The world can't afford
another carbon cop out
Harnessing company climate
actions for Paris and beyond
11 December 2015
Be PaperSmart: Read Outreach online
pic: Arne Hoel / World Bank
1 The world can't afford another carbon cop out
2 How COP21 can emphasise action over rhetoric
3 Harnessing company climate actions for Paris and beyond
4 How Israel’s green technology can combat climate change
5 Climate action by businesses: The difference between big and small
6 Aviation’s climate action
7 UK-led Global Alliance of universities urges government action on
8 Innovating business and investment for climate-resilient
9 Humans: Behave!
10 Incentivising methane mitigation
11 Is there room for environmental management in hospitality?
12 HELIO Index For Investors
13 Side events calendar
14 Reflections from COP21, Thursday 10 December
pic: Arne Hoel / World Bank
OUTREACH IS PUBLISHED BY:
About Stakeholder Forum
Stakeholder Forum is an international
organisation working to advance sustainable
development and promote democracy at a
global level. Our work aims to enhance open,
accountable and participatory international
decision-making on sustainable development
through enhancing the involvement
of stakeholders in intergovernmental
processes. For more information, visit:
Outreach is a multi-stakeholder publication on
climate change and sustainable development.
It is the longest continually produced
stakeholder magazine in the sustainable
development arena, published at various
international meetings on the environment;
including the UNCSD meetings (since 1997),
UNEP Governing Council, UNFCCC Conference
of the Parties (COP) and World Water Week.
Published as a daily edition, in both print
and web form, Outreach provides a vehicle
for critical analysis on key thematic topics in
the sustainability arena, as well as a voice
of regional and local governments, women,
indigenous peoples, trade unions, industry,
youth and NGOs. To fully ensure a multistakeholder
perspective, we aim to engage
a wide range of stakeholders for article
contributions and project funding.
If you are interested in contributing to
Outreach, please contact the team
You can also follow us on Twitter:
Assistant Editor Jack Nicholls
Print Designer Faye Arrowsmith www.flogo-design.co.uk
Web Designer Tom Harrisson
Amath Pathe Sene
Philipp Pattberg and Oscar Widerberg
University of Malta
The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
Air Transport Action Group
Klimablog “Climate Change Bolivia”
World Centre for Sustainable Development
Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges
UK Youth Climate Coalition and YOUNGO
Patrick Schroeder, Kartika Anggraeni & Uwe Weber SWITCH-Asia Network Facility
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The world can't afford another carbon cop out
Light-touch regulation was one of the
main causes of the global financial
crisis. Yet, policymakers could be
sleepwalking into a new catastrophe if
COP 21 fails to agree a global mandatory
target to reduce carbon emissions.
It is not just coral reefs and polar bears that are under threat if
temperatures continue to rise unchecked. Climate change is a
long-term and potentially irreversible trend, which could result
in huge losses for the global economy, the investment industry,
and the savers, pensioners and beneficiaries that depend upon
it for their own future too.
A rise of roughly 4°C in temperature could wipe an estimated
$13.9 trillion off global asset values through to the end of the
century, according to research by the Economist Intelligence
Unit. That is close to the GDP of the world's third largest
economy, Japan. If average temperatures rise by 6°C by 2100,
we stand to lose up to $43 trillion. When considering that the
combined capitalisation of global stock markets is currently
around $70 trillion, the potential losses to governments,
private companies and individuals could be enormous. If that
is not enough to focus the minds of policymakers attending
the Paris summit, nothing will.
At first glance, 2100 may seem way off. But managing the
risks from climate change is unlike managing traditional
financial market risks, such as sudden interest rate hikes or
hyperinflation. We won't be able to apply a Band-Aid to make
portfolios more resilient. Short-term fixes, behaviour that is
sadly all too common in the financial markets, miss the point
altogether. In essence, climate change is a macro-economic
risk that will undermine all future assets through weaker growth
and lower returns, cumulatively and over time. The longer it is
left unaddressed, the bleaker the long-term outcome.
Anyone unconvinced at the urgent need for action may wish
to consider that global warming through to 2050 will be the
result of past emissions. In other words, it is already too late
to take remedial steps on the climate change the world will
experience 35 years from now. This is concerning because
investment options will be limited in a world where significant
climate change has occurred. Investors, large and small, will
fare much better in the latter half of the century if preventative
action to mitigate climate change takes place now, not when
problems manifest in the years or decades to come.
At COP 21 we need policymakers to commit to firm targets
for carbon emissions. At the time of writing, the cumulative
impact of global commitments to reduce emissions would
lead to 2.7°C of global warming if fully implemented;
uncomfortably close to the 4°C rise that would cause almost
$14 trillion of losses and not so far off the 6°C rise that would
cause a financial catastrophe. The outcome from the Paris
Summit must be a collective commitment to reduce emissions
to a level where warming is limited to 2°C.
The financial industry has a key role to play in meeting that target.
The first step in preventative action is to plug the disclosure gap
to produce emissions data that is as timely, comparable and
reliable as earnings data. The current lack of such disclosure by
the majority of large listed companies prevents investors from
pic: Ian Britton
factoring carbon and climate risk into portfolios. Governments,
national regulators, stock exchanges and non-profit organisations
have developed a plethora of schemes to address environmental
disclosure over the last decade, but they tend to be voluntary,
and hence have limited scope.
The International Organization of Securities Commissions
(IOSCO), the global hub for all securities regulators, must
step in and enforce consistent reporting standards. Sceptics
will recall how the 2009 Copenhagen Summit failed to reach
an accord. However, with so much preparation and stage
management ahead of COP 21, there is every reason to hope
governments will arrive at a positive outcome this time around.
In that event, IOSCO's role becomes crucial, so that good
intentions translate into concrete action.
There is proof that a robust approach to transparency is effective.
Each of the top-10 stock exchanges ranked in Corporate
Knight Capital's Measuring Sustainability report are located in
jurisdictions with broad and mandatory reporting requirements.
As civil society is well aware, effective disclosure is just the tip
of the iceberg. Companies and investors subsequently need to
be able to compare performance with others in their sector.
Given that information, investors could more easily move
money away from companies that score poorly on emissions
and other sustainability measures; incentive enough for those
companies to make the necessary improvements.
Beyond disclosure, governments can do more to correct the
market failures; namely by establishing a material carbon price,
either through fiscal measures, emissions trading schemes or
by setting producer responsibility standards. This would put
climate change at the centre of corporate valuations, and
ensure capital is put to work in the right places.
For that to happen, COP 21 must lay firm foundations. Nonstate
actors, including investors and civil society, can then
lead on the establishment of transparent benchmarks ranking
corporate performance against climate change and other
The world cannot afford a climate crisis. Global leaders must
hammer out a pact with punch and IOSCO must deliver
effective implementation. A fluffy cop out due to conflicting
vested interests, haggling and excessive compromise would
not be fit for purpose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Euan Munro is Chief Executive Officer of Aviva Investors.
