Report offers a range of best practice initiatives to help policy makers make an immediate push to cut emissions
Norway's carbon tax and South Korea's smart grid initiative have been hailed as some of the best options for countries seeking new ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Nations climate change secretariat yesterday unveiled a report, detailing best practice climate policies from across the world in an effort to help policy makers learn from existing initiatives which can help them cut emissions before 2020.
"Governments have over the past few years led a significant effort during a series of technical expert meetings to identify and scope out the policies that lead to effective climate action - this report is the fruit of that effort," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, in a statement.
The report features a wide range of examples of initiatives from around the world in six key areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency, transport, land use, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and controlling non-CO2 greenhouse gases.
The Republic of Korea's smart grid initiative and Norway's energy efficiency obligation scheme are just two of the energy policies showcased, with the report pointing out that 58 per cent of overall additions to global power capacity came from renewables in 2014 - more than from coal and gas combined.
Norway was also singled out for its 24-year old carbon tax, which created an incentive to store CO2 and led to 0.9 megatonnes of CO2 being sequestered each year.
Meanwhile, Mexico City's ten-year expansion of its bus rapid transport (BRT) system was praised for having attracted 10 per cent of users who previously rode in private cars. The European Union's push to reduce N2O emissions through its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was also showcased for having contributed to a 85 per cent reduction of N2O from nitric acid plants since 1990.
And the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 - a public-private partnership pursuing zero deforestation supply chain models - was set up as an example of initiatives combatting land use problems.
"The very policies that deal most effectively with climate change also offer a ready-made portfolio of actions that can equally assist the Sustainable Development Goals and achieve everyone's ultimate aim of a prosperous, stable and environmentally healthy world for all," added Figueres.
A new website was also launched to highlight the potential for greater climate action and ambition before the new Paris climate agreement is likely to come into effect in 2020.
The UN added that it has recently recorded the largest number yet of new climate actions from cities, states, regions and businesses. Nearly 2,250 fresh commitments were recently entered into the UN's Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA) portal.
The report also highlights many of the co-benefits of early adoption of actions to reduce emissions, such as reduced peak demand during unexpected weather conditions and high temperatures.
"This report underlines that many of the specific and cooperative actions needed to reduce emissions also have multiple co-benefits including in the area of adaptation and building more resilient countries and communities," said Figueres.
However four areas are currently holding back greater ambition on climate change, the report said: a lack of wide-scale carbon pricing initiatives, massive subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, too little financing to increase development and access to renewable technologies, and a need for more resources and mandates to be given to institutions charged with implementing or overseeing climate action.
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