Paris COP 21: The world is watching
As Paris this week seeks to bring the world together to act on climate change, last evening (Sunday Nov. 29) saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time begin to host artistic messages calling for forest protection and a future with renewable energy.
The projection was launched at a private inaugural event with speeches from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) to be held in the city this week.
The 1heart1tree visualisation, funded via Kickstarter, involves downloading an app, and using its sensor to take your heartbeat. From last evening’s launch until December 4, a virtual tree will blossom around the Eiffel Tower that grows to the rhythm of your heartbeat and a real tree will be planted somewhere in the world in the name of each participant.
Against this backdrop, today (Monday Nov. 30) on the opening day of COP21, an unprecedented coalition of 35 governments, hundreds of businesses and international organisations will call for accelerated action to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, a move that would help bridge the gap to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.
John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, will formally present the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué to Christiana Figueres, on behalf of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform , The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and other communique supporters.
A key meeting of the 43 countries most affected by climate change – the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) will issue their Manila-Paris declaration today to convey what they are calling for and what they will commit to in terms of a deal on climate action.
Britain’s University of East Anglia, which includes the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change and the Climatic Research Unit, co-leads the publication of annual CO2 emissions for the Global Carbon Project and will be releasing this year’s figures on global carbon emissions Dec. 8.
Dr. Konstantinos Chalvatzis, a senior lecturer in Business and Climate Change at the U.K.’s Norwich Business School and the Tyndall Centre, is in Paris for COP21. He is optimistic about potential next steps. “An enormous challenge and opportunity comes with a global climate change agreement. A successful outcome for COP21 will trigger massive investment in sustainable energy” he says.
Recent estimates from the International Energy Agency show that $13.5 trillion will be needed until 2030 to meet energy efficiency and renewable energy targets based on the pledges submitted by Governments, he adds.
“Low carbon energy technologies will move from the margins to mainstream and new innovations in energy storage and smart grids will be further developed to facilitate this transition. This is great news for the E.U. and the U.K. who should grab the opportunity and work towards decarbonising their economies and improve their security of supply while reducing their exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices and dangerous pollution” says Dr. Chalvatzis.
There is a great deal of expectation around COP21 this week, but it is tempered with deep concern that little will be achieved – and that the appetite to finance action is limited.
A paper just published by Richard Murphy, Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University in London and the environmentalist Colin Hines, suggests a form of ‘climate quantitative easing’ or QE, be used to fund commitments made this week at COP 21.
‘Climate QE For Paree’ suggests that “a variation on existing QE programmes, many still current, could ensure that at least $100 billion could be put on the table to ensure that essential commitments to climate change are met by 2020.”
Dina Medland is an independent writer, editor and commentator with a strong focus on issues around corporate governance, ethics, the workings of the boardroom and sustainable business. She is on the team of contributors to @ForbesEurope and is an ex-Financial Times staff member who has been a regular contributor in recent years. Further details about her background and a portfolio of work – including her commercially sponsored blog ‘Board Talk’ are available on her website http://www.dinamedland.com