Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week: Climate Events Worth Watching

I don't normally post upcoming events in this blog, but there are two this week worth considering.  Both are free to watch online.

Wednesday all day: Investor Summit on Climate Risk

Climate leaders and financial experts will gather on Wednesday, January 27 for the Investor Summit on Climate Risk.  The event  will take place at the United Nations and is co-hosted by Ceres, the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations Office for Partnerships.

Participants include United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, COP21 Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, Michael Bloomberg, Al Gore, CERES President Mindy Lubber and many others.

Michael Bloomberg at COP21

Californians on the agenda include California Treasurer John Chiang, California State Controller Betty Yee, CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes and DBL Investors head Nancy Pfund.

A copy of the agenda is here.  The event can be viewed via a live broadcast on the United Nations TV website at

Friday 11-12:30 Pacific Time: The Road from Paris: Climate Solutions Investment

Building on the ideas from the UN Investor Summit on Climate Risk, an interactive forum on finance for a west coast audience will take place on Friday, January 29 from 11 to 12:30 Pacific Time.

One of the participants in the CERES/UN Investor Summit, Ken Locklin of Impax Asset Management, is joining California Clean Energy Fund Managing Director Danny Kennedy in hosting the Friday event, The Road from Paris: Opportunities and Challenges in Climate Solutions Investment.

Experts in climate investment and risk will discuss the policies, financial models and investment flows needed to make Paris a success for both the climate and the economy.

Registration is free at

(Disclosure:  I am one of the presenters at a breakout session in the Friday event)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Climate Comments from COP21: Scientists

At COP21 in Paris last month, I was captivated by the quality and depth of the comments and presentations from political leaders, scientists, youth, activists financial experts and many others.  I captured a variety of comments and share some of them from scientists here.  I'll be sharing more in a future post.

The Scientists:  Time to Act

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up under the auspices of the United Nations in 1988 to gather and analyze the best scientific information available and synthesize it for decisionmakers.

At a gathering at UNESCO during COP21, IPCC members did their best to convey the science as clearly as they could.  But, scientists often have trouble conveying information in a way that is understood and absorbed by policymakers and the public.  As French climatologist Valerie Masson-Delmotte said, "Scientists are not poets."

At the same UNESCO gathering, Dr. Diana √úrge-Vorsatz, Director of the Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy at Central European University said that it is possible to limit global warming to an increase of two degrees centigrade.  However, it will be extremely difficult unless strong action is started soon.  Limiting to 1.5 degrees is even more challenging.

Elsewhere at COP21, scientists were concerned that the climate models may be underestimating emissions and impacts.  Dr. Susan Natali of Woods Hole Research Center expressed concern that carbon and methane emissions from thawing permafrost are not being taken into account in climate models.  "These emissions from thawing permafrost are going to amplify climate changes," she said.  Dr. James Hansen expressed concern that even if all emissions stopped today, there will be noticeable further warming from greenhouse gases already emitted.

Dr. Youba Sokona, Vice-Chair of IPCC offered hope, saying that it is possible to limit climate change.  However, like his colleagues, he emphasized the need for swift action.

(All photos by Michael Paparian)