Ricardo moderates climate change workshop in Rwanda

29 May 2017 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

Since its landmark ratification, the Paris Agreement has placed considerable onus on global stakeholders to limit climate change to below 2 degrees Celsius. The Agreement introduced Nationally Determined Contributions for signatories, meaning careful planning for implementation is now essential. Ricardo Energy & Environment recently supported key government officials in Rwanda during a workshop on their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) toward the successful realisation of the climate treaty.

In what was a key step towards limiting the effect of climate change on current and future generations, the Paris Agreement saw an unprecedented 196 countries agree on a clear upper bound for average global warming of 2.0 C, with a strong impetus towards limiting warming to 1.5 Celsius. Meeting the target remains a thorny issue though, particularly as it officially came into force just four days before the shock election of infamous climate-sceptic Donald Trump to the US Presidency, on November 8th 2016. The White House have already signalled an intent to withdraw from the agreement, and if key signatories such as America refuse, out of scientific illiteracy, corruption, vested interests and/or ideological contempt, to play ball, then the short-lived global cooperation on the issue faces a crisis.

As it currently stands, the ratification of the Paris Agreement requires nations to meet a series of intended Nationally Determined Contributions. The NDCs, which are audited by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), set key targets in line with individual circumstances for countries to achieve their respective greenhouse gas reductions. These current targets will need to be fine-tuned over-time to adapt to the growth of developing nations, as the present goals have been designed as long-term requirements – after a 2015 study by the Centre for Global Development revealed these countries were responsible for 63% of global emissions as they made efforts to gain ground on established world powers such as America and China.

To assist different developing nations in engineering methods that not only meet NDC targets — but also create institutions and frameworks that also meet other social, economic and environmental needs in the process – various consulting firms are offering services tailored to implementation of the Paris Agreement. Groups involved globally include engineering consulting experts Royal HaskoningDHV, Ramboll, Arup and the global sustainability consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment.

Experts from Ricardo moderate  climate change workshop in Rwanda

Climate workshop in Rwanda

Recently, Rwanda became the latest beneficiary of the availability of this expertise, as the Rwandan Environment Management Authority and the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (a German development agency in international cooperation), invited Ricardo Energy & Environment (RE&E) to a workshop focused on coordinating the implementation of the African nation’s NDC to the Paris Agreement.

Participants from across Rwanda’s governmental ministries were given the opportunity to explore various projects around Rwanda’s allotted NDC, including the rollout of photovoltaic mini-grids, aimed at reducing the use of various fossil based fuels in rural regions and improving air quality – as well as a waste-to-energy plant in the country’s capital, Kigali. Among other subjects at the diverse workshop, the event also provided attending ministers with draft planning of policies in light of the NDC as well as monitoring of outcomes at the sector level.

Sessions at the workshop were moderated by Dave Shaw, a Senior Technical Consultant on RE&E’s Climate Change and Sustainability team, and Vikrant Badve of the UNFCCC, and focused on getting the ball rolling for the implementation of a cross-government platform for ministries to align their respective policies with their national climate target.

After the event Shaw said he was honoured to be part of Rwanda’s first steps toward their end of the Paris Agreement. He concluded, “By mainstreaming the NDC within its government ministries, Rwanda has laid the foundation to achieve its climate development goals in a way that delivers prosperity and growth for the country.”