Day 3 from COP 24 in Katowice: COP24 Health and Climate Change Report

COP 24—A&WMA Member Mike DeBusschere provides notes on several sessions including: 7 Million Unacceptable Deaths: Global Health and Climate Change Report; How Local Communities are Preparing for a Post-Carbon Future; and Decarbonizing Communities through Distributed Energy Resources.
by Mike DeBusschere

DAY 3 – December 5, 2018

Session – 7 Million Unacceptable Deaths: Special COP24 Health and Climate Change Report
The session provides a global state of knowledge on the interconnection between climate change and health issues and an overview of the initiatives and tools through which the public health community at country, regional, and global level is currently supporting and scaling-up actions to implement the Paris Agreement.
Dr. Tedros, World Health Organization
  • Presented a video sponsored by the Fiji government – plea for carbon pricing, subsidies, education
Dr. Bulla, Fiji Prime Minister Representative
  • Life of Fiji people depend on climate change action to prevent disease
  • Pacific Islands Excellence Plan to protect against climate change diseases, promote partnerships, underscores health integration into the Paris Agreement, and to integrate cities are effective agents of change
  • Need to reduce air pollution that clams 7 million lives per year, urgently need to go to a low carbon economy with global climate action
World Health Organization Representative (unnamed)--7 Recommendations of the World Health Organization Report
  • Provide country specific evidence and track progress
  • Mobilize power of city mayors and other subnational leaders, focus on air pollution levels in all cities reported to
  • Engage the strength of the pubic health community, single most trusted community in the world, rated favorable by 89%
  • Remove barriers to building resilience to climate change, examples include Dengue early warning system based on precipitation and smart hospital design and operation
  • Deliver commitments to the “right to health” into the Paris Agreement rulebook per earlier treaties
  • Include health in economic policies to address climate change, value of health co-benefits of climate change mitigation are about 2 times the cost, include health in economic policies to address climate change
  • Make the fight for climate mitigation be the same as the fight for air pollution control, most recent ICC report is clear reduction in air emissions and climate change are synergistic such as energy efficiency, using renewable energy, etc.
A video was presented from the Lung Care Association of India
The video showed lung model breathing New Delhi air for five days turning from bright white to dark brawn in five days using human normal breathing.
Dr Joy St. John, World Health Organization Representative
  • A summary of the Small Developing States report presented
  • By 2030, all health systems in small developing island states will be affected negatively
  • Report includes four pillars: Empowerment, Evidence, Implementation, and Financing Resources
  • Have held conferences in several island states, including Mauritius, Fiji,
Oksana Tarasova, Representing World Health Organization (WHO) Deputy Secretary General Rep (World Mereological Association)
  • Joint WHO and WMO Health, Environment and Climate Change Action Plan executed May 2018
  • Global Atmosphere Watch Program provides international research and coordination; support of climate observations and reanalysis and specific service-oriented applications; research and services for megacities and large urban complexes, such as effects from typhoons and heavy rains
  • Studying connection between air quality and climate change
Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Representative
  • 60 national governments part of coalition, plus non-government organizations (NGOs), World Bank and others
  • Focus on black carbon, CFCs, CO2, methane, and SLCPs air emissions due to long half lives in atmosphere
  • Focus on oil and gas, cement, and a few other sectors for more action, fast results and higher benefits
  • Developing analytic tools for decision-makers in specific countries, meeting with ministers to discuss mechanisms and increasing citizen support to build political will along with the technical tools
Call to Action San Francisco Representative
  • Doctors for Clean Air (a program endorsed by hospitals, doctors, health providers globally) calls for action to reduce air pollution in India, using the Paris Agreement as a tool
  • Global Climate Alliance and others met to produce a “living document” for the health sector to combat climate change
  • Climate change is a global health emergency, will become increasingly severe, produced several priority actions:
    • Strengthen Paris Agreement
    • Build local sustainable food systems
    • Ensure gender equality
    • Just transition for workers and communities impacted
    • Raise health sector voice in call for climate action
    • Incorporate climate solutions in all health care systems
    • Build resilient communities
    • Invest in climate and health at local and national government levels international funding agencies
International Federation of Medical Students and Services Association (IFMSSA) Representative
  • 125 countries represented, 2020 health vision includes climate change elements
Session – Local Communities Prepare for a Post-Carbon Future
Regions could shift from fossil-based energy to renewables, and citizens are making it happen. Learn more about the efforts of local communities toward a just transition of coal regions. The Paris Agreement requires progress toward this goal with assistance from the EU in Central Europe.
