active hydrogen capacity is just 0.2 million tons per annum, reports predict a huge capacity expansion in the coming years owing to export potential.
According to MEED, the demand in Europe alone is forecast to double to 30 million tons a year by 2030 and to 95 million tons by 2050. With the scaling up of European investments in the region’s hydrogen landscape, a vast majority of this demand is likely to be fed by the green hydrogen produced in MENA region.
Leading countries in the hydrogen rush in the region are Egypt, Mauritania, Oman, Kenya, the UAE, South Africa, Namibia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. Some of the key developments in MENA’s green hydrogen landscape in 2023 are as following:
At COP27, Egypt garnered nine projects worth $83 billion, with a capacity to make 7.6 million tons of green ammonia and 2.7 million tons of green hydrogen per year.
UAE has announced two hydrogen production hubs called as ‘oasis’ by 2031, with a production target of 1.4 million tons of green H2 per year by 2031 and 15 million tons by 2050.
Saudi Arabia’s NEOM Helios – claimed as the world’s largest green hydrogen plant – has concluded EPC agreements with Air Products and other agreements with financial institutions. The project under construction is scheduled to become operational in 2026.
Oman Acme Group green hydrogen hub to produce 2,400 TPD of green ammonia with an annual production of 0.9 million tons became operational.
ACWA Power, OQ, and Air Products have invested on a world-scale green hydrogen-based ammonia plant in Oman. Preliminary work for the construction of the facility has started.
Marubeni Corporation and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) are conducting a feasibility study for producing clean hydrogen in the country for export markets. PIF is already working on another green hydrogen project with POSCO, finalized in 2021.
Hyphen Hydrogen Energy has announced the next phase of a $10 billion green hydrogen project that is coming up in Namibia.
What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? The answer to this is given by myclimate. The republication of such an article is meant to help serve the obvious reason of vulgarising as much as possible this notion of sustainability in all its various items.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are common, universal goals for member states of the United Nations to transform the world into a fairer, more prosperous and peaceful society until 2030. They were adopted in September 2015 as successors to the Millennium Goals.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their 169 targets, form the core of the 2030 Agenda. They balance the economic, social and ecological dimensions of sustainable development. With the SDGs, all states, not only developing countries, are called upon to end poverty, achieve gender equality, improve health and education, make cities more sustainable, combat climate change, protect forests and much more. In addition, incentives are to be created to encourage non-governmental actors to make an increasingly active contribution to sustainable development.
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