How COP21 can emphasise action
The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group
Much has been said by world leaders
gathered at COP21 about the unique
opportunity they see to galvanise action
to transform the global economy.
Paris is filled with an energy and enthusiasm not seen in
previous climate negotiations. But we must remember that we
will be judged by current and future generations not by our
intentions, but by our actions here in Paris.
The pathway to a secure future is grounded in finance.
Hearteningly, economists have demonstrated that economic
growth is not reliant on escalating emissions. Yet we still
must resolve the fact – through Paris and well beyond – that
to address climate change, financial flows must be directed
to a low-carbon, efficient and affordable energy system.
This transition will require a massive influx of public and
private finance. Only a clear long-term goal and a promise
by governments to regularly update their ambitions will give
investors the signal they need to increase low-carbon finance.
Undoubtedly the need to finance adaptation, resilience and to
build capacity for developing countries is crucial to a unified
outcome from Paris. Yet, since greater mitigation ambition in
fact helps to assure resilience to global warming and lockedin
impacts, it makes sense to also direct public and private
resources in all nations to actions that offer rapid cuts in
emissions, especially those we can enact before 2020.
Two fiscal policy tools can drive multi-lateral decarbonisation
efforts quickly, irrespective of whether they are enshrined in
the Paris text: carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform.
They are effectively two sides of the same coin: paying for
carbon emissions should act as an incentive to reductions; and
removing subsidies to fossil fuels unlocks resources for clean
energy, development, education, healthcare and infrastructure.
Subsidy reform offers transparency and consistency – two
of the most valued tenets of a healthy relationship between
governments, businesses and citizens – by ensuring public
resources are not used to articificially deflate the costs of oil,
coal and gas, the primary cause of emissions. Continuing to
direct public resources to subsidise the consumption of highcarbon
energy undermines the actions of others, such as the
commitments by cities and companies to achieve net zero (or
carbon neutral) goals. They also distort markets by creating
false value in industries most needing radical transformation
and impede investment in clean energy and energy efficiency.
Despite re-affirmation in 2015, the G20 major economies
have been slow to deliver on their 2009 pledge to phase out
subsidies. Each year, over $500 billion of public money is
directed to fossil fuels, more than four times that invested in
renewables. As New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said on
COP21 opening day: fossil fuel subsidy reform is the missing
piece of the climate change puzzle.
Policy-makers gathered in Paris will need to act on ambition.
Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is a great place to start
delivering tangible action in 2016, converting the promise of
transformation into a practical pathway. In doing so, impactful
leadership can drive all sectors to support public efforts.
Business relies on enabling policy and operates best when it has
long-term certainty to direct its investment decisions. Clarity
that public resources are shifting away from fossil fuels will
unleash investment in innovations to accelerate renewables,
electric vehicles and low-carbon infrastructure, bringing the
cost of these technologies down. Already low-carbon sectors
are growing 4 per cent per annum or better globally, offering
much needed job creation.
pic: Walmart installing solar power generating
systems throughout California and Arizona
Subsidies for fossil fuels encourage wasteful consumption
by the rich and middle-class, who benefit by up to six times
more than the poor and vulnerable from them. With energy
prices at a historic low, phasing out inefficient subsidies will
be gentler on better-off consumers and national economies.
Redirecting public finance from consumption subsidies
offers governments pathways to deliver commitments to the
Sustainable Development Goals too, by supporting energy
access for poor communities with renewable solutions, or
investing in social healthcare, schools or other societal needs.
When it comes to climate mitigation, countries seeking feasible
ways to finance the cost of national GHG reductions goals will
find the elimination of consumption subsidies offers a costeffective
10 per cent emissions cut by 2050. Delivering action
on the direction of public resources to match the commitments
in the words of the Paris agreement makes climate sense and
robust economic sense.
The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG)
brings together 23 global business leaders working to
advocate solutions on climate change. Stora Enso is
CLG’s newest member. The CLG is part of a coalition of
40 countries and hundreds of businesses who endorsed the
Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandrine Dixson-Declève is Director of The Prince of Wales’s
Corporate Leaders Group (CLG).
Harnessing company climate actions for
Paris and beyond
Philipp Pattberg and Oscar Widerberg
Institute for Environmental Studies, VU Amsterdam
Additional and sustained action is needed
to get climate politics back on track
towards the 2°C target. In the run-up to
Paris, companies and investors have been
identified as having the potential to
close the existing pre-2020 ambition gap.
By making public commitments and supporting ambitious
climate policies, many companies are taking an active and
public role in global climate governance. Examples include
Microsoft’s ‘Carbon Fee’ model, IKEA’s €1 billion pledge to fight
climate change, and Unilever’s high-profile engagement with
sustainability issues. In addition, companies started to engage
in cooperative initiatives, collaborative arrangements between
stakeholders such as companies, regions, cities, NGOs and
countries, which aim at implementing concrete climate actions.
CONNECT project). While the overall picture that emerges is
cautiously positive, we have identified a few pressing challenges.
First, the geographical distribution of companies is heavily
skewed towards the Global North. The vast majority of the
companies in our study are headquartered in OECD countries,
in particular in industrialised countries such as the United
States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany and Sweden.
Similarly, in terms of numbers, the lion’s share of companies
comes from sectors with relatively small carbon footprints,
such as service sectors and finance.
Second, a few key players are more engaged than others. Of
the 775 companies and investors in the NAZCA data set, 100
participate in more than one cooperative initiative. The Dutch
electric appliances company Philips, for instance, is part of
30 per cent of the cooperative initiatives with companies
in NAZCA. We identify 15 leading companies in terms of
participation and found that, somewhat worryingly, their
performance in terms of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions is mixed at best.
Third, we examined the potential versus achieved GHG
reduction of companies in cooperative initiatives and found
large discrepancies between expectations and reality. Moreover,
in some instances, the intensity of GHG emissions per unit of
product has been reduced considerably, while due to overall
growth, the net effect in terms of carbon emissions is positive.
pic: Northern Ireland Executive; Transport Minister Danny Kennedy at the launch
of the new electric vehicle rapid charging point at Ikea, with Environment
Minister Mark H. Durkan and IKEA Belfast's Sustainability Leader Nigel McGarry
The potential impact of non-state actors, including companies,
could be substantial. PwC, a consultancy, estimated that one
cooperative initiative – the Low Carbon Technology Partnership
initiative (LCTPi), comprised of some 140 companies and
additional 50 partners, could generate 65 per cent of the
global GHG reductions needed to achieve the 2°C target.
