Sunday, December 6, 2015

COP21 - Midway Point

COP21 in Paris reached the halfway point of the two week session.

An initial text has been moved up for consideration by all the represented countries.  The text has hundreds of bracketed letters, words and extended language.  As Canadian delegate and elected House of Commons member Elizabeth May said on Sunday, the text is now "suitable for political negotiations."  Those negotiations have started in earnest.

Canadian MP Elizabeth May 12/6/15

Expectations remain very high for a decent deal by the end of the week.

The outstanding issues include how the agreement will be enforced, when it will be updated, whether there will be acknowledgement of aggressive oil phase out goals, how explicit the recognition will be for indigenous peoples, how the financing of projects in developing country will work, and many others.

There are many constituencies in Paris putting pressure on governments to be strong.  Over 400 mayors are attending and have been especially vocal in pushing for action.  The California mayors in attendance include mayors from Chula Vista, Richmond, Santa Monica and Oakland, among others.

Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland recognized the role and clout of mayors in a forum on local solutions, saying "If we could only power the grid with the energy of mayors, we could solve the climate problem."  She was especially blunt when asked in another forum when asked what her message to negotiators would be, saying it is "not time to be wimpy ... grow a pair."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf

Youth are present and hoping their voices will be heard.  Timothy Damon of the youth group SustainUS said, "It's our future we should be more than observers."  Some youth showed their support for a goal of zero carbon emissions by painting zeroes on their faces.

Timothy Damon of SustanUS
Yann Lesestre and Leslie Tourneville of French youth group CliMates

Religious leaders are pushing for as strong as possible an agreement.  I had the opportunity to hear Katharine Hayoe speak and met her briefly.  She is an Evangelical Christian, climate scientist, professor and was named by Time magazine in 2014 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She said when we engage others on climate, we need to offer tangible, viable, acceptable & inspirational solutions.

Katharine Hayhoe and Michael Paparian

Green Bonds are getting noticed as part of the basket of financial solutions.  I like to characterize green bonds as the "flip side" of divestment.  Once entities divest from fossil fuels, they need to put their money somewhere. Putting their money to work supporting climate beneficial projects makes sense and green bonds offer one avenue for such investments. Frederic Samana of the top European asset management group Amundi said the green bond market is surging everywhere.

Frederic Samana of Amundi
The many people and constituencies gathered at COP21 have a common purpose.  As Al Gore told the assembled delegates on Saturday, "young people are looking to us to do what's right."

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.