Blog: EDF Europe

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Environmental Defense Fund Europe’s Launch Event in London

Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Fund Europe (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Fund Europe (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

On Monday night, Environmental Defense Fund Europe welcomed guests to its launch event at the historic venue of Guildhall in London. Hosted by Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe, the evening provided an introduction to our organisation, its work and its team followed by a lively discussion of how we will achieve change in Europe.

“Whatever the political situation in the UK and Europe, I’m looking forward to moving the needle on a range of issues, from fisheries reforms to tackling climate change,” Bryony Worthington told guests before hosting two panel discussions.

One debate featured Rt Hon Lord (Greg) Barker of Battle and Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP. The discussion began with the impact of Brexit, with Greg Barker commenting, “It will force Westminster to take responsibility for the environment… Thank god for the Climate Change Act.”

Ed Miliband added, “What we’ve got to fight for is a vision of a new relationship with Europe which has environmental protection at the heart.”

(L-R) Baroness Bryony Worthington, Rt Hon Lord Greg Barker of Battle, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

(L-R) Baroness Bryony Worthington, Rt Hon Lord Greg Barker of Battle, Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

Audience at the Environmental Defense Fund Europe launch event (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

Audience at Environmental Defense Fund Europe launch event (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other panel debate featured Carl Ferenbach, Diane Regas and Steve Hamburg of Environmental Defense Fund. The panel provided an insight into the work of Environmental Defense Fund in the US over the past 50 years and how this will now expand into Europe. “In the US, we work with both Republicans and Democrats. Here in Europe we will work with all parties,” commented Diane Regas. “Europe has been a leader on climate change. There are a lot of reasons for that which we can take back to other parts of the world.”

(L-R) Baroness Bryony Worthington, Diane Regas, Carl Ferenbach, Steve Hamburg (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

(L-R) Baroness Bryony Worthington, Diane Regas, Carl Ferenbach, Steve Hamburg (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

Steve Hamburg went on to explain that collaboration and partnerships is crucial to the work of Environmental Defense Fund saying, “We can’t do the science by ourselves, but we can together. And where we can help is to make sure that science is brought to effect and results in good policy.”

Carl Ferenbach was keen to stress that Environmental Defense Fund would not shy away from tackling the big issues in Europe: “We have to all aspire to find solutions to the very large problems… Working through the complexities of Europe and finding the solutions which work will be incredibly enriching.”

The evening concluded with a stunning performance by Bishi, who performed two songs and lit up Guildhall with an incredible visual display.

Bishi (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

Bishi (photo credit: Jim Winslett)

The event took place during Climate and Business Week in London.

Bryony Worthington and Environmental Defense Fund Europe would like to express their gratitude to all those who helped with the event and attended. Special thanks also go to the High Meadows Foundation for sponsoring the event and CHI&Partners for producing the film which was shown at the start of the evening. Thanks also go to Bishi, Matt Harden for the visuals and the Bowfins for the further musical accompaniment.

 

 

 

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Managing Spain’s small-scale fisheries with limited data? ¡Sí se puede!

June 9, 2016 – This article first appeared on the EDFish blog.

For the last three years, Environmental Defense Fund Europe has been working in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Spain through a nation-wide project focusing on the sustainability of small-scale coastal fisheries. Small-scale fishing is the lifeblood of many coastal Spanish communities. In order to preserve this way of life it is critical to understand how these fisheries are doing biologically. As in small-scale fisheries worldwide, many Spanish coastal fisheries have limited information available to work with, and a stronger link between science and management could be made.

Small-scale coastal fisheries in both Spain and globally tend not to have the detailed information needed to utilize the most commonly used fisheries assessment methods. It used to be that there was a lack of tools adapted for use in small-scale fisheries, meaning that many went unassessed. Without the information needed to understand the real state of the ecosystem, and guide scientific decision making, effective management was hard to do.

But today there are alternatives: assessment tools collated from across the world that can be applied to Spanish small-scale coastal fisheries. These tools can start to paint the picture of the state of the marine ecosystems in question, and assess their vulnerability to over-exploitation. Finding ways to evaluate the state of these fisheries means gaining a deeper insight that can guide more effective fishery management decisions: both in terms of how to focus future data collection and how to design appropriate management measures.