What is needed to harness this potential? The previous and
current COP presidencies in Lima and Paris, together with
the UNFCCC secretariat, have actively supported companies
by providing them with a podium to share commitments and
collaborations. During COP 20 in Lima in 2014, the ‘Lima –
Paris Action Agenda’ (LPAA) was launched, aiming to boost
non-state climate action by companies, investors, cities, and
regions. A Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action (NAZCA)
has been launched and linked to the UNFCCC homepage,
providing a forum for companies and other non-state actors to
showcase their climate commitments. To date, NAZCA contains
over 10,000 climate commitments by companies, investors,
cities and regions. It also engages over 700 companies in over
20 different cooperative initiatives.
A recent study scrutinised climate actions by over 2,100
companies spread across over 100 cooperative initiatives
registered in NAZCA and part of the CONNECT data set (see
Fourth, ex-post data on performance in cooperative initiatives
is largely unavailable. There are very few openly accessible
progress reports on how companies are doing on their
cooperative initative commitments, and even fewer repositories
for registering them.
Against this background, what could governments do in Paris
to create an enabling environment for companies to accelerate
climate action and overcome the challenges listed above?
• Building on NAZCA and similar data repositories, the creation
of a common accounting framework could strengthen their
legitimacy by recording real progress;
• Based on a common assessment framework, leaders and
laggards could be more easily identified, allowing for learning
and knowledge exchange across different communities.
Also, this would improve our understanding of why some
cooperative initiatives and their participants do better than
• Encouraging more companies and cooperative initiatives
from the Global South and emerging economies could
address actions where they have the chance to make large,
Governments have started to recognise the positive
contributions of companies taking climate actions. Companies
on their side, increasingly make public commitments to take
action. This positive momentum needs to continue after Paris
to harness the mitigation potential inherent in collaborative
arrangements on climate change.
How Israel’s green technology can combat
Milken Innovation Center-Jerualem Institute/ Graduate School of Business Administration, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Israel is heading to COP21 in Paris to
confirm its pledge to reduce its
carbon emissions to 7.7 tons per
capita by 2030, a reduction of
about 25 per cent from a decade ago.
This goal will be met through government policy, regulations,
education, community outreach, industry initiatives – and
greater investment of capital. Israeli researchers are working to
meet the technical challenges of mitigating climate change. And
the Government has stepped up as well, approving significant
budget expenditures and guarantees to investments that will
reduce carbon emissions and develop new green technologies.
Government spending alone won’t solve the problem, but
government investment that leverages greater channels of
long-term, institutional investment will. Numerous studies
have concluded that private investment will outpace anything
governments can spend on climate change, and will play a
critical role in slowing global warming while also preserving
private-sector profits and growth. To win the fight against
climate change we must double the share of renewable
energy production and distribution in the global energy
mix, increase energy efficiency in buildings, improve water
recycling, implement better waste management and transfer
inefficient fossil fuel subsidies (estimated at $548 billion by
the International Energy Agency) to clean energy technology.
The consequences of climate change are huge and proven.
The message from all countries in the run-up to the Paris
summit in December is clear: if companies and countries do
not make a serious effort to manage carbon risk, investors may
dump their stocks, triggering a downward economic spiral.
Standard & Poor’s, the credit-rating agency, has already started
downgrading the creditworthiness of governments vulnerable
to extreme weather events linked to climate change. Investors
have begun to respond. Citigroup recently announced that it
would 'lend, invest and facilitate’ $100 billion for investment
in businesses that address climate change. Bank of America
declared a similar commitment, pledging to increase its
involvement in low-carbon businesses to $125 billion through
lending, investing and advisory services. If one includes the $70
trillion under management by institutional investors that have
expressed commitment to low-carbon investments, the private
sector is on track to spend large amounts leveraged through
public-private partnerships. The market for ‘green bonds’ to
fund climate friendly projects is growing rapidly among major
investors whose balance sheets are large enough to ensure that
projects are funded at attractive interest rates. These bonds
have come from nowhere three years ago to $37 billion in
issuance in 2015. The face value of bonds issued is expected
to reach $70 billion to $100 billion by the end of this year.
The economic transition required to address climate change
requires a redeployment of public money that leverages private
investment through public-private funds. This is precisely the
type of programme the Israeli government initiated last month
pic: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv; The Hadera Desalination Plant, the newest and most
modern desalination facility in Israel, and the leading desalination plant in the world
when it appropriated 300 million shekels ($76.6 million) to help
private companies improve energy efficiency. The government
will also allocate 500 million shekels in government guarantees
($130 million) to leverage private capital to develop clean
technologies to reduce carbon emissions in Israel and abroad.
Israel, accustomed to finding creative ways to cope with
scarcity, is the ideal laboratory for perfecting technologies to
address problems at the energy-food-water nexus. Climate
change matters for Israel because it presents opportunities
to exercise global leadership in a critical endeavour and
help countries decouple economic growth from increased
consumption of natural resources.
The effects of climate change are creating greater demand
among developing and developed countries for technologies
and systems that Israel can supply and help finance. The 2014
Global Cleantech Innovation Index ranked Israel No. 1 in clean
technology startups per capita, citing its culture of innovation.
In fact, Israel already provides solutions to meet priorities set
by the Asian Development Bank, which has singled out the need
for precision irrigation, more efficient water use and waste-toenergy
technologies. Desalination and leak detection, which
create new sources of water and reduce use, are other important
areas where Israel can provide expertise. The World Bank and
the state of California have both signed agreements to expand
use of Israeli water technologies. Over 350 Israeli companies
have been mapped into a CleanTech Ecosystem focusing on
everything from alternative energy, alternative fuels, water use,
agriculture, infrastructure materials and disaster response.
The global demand for information and communications
solutions drove Israel’s entrepreneurial culture, knowledge
capital and government programmes during a three-decade
economic expansion. Now, the scarcity of energy, water and
agricultural resources are giving birth to new technologies that
will propel Israel’s next wave of innovations for use at home and
abroad. As the demand to address climate change and feed
growing populations increases, Israel’s exports of technology
and expertise in water, energy and food technologies will drive
a new period of domestic economic growth while helping other
nations meet their obligations to reduce humankind’s impact
on natural resources.
Climate action by businesses:
The difference between big and small
Patrick Schroeder, Kartika Anggraeni and Uwe Weber
SWITCH-Asia Network Facility
Many of the world’s leading companies were
present this week in Paris, some of which are
hoping for an ambitious climate change deal.
Their motivation for advocating a strong signal from the world’s
political leaders is obvious: For low-carbon business strategies
to thrive, certainty about current and future climate change
policy development is a necessary condition. The low-carbon
economy can mean big business for many large corporations
and investors that commit to leadership on climate action.
