COP 21 Updates Part IV: Cities for Climate, Caring for Climate Business Forum, and Conference Wrap Up

Today marks the completion of the two-week long negotiations at the Paris Climate Talks. Delegates at the climate conference breathed a sigh of relief as they returned to their home countries and regular schedules after a taxing yet eventful conference. Read on for a brief summary of the main events that took place in Paris in the past week:

Day 5: Private Finance and Investment in Cities

City skyline

Friday Dec 4th was the day of The Climate Summit for Local Leader: Cities for Climate, the largest global convention of mayors, governors and local leaders focused on climate change. At the summit, “The State of City Climate Finance 2015 “report was launched to delve further into how to mobilize investments in #Cities4Climate. This report was prepared by the “Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA), a global platform to facilitate collaboration between public and private sector institutions committed to mobilizing investments into low carbon and climate resilient urban infrastructure. Investments for climate-smart infrastructure in cities is crucial, since urban areas and the world’s cities account for over 70% of energy-relate CO2 emissions, yet cities face major obstacles in obtaining the large-scale financing they need for climate action. 4 key recommendations from the report:

    1. Cities should adopt frameworks that put a price on carbon, such as cap-and-trade mechanisms or traffic congestion charges.
    2. Banks and institutions should be strengthened to help cities in developing climate related projects.
    3. International development finance should be directed through local financial institutions to help cities finance climate –smart solutions
    4. An innovation network of labs should be created for new financial instruments and funding models

Highlights from the summit:

Day 8: Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Renewable energyMonday Dec 7th was “Energy Action Day” on the Lima to Paris Action Agenda, which was aimed at accelerating the global energy transition at the heart of the COP21 dynamic. It was a day where ministers, cities, and leaders and CEOs of energy and finance organizations unveil new and ongoing actions that would drive the transition towards a sustainable, low emissions energy sector and create a new model for energy development. More than 15 initiatives were presented to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and access to sustainable energy grids. With more than 80% of the global energy system dominated by fossil fuels, this is an ambitious and positive step forward for all who were involved. This event was organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) and, France.

Read the press release for this event here: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/renewable-energy/press-release-lpaa-energy-renewable-energy-and-energy-efficiency-can-unlock-climate-solution/

Day 9: Cities & Sub-nationals, Businesses, and Innovation

sustainable business

Tuesday Dec 8th was the day of the “Caring for Climate Business Forum”, where businesses came to the table ready with solutions and ideas of how climate challenges can be addressed. The forum featured responsible policy engagement practices from the private sector that showed how businesses can provide credible, consistent and transparent input to deliver effective climate solutions. So far, more than 100 companies from over 20 countries have made notable commitments on how to implement actions for responsible policy engagement in their company, which will fill the gap in commitments made by governments.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led organization of forward-thinking companies that galvanizes the global business community to create a sustainable future for business, society and the environment. The WBCSD launched the Low Carbon Technologies Partnerships initiatives (LCTPi) to collaboratively tackle climate change through engaging companies in creating solid frameworks for low carbon investment through a strengthened dialogue between business and government. This process is important because it highlights the role of business in the delivery of deep decarbonization pathways, and it breaks down the larger climate challenge into smaller, more manageable business and policy actions.

Day 12: Grand Finale and Final Paris Agreement

Friday Dec 11th was the final day of COP21, however negotiations were extended into Saturday Dec 12th. COP President Laurent Fabius finally presented the newest version of the Paris Agreement to the Parties. Key subject areas in the agreement include: climate finance, capacity building, adaptation, mitigation, and national reporting. Read the agreement here: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09.pdf

COP21 Fun Facts

Finally, in case you’re feeling a bit drained from all those talk about climate change and carbon emissions- here are some fun facts about the conference to help lighten things up (obtained from UN’s COP21 live blog):

  • Every day, bakers at COP21 make more than 10,000 croissants to feed the 45,000 participants at the conference.
  • There are 200 electric vehicles to transport delegates, the largest fleet of electric vehicles for an international conference
  • There are “recycling guides” throughout the conference centre, usually wandering around near the recycling bins telling people how to separate their trash.
  • If you’re lucky, you can grab free organic apples, fair trade and carbon neutral chocolate, and Ben Jerry’s ice cream. This last one has its own COP21 flavour “Save our Swirl” which is raspberry with chocolate chunks. All delicious and sustainable treats.
  • Another less conventional snack at the COP – insects. These popped up at the Espace Generation Climat, and then was offered again at a dinner for delegates.
  • There are also a few relaxation rooms, which might be there for delegates running out of energy. They may come in handy pretty soon.
  • Finally, there was the “bike for juice” stand, which requires you to bike until you’ve created enough energy to power the juicer.

 

“We need a climate agreement for us, for future generations, and for the Planet Earth. We only have one planet. We don not have a Plan B because we don’t have a Planet B…The Paris negotiations have been the most complicated, most difficult, but most important for humanity.”

Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General

Header image source: COP21 live blog on United Nations website
Image of City: City Skyline by flickr user OTA Photos, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Image of Wind Turbines: Palm Springs Wind Field by Flickr user Alex Ferguson, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Image of sustainable business: WBCSD LinkedIn profile

 

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