These tools use the sort of information that is more readily available in small scale fisheries, such as:

  • How many different stocks are targeted?
  • What do we know about the biology of the targeted species? E.g. At what size do they reach maturity and what is their size, distribution and spawning potential?
  • What do we know about the fishing activity taking place?

Collaborative workshop yields results

Last month, together with Gonzalo Macho from the University of Vigo, we brought together fisheries scientists, managers and government and NGO representatives to take part in an intensive training workshop aimed at learning practical ways to assess and manage Spain’s smaller, data limited coastal fisheries. The event showcased Environmental Defense Fund’s Adaptive Fisheries Management Framework, which outlines a process and a range of tools already in use in other data-limited fisheries across the world. Attendees came to Madrid from six autonomous regions of Spain where fishing is at the heart of local communities.

“The wolf was not as fierce as we feared!” – Participants at the workshop commented that they were surprised by how easily the tools could be used.

During the workshop, we applied the tools and methods to the six case study fisheries in a series of hands-on sessions designed to equip the communities to go back to the field and apply what they had learned to these, and many other data limited scenarios we find in Spanish coastal fisheries.

We will be producing a technical paper in the coming months that reviews the framework, showcases the tools, offers concrete examples and discusses important limitations and opportunities to improve these tools as we put them into use across Spain.

Fishery managers and scientists who joined us in Madrid are eager to start practical application of what they learned in the workshop, and it is important to create a discussion and support phase as this work gets underway.  With this in mind, we are also forming a working group to offer ongoing support as participants test and apply these methods in the fisheries they work with. We’re looking forward to an ever-evolving dialogue with these varied regions, and new learnings from their experiences.

Stay tuned for updates as we take the Adaptive Fisheries Management Framework out ‘into the field’ in Spain’s data limited coastal fisheries.

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Paris Agreement signing should give Britain confidence to lead on low carbon strategy

April 22, 2016 — This article first appeared on Business Green.

The historic climate agreement reached in Paris last year was widely hailed as a major diplomatic breakthrough. For the first time, virtually all nations have agreed to take action together to try to reduce the global risk of climate change. As we approach the signing ceremony in New York this week the sense of momentum is clear and the USA, Canada and China have all recently contributed with announcements to collaborate closely on existing and new climate commitments.

In Britain, however, climate change policies have just run up against an industrial crisis centering on the potential closure of Tata’s UK steel division and the ongoing quest to find a buyer. Measures to address climate change have been directly blamed for the potential loss of tens of thousands of jobs and some have even tried to blame me personally for my role in the drafting of the Climate Change Act which was, in fact, specifically crafted to give policy makers the tools to guide a sensible transition over long timescales.

There are many reasons for Tata Steel’s decision to put its plants up for sale, some external, such as global over-capacity, some internal to the company but climate policy is not one of them. Like most industrial companies, Tata’s participation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme has delivered it a subsidy in recent years thanks to more emissions allowances being granted to them than were needed to match emissions. Rather than rip up our climate ambitions, just as others are now arriving on the same page, the answer to the UK steel crisis is to embrace the challenge of eliminating emissions of greenhouse gases from industry and to invest in future proofing industrial processes.

The UK is ahead of other countries when it comes to climate change; we have legally binding caps on our economy that stretch all the way out to 2050, reducing our emissions by 80% compared to 1990 levels. Getting emissions down to this level will be no easy task and we do not yet know which technologies will get us there or their future costs, but this is no reason to slow the transition we have begun. On the contrary, because environmental policies are exempt from State Aid rules, we can use targeted climate policies to provide supportive investment frameworks, bringing new investment to our shores, in clean infrastructure that will create future proof jobs and export opportunities.