They are taking action because doing so offers tremendous
opportunities for prosperity, and hence creating jobs. Given
those opportunities, it is surprising that so far only a rather
small number of large multinationals have come forward to
announce their proactive stances, targets and concrete actions
on climate change. For instance, only 53 multinationals have
joined the RE100 initiative and committed to source 100 per
cent renewable power for their operations. While this is a big
commitment, it is only carried forward by a relatively small
number of companies compared to the 40,000+ multinationals
Another field in which companies need to do much more is
reporting against their corporate climate change mitigation
and adaptation performance. So far mainstream corporate
reports lack comprehensive information and comparable
climate change related data. The current information gap on
CO2 equivalent emissions and energy use from companies
limits the effectiveness with which investors can allocate their
capital to its most effective uses.
Green supply chain management represents a further relevant
activity. For example, several multinationals have committed
to remove commodity-driven deforestation from their supply
pic: Edgar Vonk; Deforestation for a palm oil plantation in Malaysia
chains. This will help to reduce a significant source of CO2
emissions, counter biodiversity loss and render their supply
chains more sustainable and resilient in the long-term.
All this is easier said than done, as it requires the active
involvement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as
essential elements of global supply chains when multinationals
implement low-carbon business models beyond their in-house
operations. Already for the average European SME, which is
not directly involved in the low-carbon technology business,
the situation post-COP21 can become quite challenging as
their in-house capacity to develop and implement low carbon
strategies is limited. In Europe, SMEs represent 99 per
cent of all enterprises, employing 66 per cent of the whole
workforce and generating over 50 per cent of GDP. Therefore,
additional support from governments and their big corporate
customers will be necessary to move swiftly towards a lowcarbon
The situation for a large number of SMEs operating in the
developing countries is even tougher. Being forced by big
players in the volatile global market to produce at the lowest
possible costs, lacking management capacity and technical
skills, having low awareness on climate change, and suffering
from shortage of human resources and green finance, most
SMEs in the developing world are – if at all – only marginally
involved in low-carbon development. These are real barriers
for SMEs, preventing them from joining the low-carbon
Consequently SMEs are one of the main target groups of the
SWITCH-Asia Programme, funded by the European Union since
2007, with the objective of promoting sustainable production
and sustainable consumption (SCP) practices in Asia. To date,
SWITCH-Asia has supported more than 80 grant projects
that directly and indirectly, via industry associations, work
with thousands of SMEs in 16 developing countries in Asia,
across a wide spectrum of sectors, ranging from textiles to
food, from construction to manufacturing, and more. Through
this avenue, SWITCH-Asia has reached out to and improved
the environmental and social performance of thousands of
Asian SMEs, enhancing their contribution to climate change
mitigation, local economic development and livelihoods. A
number of SMEs involved in the SWITCH-Asia Programme
also stand out for their innovation potential and CO2
emission reduction solutions, which, for example, have been
implemented to create zero-carbon resorts in the Philippines
and Thailand, install biogas equipment in Sri Lanka, or deliver
low energy housing districts in China.
More work is needed to support Asian and European SMEs in
the transition to realise the benefits of low-carbon business
and scale-up low-carbon innovations. Large multinationals, if
serious about their climate change commitments, are in an
excellent position to make a big difference by working with
their SME suppliers to decarbonise the supply chains of their
products. In this context, the SWITCH-Asia projects and their
SMEs can provide a starting point for large companies to green
their supply chains.
Aviation’s climate action
Air Transport Action Group
The global aviation industry connects
the world like no other mode of
transport and has been one of the
main driving forces of globalisation.
Over 3.3 billion passengers a year, a third of world trade by
value and half of all international tourists travel by air. Aviation
supports around 60 million jobs and 3.5 per cent of global
GDP, but also produces around 2 per cent of the world’s
human-induced CO2 emissions.
The aviation industry recognises its contribution to climate
change and is determined to lessen its impact on the
environment. In 2008, aviation was the first transport sector to
set global goals and to proactively manage its climate change
impact. These goals include capping net CO2 emissions from
2020 through a global market-based measure (MBM), being
developed at the International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO), and a longer-term goal to reduce net CO2 emissions from
aviation to half of 2005 levels, by 2050. The third, short-term,
goal of an annual average 1.5 per cent improvement in fuel
efficiency between 2009 and 2020 is already being surpassed.
The industry is united in taking on the climate challenge and
much work is already underway in every sector of the industry,
all over the world. The industry’s strategy is based on four
pillars of: developing new technology; improving operational
efficiency, creating better infrastructure and supporting work
on developing a global MBM for aviation at ICAO.
To demonstrate the scale of climate mitigation work already
going on in the industry, ATAG produced a publication called
the Aviation Climate Solutions. This publication showcases 101
examples of individual and collaborative climate actions being
taken by members of all sectors of the industry. It highlights
everything from sustainable alternative fuel production to work
on lightweight materials and navigational efficiencies. The
purpose of Aviation Climate Solutions was not only to cite largerscale
technological advancements, like new aircraft or nextgeneration
engines, but also the smaller-scale actions which,
when added together, have significant climate benefits. The
solutions therein demonstrate the impressive work on first three
of the four pillars of the industry’s strategy underway right now.
The fourth pillar, a global market-based measure, which is
expected to be finalised at the ICAO Assembly in a year’s time,
is something that the industry cannot deliver itself. Despite the
strong ongoing encouragement from the industry, ultimately,
the MBM is a political agreement that governments will need
A comprehensive and fit-for-purpose MBM is the cornerstone
of the industry’s ambition to achieve carbon-neutral growth
from 2020. This is why industry leaders from all sectors joined
together to pen an open letter to the world’s governments,
calling for them to agree on an MBM in 2016.
Progress, so far, has been encouraging. Many of the technical
issues surrounding an MBM have been thrashed out, leaving
a political agreement the final piece of the puzzle. While
various options regarding the structure of the MBM exist, the
industry’s preferred option is a global offsetting scheme. This
would provide the highest environmental integrity and be the
most cost effective for governments, as well as the industry.
Importantly, it will also be deliverable by 2020.
However, implementing an MBM is not the only way in which
governments can help aviation achieve its climate goals.
In addition to this, the open letter calls for government
support on a range of other actions: air traffic management
investment and reform; continued support for research into
new technology, operations and sustainable alternative fuels;
improved intermodal transport planning; the right policy
framework to help accelerate the availability of sustainable
alternative fuels for airlines.
If this happens, then aviation can be confident in its ability to
continue to provide the undoubted benefits of air travel in a
sustainable way far into the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Gill is Executive Director of the Air Transport
UK-led Global Alliance of universities urges
government action on climate change
Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges
The collective voice of the world’s
universities, colleges and students was
heard at COP21 when a pioneering Open
Letter was presented to Ministers by
representatives of a UK-led Global Alliance
of university, college and student networks
and associations on every continent.
In the Letter, governments are urged to acknowledge and
strengthen the research and education role that universities
and colleges play in finding and implementing solutions
towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, placing
it in the context of addressing wider issues of sustainability,
including social and economic policies and practices.