Marta Anczewska, WWF Poland, Climate & Energy Officer
  • Discusses the case of Upper Silesia for restructuring to sustainable development
  • Upper Silesia economic challenges, 4.6 million people, 8 subregions, low unemployment rate, high GDP, 32% of Polish population
  • Mining sector in Poland is strong, 80% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from coal combustion
  • 400,000 miners down to 70,000 miners at present in Poland
  • Half of population historically connected to hard coal mining
  • Strong depopulation through 2030 is expected, 8.3% so far then up to 16.6% by 2030 for the region, while Poland population continues to increase
  • Looking to migration enhancement to reverse decline and average age increase
Patryk Białas, Katowice City Council, and Climate Reality Project
  • 110 MM manmade tonnes of GHGs every day into the atmosphere
  • Wind could provide 40 times the total global energy requirement per day
  • Chilean solar market has installed 13.3 GW so far
  • Quotes Al Gore for inspiring author to act
  • Climate Reality Project event held, collected 1000 signatures on the street recommending start of a Polish corporation, strategy, local community power enabling, a march for clean air occurred by students
  • Have organized the Social Climate Summit to look into melting of Siberian tundra, hold workshops, preparation of a climate manifesto for December 8
  • Black to Green Program one year program to define a green vision for the region, empowering NGOs and pushing for more climate debate in Poland, greening the energy wheels, reduce air pollution levels, transition from fossil fuels to renewables, greening the metropolitan area with more urban green spaces, roofs etc., greening cooperation among community groups
  • Use your voice, your vote, and use your choices
Elsa Velichkova, Mayor of Bobov Dol, Bulgaria
  • Closure of nearby mine established in 1891 and selling of municipal power plant this year
  • Is a major regional electricity production area of Bulgaria
  • 8,300 employed in the coal industry locally, producing 2 million tonnes/yr in 1990
  • Currently, 1,500 coal mining jobs have been cut in the last year, resulting in reduced financial investment, depopulation or state assistance
  • Issues a plea for help, can't get any elsewhere, wants a fund to be developed to help coal regions transition to other sectors of industry
Alojz Vlcko, Mayor's Office Prievidza Municipality, Slovak Republic--Transformation of Upper Nitra Region
  • 135,000 population, 2 underground coal mines, approximately 3,000 miners
  • Slovakia General Economic Interest program, emphasizes production of electricity by coal by law
  • Coal combustion is subsidized by 115.7 Euros contributed by electric customers as a tariff, 70% is lignite
  • 1.8 million tonnes coal production from Slovakia in 2007, 5% of energy mix
  • 2007 was turbulent year for mining: operational testing of power plants; desulfurization process was experimental; and conflict with a nearby spa
  • 2017 Roundtable of 15 participants decided to work on coal use problem, Action Plan completed in 2018
  • Unemployment has decreased from 13.7 % in 2003 to 4.78% in 2017
  • Slovak Republic is an EU Pilot Region for transition from coal until 2023
  • There was a Green Peace protest in Novisky recently, arrests were made
Session--Decarbonizing the Cities and Communities through Distributed Energy Resources and Transition.
Innovative energy efficiency and distributed energy resources empower cities to lead the fight against climate change. The session focuses on relevant urban policies and practices that facilitate decarbonization and resilience in the building and the transport sector. Weakness in centralized electricity system, again disruptions in 2018 by earthquakes in Japan
Shan Shan Guo, Delta Electronics Foundation--Nurturing Energy Resilience per IPCC SR15
  • Report on economic poverty and environment disasters define floods and storm as most storms for electricity transmission
  • Should move from centralized to distributed energy resources to prevent disaster type loss of power
  • DER system includes a solar system (slide of a large solar farm in Japan), power storage to provide additional back-up power and run home appliances, transportation change to electronic vehicles to prevent need for building new power plants, building net zero green buildings with their own renewable power systems saving up to 90% of electricity in the commercial structure
  • Elementary school in Taiwan was destroyed by a typhoon mudslide, was rebuilt by Delta, so that it became a new zero building and a storm shelter for the community
  • “We're not here to rebuild what we lost, we are here to build the future”
Yuko Nishida, Renewable Energy Institute (REI), Japan.