Rather than bemoaning policies that over the last 25 years have steadily brought on more renewable energy and improvements in efficiency, industry should be demanding supportive environmental policies of their own. Including those which can unlock investments to take advantage of the abundance of low carbon, low price electricity at times of high supply that National Grid is now predicting for this summer and in to the future. The majority of industries’ response to climate policies to date has been to seek exemptions and compensation. This has worked up to a point. The European emissions trading scheme for example has provided companies such as Tata with useful cushions against falling demand for their products, thanks to allocations of emissions allowances set according to historically high ‘grandfathered’ benchmarks. But as caps tighten this strategy cannot last forever. The attitudes of both industry and government need to change to develop specific targeted policies to support investment in the necessary transition to low and zero carbon industrial production.

Industries that have been able to switch their fuels to renewable sources easily, where additional green support policies exist, have already shown transition is possible, particularly in the paper sector. Unfortunately renewable forms of energy are not yet at the point where they can be used easily to decarbonize the production of metals since they are very energy intensive and also use coal for part of the production process. There are alternatives including electrification and carbon capture and storage, but to invest in these solutions will require significant sums and high degree of confidence in market demand. Tata themselves have been exploring options including their HISana project in Holland and Swedish steel maker SSAB is also at the forefront of exploring new investment options. Yet the challenge is to get the UK Government to provide industrial companies with policies that support industrial transformation with a widening of focus away from renewables only. UK leadership on climate change needs to be matched by leadership in industrial modernisation and innovation which will enhance our competitiveness.

The necessary policy tools already exist, carbon pricing provides the overarching framework and generates revenues that can be used to support transformative investments. While other countries move to implement carbon pricing policies alongside us, supplementary policies to bring technologies down the cost curve, should also be introduced. Contracts for difference, have been tested and proven in deploying large scale investment in renewable energy and they can be adapted for use in industrial sectors and should now be the main policy focus. Electrification of British steel capacity can be made to work if some of the risks of capital investment are reduced and new industrial electricity tariffs are introduced to provide time of use incentives to coincide with periods of high supply and reward storage technologies. We are currently exporting scrap steel for it to be recycled in furnaces elsewhere and then paying to import the finished product. Clearly this is a sign that a new approach to this hugely important primary industry can and must be adopted.

I look forward to the Paris Agreement coming in to force which should give the UK the confidence to continue with its own climate leadership and support a new era of investment in clean steel production and a broader industrial base. With the right policies, we can show that climate action can act as a spur for industrial innovation and investment, securing jobs for the remainder of this century. I look forward to working with industry in my new role, as Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe, to help find the ways that work to achieve that objective.

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Baroness Worthington, on joining EDF

March 16, 2016 — Bryony Worthington recently joined EDF to lead our work in Europe, which focuses on marine fisheries and clean energy.

By many measures humanity has never had it so good. Development of the earth’s natural resources has delivered higher living standards for a larger number of people than ever before. We feed, clothe, shelter and maintain the health of more people more successfully than ever before. Elements of this progress, however, have come at an obvious cost to the natural systems that support all life. Left unchecked, our lack of attention to these systems could not only harm the environment but also reverse much of what we have achieved for humanity. Despite our progress, we are currently facing an evolutionary bottleneck and there is no turning back. We must find a way forward that sustains human prosperity and environmental progress.

The good news is, we’re making progress in working out what we need to do and how to do it. The nations of the world have recognized the need to act together to address the risk of climate change and many are already taking action to relieve pressure on the natural world. The age of digital information has connected individuals to each other and to up-to-the-minute data about our environment, and it has done so just in time: Seeing our environmental challenges more clearly builds our sense of urgency as well as our ability to do something about them.

I’ve spent my career advocating environmental solutions, and this week I start a new phase, as the head of Environmental Defense Fund in Europe. I’m delighted to be joining an organization that has a remarkable history of accomplishment across five decades. Combining rigorous in-house scientific, economic and legal analysis with the goal of ‘finding the ways that work,’ Environmental Defense Fund has helped win a great many battles to preserve the natural world: banning DDT in the United States, thereby saving the bald eagle and other great American birds of prey; removing lead from petrol; using cap and trade to cut acid rain pollution from power plants and save the lakes and forests of the northeastern U.S.; reducing overfishing by promoting rights-based fisheries management; putting in place wildlife-friendly land management policies and low-carbon energy investments; and, most recently, leading an ambitious series of peer-reviewed scientific studies and partnerships with energy and technology companies that have helped expose the problem of methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure.