The letter also proposes more specific measures to be
implemented, such as showcasing universities and colleges
as living laboratories for climate change adaptation and
mitigation, increasing support for trans-disciplinary learning,
teaching and research approaches and using university and
college campuses and operations as a leverage agent to
accelerate the transition to clean energy sources.
Iain Patton, CEO of the UK based Environmental Association
for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), said:
"Never before have students, colleges and universities across
every continent spoken with one powerful voice to urge national
and international governments to take action. Education has
the creative solving power to be the unique catalyst to help
society better understand our changing climate and to lead on
solutions. Through this pioneering Open Letter, over 10,000
universities and colleges are demanding that Ministers at
COP21 recognise this power and provide the policy, reporting
and funding changes from our governments to fully unleash
the power of our staff and students. We hope that for the sake
of all our futures the Ministers will help us to do more.”
pic: Light Brigading; XL Dissent student climate change protest
Last week, two of the three International Green Gown Awards
were won by UK institutions, so we know there is excellence
going on here. But we also know that with more support the
true potential of UK universities and colleges could really
shine and be better recognised and valued by our institution
leaders and wider society as a unique catalyst to find solutions
to climate change.
Unfortunately, that support is not forthcoming from the UK
Government and if anything is regressing. So COP21 is our
chance to be recognised and placed at the heart of delivering
a more sustainable planet. Led by the EAUC, education
networks from every corner of the earth have come together
and spoken with one voice to COP21. We call to be recognised,
valued and better supported. By pushing ourselves centrestage
into the UN and intergovernmental processes we can
help UK Governments listen and help us to do more.
But COP21 is also a key opportunity for UK tertiary education
to ensure other UK sustainability stakeholders recognise the
role of university and college education as a key delivery agent
of sustainability and to ensure that we have the relationships
necessary to collaborate with other partners to take
sustainability to the next level. If you are interested in helping
us ensure the next generation of citizens and employees have
the sustainability skills, understanding and values we will need
them to have – please get in touch.
Read the Open Letter – www.educationalliance.global
More on the Environmental Association for Universities and
Colleges – www.eauc.org.uk
pic: Iain Patton handing the Open Letter to COP21
Secretary General Pierre-Henri Guignard at UNESCO, Paris
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iain Patton is the CEO of the Environmental Association for
Universities and Colleges.
Innovating business and investment for
climate-resilient sustainable development
Amath Pathe Sene
World Centre for Sustainable Development
2015 has been a busy time for the
international negotiations on the future
of our planet. Just two months after
the adoption of the bold and ambitious
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last
September, in New York, 147 world leaders
have gathered again in Paris to negotiate
a pact to keep global warming below 2°C
above pre-industrial levels.
In the ‘city of lights’, under state of emergency after the
terrorist attacks, the COP21 gives a unique opportunity for our
generation to reflect the future we want: peaceful and inclusive
societies that are resilient to climate change.
Achieving that future requires a shift for all countries towards
a low carbon development trajectory, as outlined in SDG 13 on
climate change, and its related targets. This means a radical
change in the way we live, the way we produce, the way we
structure our economies, the way we finance them.
Over the last decades, rapid business development, genuine
innovation and massive investments have played an important
role in wealth creation and helped humanity achieve
tremendous development gains. At the same time, they have
contributed to numerous negative externalities, such as more
frequent natural disasters, drought, storms, wildfire, sea level
rise, which in turn also pose serious threats to businesses
performance and growth sustainability. This gives businesses
an opportunity to play a key role in addressing climate change.
Developing countries remain the most vulnerable to climate
change, a burden they consider a historic responsibility of
developed countries. Business opportunities and growth
potential in many countries in the Global South are imperiled by
climate variability and change. Climate risks are now a serious
hurdle for investors when $100 billion per year investment
is needed by developing countries to tackle climate change.
Moreover, the investment gap to achieve sustainable development
is estimated at $2.5 trillion annually by 2020 and the Addis
Ababa Action Agenda has set ambitious transformational goals
for sutainable development financing. Financial mechanisms
such as the Green Climate Fund, SDGs Fund, Corporate Social
Responsibilities initiatives, among others, should work together
to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 agenda.
The good news is there is no shortage of money across the
world. More often, there is a lack of de-risked bankable
projects. To date, the global financial system manages almost
$140 trillion of financial assets through banking, $100 trillion
via pension funds, $100 trillion on capital markets including
bonds and more than $73 trillion in equity. Some of this money
already supports a growing number of real-time initiatives
guided by innovative policies seeking to align the financial and
capital markets with sustainable development and climate
change action. For example:
pic: Simon Davis/DFID; A building boom in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
is helping to fuel one of the fastest-growing economies in the world
• The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and Brazil’s
BOVESPA stock exchange require sustainability disclosures;
• The Bank of England’s prudential review of climate risks to
the UK´s insurance sector is based on a connection between
its core prudential duties and the UK climate change Act; and
• Regulators such as Standard & Poor´s ratings services
identified climate change as a key mega trend effecting
So far, and with only one more official day to go before the end
of COP 21, only $200 million has been announced by some
developed countries (USA, UK, Canada and Japan) to support
the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) on climate
adaptation and more than $10 billion in promised funding for
the Green Climate Fund. Much more is needed to reach the
100 billion required.
The time has now come for governments, international
organisations like the United Nations, and civil society to
engage with the private sector to raise the money required
from taxpayers in the richest countries, and from private
investors and financial system, to tackle climate change.
Governments can signal its willingness to engage by acting
on key drivers of business, such as government policies –
climate change policy (incentives, regulations, investments
and funding, risks), consumer demand (for green products,
services and companies) and affordable technology innovation
transfer (products, innovation), especially on wind, solar,
waste management and transport.
Strong, simple and coherent mechanisms from the Paris pact
to prevent corruption, ensure transparency, and make funds,
including innovative finance, work quickly and better to impact
on most vulnerable people, in particular women and youth in
developing countries, are needed.
Investing in the wellbeing of our planet and halting climate
change should not be seen as a ‘cost’, but as a worthwhile
economic investment for future generations. Business
worldwide must act now as shareholders, not only as donors,
and this COP 21 must ‘seal the deal’ for people and planet!
University of Malta
Once COP21 is over and the commitments
have been made, delegates will go
back to their countries with a renewed
ambition to roll out policy for climate
mitigation and adaptation.
To do so, they will deploy an artillery of tools, including some
aimed at changing human behaviour. They will field subsidies,
incentives and investments to boost desirable behaviours, and
they may even wield taxes and fines, to discourage emissions.
They will, undoubtedly, also resort to softer interventions like
information and education.
Information provision, incentives and disincentives have one
thing in common: they implicitly assume that people make
considered, rational decisions. In other words, that people use
the information given and weigh expected costs and benefits
before deciding how to behave. By tweaking these trade-offs
governments can tip people towards desired behaviours.