REI established after Fukishima to promote substitution of fossil fuel use with renewables, including building efficiency. Topic is decarbonizing cities.
  • World urban population is 55% of total, expected to rise to 65% by 2050
  • Key city climate policy areas include commercial, industrial, residential and transportation
  • Pathway to zero carbon energy: Increase energy efficiency first, increase renewables use, increase grid flexibility, storage capacity, and distributed systems
  • Technologies for new power systems include heat pumps, electronic vehicles, grid balancing, demand-response capability
  • California Zero Energy Code cited as a model, also London Zero Carbon Home Regulation (35% more energy efficient homes)
David Ribeiro, American Council on Energy-Efficient Economy (non-profit organization focusing on building efficiency at state and local levels)
  • 2017 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard discussed (Louisville ranks 32, Boston ranks 1)
  • Five policy areas for city energy efficiency
  • Residential sector efficiency policies starting to require some energy assessment as part of home ownership process (e.g., Portland, Berkeley, Austin)
  • Commercial/multifamily spaces – benchmarking by building owners using computer software, transparency to make data available to public and orgs in 26 cities (e.g., Seattle, Chicago, New York City). Some require an energy action, some require an energy score posting on the building
  • Encouraging energy-efficient access technology-enabled transportation data for passenger mobility
Elizabeth Beardsley, U.S. Green Building Council
  • Building emissions peaked in 2013 while floor area continues to grow based on population growth, could wind up worse than the base year
  • Developed country building stock needs to focus on retrofits, developing countries need to focus on new construction in the next 20-30 years
  • All building emissions to be reduced by 90% by 2020 per the Paris Agreement
  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has always included measures to reduce GHGs (35% of all LEED points) and is augmenting these requirement, certifying around 2.3 million square feet per day at present
  • Adding a climate change point category, launched LEED Zero, a program to certify zero carbon footprint, offsite renewables, electricity feed to grids and other offsets
  • Grid-Optimal Initiative to identify buildings that are grid friendly, ARC program to encourage all LEED buildings to upgrade to a higher certification level, Greenbuild new construction codes have been updated and applied in more populated countries
  • Whole building carbon accounting to include supply side GHGs
Emmanuelle Pinault, C40 Cities--Presentation on Building Tomorrow's Cities
  • C40 is network of 94 mega cities working on climate change, buildings represent by far the majority of GHG emissions
  • Deadline 2020, an urgent call for action regarding buildings
  • Focused Acceleration Study published to help megacities meet Paris Agreement goals, again emphasis on building energy efficiency. Must use every entity to work to achieve, not just government
  • Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration released in coordination with the U.S. Green Business Council, where mayors have pledged to adopt new building codes and regulations and encourage zero carbon construction of all new buildings by 2030
  • Example building energy case studies from Paris (e.g., conducting an energy audit of all public buildings, including schools for a projected energy savings of 35%), Seoul (e.g., building retrofit program loans to hit 90,000 buildings by 2018 to save 25,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide), and Vancouver (e.g., pledged to receive 100% renewable energy and 80% GHG reductions)
About the Author. Mike DeBusschere, P.E., was President of A&WMA from June 2000 through December 2001. Before being elected President, he served as Section Council Chair and in several Board and leadership positions. He is a licensed chemical engineer and is President of Kentuckiana Engineering Company, an environmental consulting firm in Louisville, Kentucky, since 1996. Before entering private practice, he was Acting Air Branch Chief of Region IV EPA, and led EHS regional programs at Camp Dresser & McKee, ERM and TRC. DeBusschere is an A&WMA Fellow.