Environmental Defense Fund has always been at the cutting edge of evidence-based advocacy, not afraid to try new approaches and take risks if the potential environmental benefit warranted it. For example, it was the first NGO to successfully partner with brands like McDonald’s, FedEx and Walmart, helping them bring about huge changes in their operations and supply chains. (And to remain independent, it does not accept funding from its corporate partners.) Its focus on science and data means it has avoided becoming bound by a rigid ideological belief system. And it has remained resolutely nonpartisan, ready to work with governments and stakeholders across the political spectrum. While Environmental Defense Fund works closely with many NGO partners, the combination of strengths it brings to the table is unique. I am proud to be helping to introduce the organization in Europe, because I believe it can complement the remarkable work already being undertaken here.

Historically, Europe has made great progress addressing environmental problems. But there is so much more to do. We in Europe are still learning from our experiences of what works and what doesn’t. We’re developing a knowledge-based economy and delivering innovation in technologies and services, but we remain dependent on a highly capitalized fossil-fuel infrastructure and the ‘traditional’ ways of doing things. I’m looking forward to using my experiences in the public, private, political and not-for-profit sectors to increase the pace of change here across a wide range of environmental issues. I’ve always been a campaigner and will always remain one. Joining Environmental Defense Fund is an exciting new opportunity to make an even greater difference. The green shoots of a new era of environmental responsibility are emerging – our job is to help them develop firm roots and flourish.

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Baroness Worthington to Lead Environmental Defense Fund Europe

March 14, 2016 – Baroness Bryony Worthington has joined Environmental Defense Fund Europe as its new Executive Director. She is the first to hold this position for the European affiliate of the international nonprofit organization, Environmental Defense Fund.

Bryony joins Environmental Defense Fund after a career spent campaigning for environmental solutions in a range of organizations, including the civil service, where she helped draft the UK Climate Change Act 2008; UK energy firm Scottish and Southern Energy; Friends of the Earth; and most recently as founder and Managing Director of the Sandbag Climate Campaign. She was appointed a member of the House of Lords in 2010 and served as a Shadow Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change, stepping down in late 2015 after leading two energy bills through the Lords.

“Under Bryony’s leadership, Environmental Defense Fund will bring a fresh voice to the European environmental debate — a voice for practical solutions grounded in science and harnessing the power of markets,” said Board Chair Carl Ferenbach. “We are honored and delighted that Bryony has chosen to join us and bring her considerable skills to bear as a champion for effective environmental policy.” Ferenbach, who cofounded Berkshire Partners in 1986, served as a Managing Director through 2011, and has served as chairman of the board of Environmental Defense Fund since 2008, and chairman of the board of its European affiliate since its formation in 2015.

“No single entity can do what’s needed to address today’s increasingly complex and global environmental problems,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. “Solving these problems requires collaboration on a far greater scale, not only among nongovernmental organizations but also among partners ranging from investors and inventors to fishermen, government officials and business executives. Bryony is uniquely qualified to help Environmental Defense Fund bring these voices to the table from across the political spectrum.”

The Rt Hon. Lord Barker of Battle, who serves on the Environmental Defense Fund Europe board, also hailed the appointment. “I’m delighted Bryony and I will be working on the same team, promoting practical, non-ideological solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems,” he said. “By combining the latest scientific evidence with smart policy-making, we can ensure capital flows to where it makes the biggest impact. I’m looking forward to working with Bryony to establish Environmental Defense Fund Europe as a progressive force for change.” Greg Barker recently served as Energy Minister in the coalition government and is now actively involved with a range of organizations promoting sustainable energy solutions.

Globally, Environmental Defense Fund focused on four key areas: climate and energy, oceans, ecosystems, and human health. In Europe, the focus is currently on developing and implementing solutions in the areas of marine fisheries and clean energy—two critically important issues where Europe plays a central role and where Environmental Defense Fund brings strong expertise. Our global goals are set out in the strategy document Blueprint 2020 and our Annual Report 2015 describes recent achievements.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.

Environmental Defense Fund Ltd is a registered charity (1164661) in England and Wales. 

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