Certainly, this kind of intervention has, and will, continue to
make humans behave ‘better’, particularly as governments get
better at pricing carbon and supporting the right investments.
But ‘rational’ and ‘self-interested’ does not fully describe
the human decision-making process. More importantly,
understanding the other dimensions of human behaviour
offers up additional innovative options for intervention,
which employed with more traditional approaches, can help
countries achieve climate goals faster. Fortunately, there
is a large body of multidisciplinary research about human
behavioural change, which can complement the science on
climate change itself.
We know, for instance, that people have social (and not just
private) preferences, caring about what others do, about
fairness, and reputation. This offers the potential to change
behaviour by providing information on positive norms.
It also suggests that, in emphasising the prevalence of
laggard behaviour, we risk undermining our very objectives.
Descriptive negative norms are powerful and, moreover, they
may suppress efficacy beliefs. For similar reasons, it matters
who conveys and advocates climate goals. Following COP21,
governments will likely communicate their commitments. Yet
using politicians to front efforts can sometimes be a divisive
strategy, which risks frustrating behavioural change among
those less sympathetic to these public figures.
We have, in fact, long known that people feel uneasy when they
behave in ways contrary to their morality. Many governments,
non-governmental entities and businesses invest considerable
funds and effort on awareness raising. But this is often limited
to stimulating environmental issues. A complementary route
is to link climate miss-behaviour with other aspects of one’s
morality like fairness, political ideology, bequest motives, and
even spiritual motives. Similarly, rather than focusing so much
on the benefits that will accrue to future generations, we should
be highlighting the benefits of action to present communities.
Apart from its factual relevance, this strategy avoids another
human bias that often hamstrings change: myopia.
pic: Stephen Morton; UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences – OCCS
teach children about the environment on Jekyll Island, Georgia
The truth is that we have plenty of evidence that people find it
hard to change behaviour, even if it benefits them personally
to do so. This has been a major stumbling block for some
incentive/information based intervention, yet it offers an
interesting avenue for policy innovation. Opting people into
greener energy plans, for instance, would result in very little
switching into dirtier (even if cheaper) practises, even if
they would be allowed to do so. Similarly, even if the force
of habit has worked against behavioural change to date (e.g.
car dependency), the same force can be used to generate new
behaviours that stick (e.g. by offering free public transport for
Until a decade ago, evidence of how to tap such behavioural
traits for policy was diffuse and largely undocumented. But
research has burgeoned, Nobel prizes have been awarded, and
front-runners in governance are making inroads in designing
behaviourally-informed interventions. Moreover, there exists an
even broader spectrum of policy tools and methods that can be
used alongside behavioural approaches. So let’s share what we
know about what works, let’s continue to invest in developing
evidence-based, context-specific policy in partnership with
researchers and let’s employ the entire toolkit to reach our
goals. We cannot afford not to.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Marie Briguglio is an environmental economist. She worked
for 15 years in policy and was Malta’s National Focal Point to
the UNFCCC before returning to academia to conduct research
in behavioural economics. She is active in outreach activities
and was recently awarded the World Intellectual Property
Organisation medal for creativity.
Incentivising methane mitigation
pic: Geoff Livingston; The Trans-Jordan landfill turns methane gas into energy for 4500 homes, according to Audi
Perhaps the principal obstacle to slowing
anthropogenic climate change is that the
release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is
inextricably linked to things that we
don’t want to do without.
Burning fossil fuels to produce heat and energy has underpinned
industry, and hence our economy, for centuries. The fact that
CO2 is produced in the process is inconvenient, but seemingly
unavoidable, unless the – so far – misaligned incentives are
turned into a real stimulus for decoupling economic growth
and CO2 emissions. That is the first lever of action.
There is another GHG that is arguably as important as CO2,
and may prove easier to tackle by virtue of not being linked to
the production of something useful: methane. That is the other
lever. This was the focus of an international Conference hosted
by the Veolia Institute, jointly with the Agence Française de
Développement and the Prince Albert II de Monaco Foundation,
on 9th November 2015, along with two associated COP21 sideevents
held on December 8 at COP21. The most prevalent of the
Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCPs), methane accounts for
one-third of GHGs. It does not remain in the atmosphere as long
as CO2 – its half-life is only around a decade – but it certainly
packs a punch: its impact on climate has been shown to be a
colossal 84 times as great as CO2 over a 20 year period. So in
terms of getting to grips with GHGs in the near term, the way
we deal with methane could prove to be critical. The good news
is that many strategies to mitigate methane emissions already
exist. The challenge is thus not to create new technologies, but
to identify the appropriate incentives to ensure these strategies
are implemented and solutions scaled-up.
An illustration of the challenge comes from landfills (third
source of anthropogenic methane) where methane is produced
when waste buried in landfill decomposes anaerobically. The
technology exists and operators know how to capture it, to
flare to prevent it entering the atmosphere and even to recover
the gas and turn it into an alternative source of energy.
However, this will not happen without a financial incentive
to make the process viable. There additionally needs to be
regulation of landfill tariffs and power prices, which currently
vary enormously from region to region.
As for the largest industrial source of methane, it comes
from various leakages of methane in oil and gas operations
and distribution. The business actors in this sector have the
resources, the technologies and the means to drastically
reduce methane emissions.
Last but not least comes methane from agriculture: from
livestock and from rice farming to a smaller extent. In the
latter case, a solution is to intermittently drain the field. The
deployment of this technique known as Alternate Wetting
and Drying (AWD) is already used in China, motivated by
the financial expedience of saving irrigation water. The real
challenge is to innovate and up-scale these technologies to
make 140 million farmers follow that practice.
A potentially powerful incentive would be to put a price on
methane – like carbon. Since its impact on climate is 84 times
greater than carbon, it should arguably be priced 84 times
higher. This would provide a financial incentive for mitigation
that is proportionate to the potential cost of inaction.
Meanwhile, the World Bank has developed a climate finance
mechanism called the Pilot Auction Facility (PAF), which
coordinates the auction of a ‘put option’ an option to sell assets
at an agreed price on or before a particular date for methane
projects – guaranteeing the practitioner a minimum sale price for
carbon credits, and hence providing a financial incentive to invest
in the project. At scale, this could provide further assistance for
private sector investment in methane reduction projects.
More generally, financial resources are available and the
challenge is to direct investments towards low-emitting projects
and operate a real transition towards a low-carbon future.
Methane mitigation is critical for achieving short-term targets
in GHG reductions. The solutions already exist and they can
come with positive returns: health improvement, and profitable
projects. The innovation lies, as Dr. Ramanathan from the
University of California stated at the Methane conference on
November 9th, “in the convergence of scientists, policy-makers
and companies working together because everyone benefits”.
Is there room for environmental
management in hospitality?
Environmental management is usually
associated with industries that pose a
substantial risk to the environment,
such as mining. However, tourism, as
the biggest industry in the world
also has a valid reason to consider
its implementation. Not only from the
perspective of expected impacts, but also
as a tool to raise profits.
In alignment with environmental responsibility, smart hotels
and resorts are increasingly recognising the need to implement
environmental and sustainability initiatives that rise beyond
legal conformity. From the owner/manager perspective
ensuring that the business stays strong and vibrant longterm
requires staying commercially astute whilst running the
business in a way that delivers value to all stakeholders. The
British Research Foundation, EIRIS, a leading global provider
of responsible investment research found that almost all
companies that exhibit improved environmental performance
have a good environmental management system in place.
Similarly, the International Centre for Ecotourism found in
their Australian-based research that ‘what gets measured,
gets improved.’ In reality, however, most environmental and
sustainability initiatives in hospitality sector are predominantly
occasional, unsystematic and poorly communicated. Without
a properly developed strategy, owners of tourism venues often
plunge into high investment costs for environmentally friendly
design. The variety of choice and lack of sage advice about a
systematic continuous approach add to financial frustration,
which eventually trumps the potential intent for implementing
environmental management at a venue in full capacity.
Consequently, sustainability as a core business strategy and
a brand standard is still a rare occasion, despite existing case
studies, which show that business innovation of such kind is a
way to successfully defend position on the competitive market.
Systematic environmental management in the hospitality
sector comprises of several larger components, including
sustainable design to increase the efficient use of resources
and lower the costs, optimisation of supply chains, training
of staff about environmental initiatives and their part in
organisation’s environmental responsibility, as well as
communicating environmental efforts to all stakeholders. All
of these components need to be taken into consideration when
looking at environmental investments. There is, however, no
‘one size fits all’ approach to it. For improved environmental
performance, it is imperative that all of these components are
tailor-made developed and implemented with a full-cycle in
mind. For example, efficient building design cannot succeed
without monitoring and analysis systems in place, and
stakeholders’ communication cannot be well received without
targeted marketing and promotion. This last part, in particular,
is often neglected in environmental management, or even more
commonly replaced by ‘green-wash’ publicity. The encouraging
outlook, however, lies in the increasing demand for evidence
pic: www.joiseyshowaa.com; Sustainable tourism in Costa Rica
from the public and guests. Environmental management is a
dynamic strategy that requires active linkage between all of
There lies a great opportunity in making the room for
environmental management in hospitality, the kind that
brings profits and the positive evidence-based reputation.
However, first and foremost, owners and managers need to
be informed about the proper way to go about it, i.e. what a
full environmental management system comprises of. It is of
fundamental importance to know that the return on investment
(ROI) in environmental management in hospitality sector is not
related only to a green design, it is a multi-faceted approach
that requires a balance between development, conservation and
promotion. Secondly, initial investment needs to be made in
employing an environmental manager, who is properly trained
to provide leadership and coordination of these departments,
rather than randomly dispersing sustainability related tasks
onto other staff positions. And thirdly, we all need to know that
environmental management is a journey not a destination;
for it to be a successful hospitality business innovation and
investment it requires continuous attention, from tourism
providers, as well as the rest of us – consumers.
HELIO Index For Investors
In the next few years trillions of dollars
of investments will be spent in the
energy sector. What criteria will guide
investors and governments' policy-makers?
There is a growing need in the sustainable investment
community for tools that provide timely information on the
quality of countries' policies. This need stems from the
fact that today more and more investors look for improved
efficiency and want to direct their investments towards socially
responsible alternatives leading to ‘eco-development’. For this
allocation to be effective there is a call for tools to identify
these investments, and to help to measure their ex-post
performance. The HELIO Index for Investors (HIFI) aims to fill
those needs by helping financiers around the world to identify
countries that best suit their objectives because their policies,
and in particular their energy policies, are truly conducive to
the eco-development of the country.
Managing energy wisely is essential to the economic and
social development of a country, as well as to environmental
protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation. In
order for a country to achieve a balanced growth while reducing
its ecological footprint, it is crucial to have reliable tools that
can measure and monitor how well a country’s energy policy
supports eco-development goals.
Eco-development builds on the concept of traditional
sustainable development – associated with the Brundtland
principles – by bringing in two additional elements, which
are necessary for long-term success in the energy field:
‘usufructal’ technologies (Usufructal technologies only use
renewable, harmless forms of energy and do not rely on fossil
stocks) and participative governance. Eco-development can
only be achieved when all forms of capital (financial, produced,
natural, human and social capital) are truly operating in
harmony, reinforcing one another.
Over the last two decades, HELIO devised methodologies
to help decision-makers and other stakeholders assess
the degree to which a given country's policies provide its
population with clean and efficient energy services that
are reliable, affordable and resilient to the impacts of
environmental degradation and climate change. The resulting
methodology, TIPEE, was successfully tested in a number of
Africa’s most vulnerable countries.
This accumulated knowledge has now been encapsulated into a
single index, the HELIO Index for Investors (HIFI), a composite
index, based on the 24 TIPEE indicators grouped among the
five forms of capital.
Some of the main advantages of HIFI are that:
• It is founded on the Working Group on Statistics for
Sustainable Development (WGSSD) framework. Accordingly,
HIFI is a tool that provides a multi-faceted view on sustainable
• It can cover most of the world’s countries, enabling rigorous
comparisons on a global scale; and
pic: Russell Watkins/DFID; Elizabeth Mukwimba is a 62-year-old Tanzanian woman
who now has solar lighting and electricity in her home at the flick of a switch
• It focuses on policies that are within the control of policy
makers in the energy sector.
The HIFI allows all stakeholders, investors, policy makers and
members of civil society, to monitor how effective national
policies are, thus helping to identify areas for successful
investment in climate-proof, sustainable energy projects. This
tool will act as a signal for investors to invest in a country where
their projects are likely to be more successful and profitable.
It will allow them to compare countries' performance and
identify those that offer better conditions for investment in
energy projects, thus stimulating countries to improve their
own energy policies.
HIFI, aims at promoting sound energy investments in
economic, environmental, technological, civic and societal
terms through assessments of conditions and policies at
country level, and will generate a unique set of primary data
that will be available to parties wishing to conduct research.
Unlike some initiatives that are carried out on a one-time basis
or updated infrequently, those who will find it useful for their
own purpose will keep HIFI updated.
Side events calendar
DATE TIME VENUE TITLE ORGANISERS
FRIDAY 11th DECEMBER
11:15 - 14:14
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 01
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 03
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 04
Healthy lives on a healthy planet: What is next for research and policy?
Shaping effective climate risk management: The role of NAP, climate risk
insurance & private finance
The Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM): Achievements and recent progress of
Arab Communities Adapting to CC – A comprehensive approach of DRR &
Acceleration of using RE
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 08 Preparing for the Action Plans on Post-2020 Climate Change Regime in Asia
11:30—13:00 Observer rm 02 Initiatives to address climate change : The India story
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 02
Technological break-through in the RAC sector-new cost effective and energy
WHO, Rockefeller Foundation, The Lancet, Universite Sorbonne Paris Cite,
Universite de Geneve, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
Universitat Heidelberg, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Wellcome Trust
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Munich
Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII)
Global Environment Centre Foundation (GEC), Overseas Environmental
Cooperation Center, Japan (OECC)
Arab Network for Environment and Development (RAED), Egypt, Fonds E7
pour le développement énergétique durable (E7 Fund)
Climate Change Center, Centre for Built Environment (CBE), Freie Universität
Berlin (FUB), Seoul International Law Academy * (SILA)
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Shakti Sustainable Energy
Foundation, Vasudha Foundation
Israel, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 04 Adapting and building resilience to climate change in mountain communities Lesotho, Colorado State University, Mountain Institute, Inc. (TMI)
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 08 Domestic finance and climate learning key to Ghana's INDC HATOF Foundation, Ghana
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 01 The Brazilian post-2020 Climate Change Policy: challenges and opportunities. Brazil, Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social * (Ethos)
13:15—14:45 Observer rm 03 Climate Law and Governance: Future Practices and Prospects
Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), Ateneo
de Manila University (ADMU), National Council for Climate Change,
Sustainable Development and Public Leadership (NCCSD)
Reflections from COP21, Thursday 10 December
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are central pillars for
decarbonising the energy sector. Moreover they hold collectively
the greatest potential for addressing the climate crisis in a
sustainable, decentralised and cost-effective way.
Despite the world’s recent annual average of 1.5 per cent increase
in energy consumption, and an average 3 per cent growth in GDP,
CO2 emissions in 2014 were unchanged from 2013 levels. For the
first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel
rise in CO2 emissions. This landmark ‘decoupling’ was due – in
large part – to the increased use of renewable resources, and efforts
to promote more sustainable growth through increased use of
energy efficiency and renewable energy. This decarbonising of
the economy also illustrates the place of renewables and energy
efficiency at the heart of the solution to mitigate climate change.
The numbers speak for themselves. By the end of
2014, renewables contributed 19.1 per cent to the
global final energy consumption and supplied 22.8 per
cent of the world’s electricity. Over the course of the year,
renewables represented 59 per cent of net additions to global
power capacity, clearly showing that a transition to renewables
is well underway in the electricity sector. Nevertheless, this
transition must be accelerated across all energy sectors. In 2014,
renewables contributed only 8 per cent to the heating and cooling
sector. And much more action is needed to decarbonise the
It is evident that renewables are part of the solution agenda to
reaching the 1.5°C objective. We have the technological solutions
pic: Walkaway Wind Farm, Western Australia - Infigen Energy and Clean Energy Council
to address this challenge. Morally we have no excuse not to
commit to an energy transition that moves us towards 100 per
cent renewable energy and energy efficiency, and thereby ensuring
energy access for all.
Renewables are cost-completive; the renewables train has left the
station. An ambitious agreement coming out of the Paris talks
would do much to help accelerate this transition.
Reflections from COP21, Thursday 10 December
Klimablog “Climate Change Bolivia”
UK Youth Climate Coalition and YOUNGO
Everyone at COP 21 knows about the terrible impact of climate
change on Small Island States – but what about the populations
of the world´s mountain ranges who are amongst the most
vulnerable and marginalised globally?
Mountains have not been very visible here at COP 21, but as
it is International Mountain Day tomorrow (December 11th), a
number of events will take place in an attempt to make mountain
people and their struggle against the impacts of global change
Today´s side event ‘Adapting to climate change – success stories
and challenges from across mountain ranges’ highlighted the
impacts of climate change across the continents, with cases
being presented from the Swiss Alps, Nepalese Himalayas,
Peruvian Andes and Tajikistan Hindukush.
Meeta Pradhan from The Mountain Institute Nepal, presented
the extra challenges that mountain dwellers are facing in the
aftermath of the April 2015 earthquake, stressing the importance
of improving preparedness and disaster risk reduction based on
a livelihood and ecosystem based approach.
Mohammed El Moatamid from Morocco’s Agricultural Ministry
and the host country of COP22 presented Morocco’s mountain
development strategy, which offers hope that mountains might
play a more prominent role within the climate negotiations in
Mountains had already received special attention, when at
the Peruvian Pavilion famous glaciologist Benjamín Morales
announced the creation of an Andean Mountain Museums in the
city of Huaraz in Peru.
On the sidelines of the negotiations it has also became known
that the government of Switzerland is planning to propose an
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special
Report on Mountains; to broaden knowledge of climate change
issues in mountains, put the science before key audiences and
aim for a more substantial role of mountains within the context
of the Climate Convention.
Today has been more unusual for me than most. I usually
take part in several 'actions' coordinated by YOUNGO, the
recognised youth constituency of civil society that interacts
with the UNFCCC. Actions are the most visible way to get a
message across and usually attract lots of media. However after
yesterday's mass action, where approx. 300 people from across
civil society took part in calling for climate justice immediately
outside the plenary halls, as we had not been given any other
access to the negotiations, I was a bit 'actioned out'.
So I spent this morning meeting with some other YOUNGO
members to write the text for our intervention to be given at
the final plenary session (hopefully!) tomorrow. We discussed
whether to be sarcastic, or angry, or connect to the negotiators
emotionally, and how best to communicate our frustrations at
the injustice of the text.
I also wrote an open letter to my country's negotiators, in
response to the most recent draft version of the text which was
released yesterday afternoon – they had dropped some key
points such as gender equality, rights of Indigenous Peoples and
intergenerational equity (rights for future generations) from the
operative, legally-binding section of the agreement. Although it
came out later that dropping intergenerational equity was a copy
and paste error! We asked them to push to keep global average
temperature increase below 1.5°C, and to choose the more
ambitious Long Term Goal option. So I posted this letter as a
blog and handed it to one of the UK negotiators at their offices,
where we post a daily to do list under their door along with a
Postcard to Paris, which contain messages from UK youth.
So we're all on tenterhooks for the next version of the text, ready
and waiting for rapid response.
The event, co-organised by the government of Tajikistan, the
Peruvian NGO Oikos and the Mountain Partnership coordinated
by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was the start
celebration of International Mountain Day - for which the topic
this year is the promotion of mountain products to improve
livelihoods of mountain people.
Everyone is invited to join in on Friday 11th December at 13:15
in Observer Room 04.
Happy Mountain Day everyone!
pic: Dirk Hoffmann
Outreach is made possible by the support of