Paris Climate Conference 2015
France was officially appointed host country for the 21st climate conference (2015 Paris Climate Conference – COP21) during the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw (COP19).
D-5 before the launch of COP21/UN Climate change conference from November 30 to December 11 in Paris: 7 European embassies (France, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany) and the European Union Delegation in Singapore organized a screening of ’The Salt of the Earth’ (Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado) at The Projector theater, on Beach Road.
The screening was preceded by a debate between the Ambassador of France, Mr. Benjamin Dubertret and the Ambassador of the European Union, Mr Michael Pulch, and representatives of civil society (Energy Studies Institute, Youth Delegation COP20 / 350 Singapore, Green Future Solutions, WWF International). More than 200 people came to attend this event and share their perspectives on expectations ahead of the Paris Climate Conference.
The film ’The Salt of the Earth’ looks back on the career of Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian-born photographer who then moved to France and has traveled the world for over 40 years. After photographing people on all continents and witnessed the greatest events of our time (conflicts, wars, exodus, starvation), he has been for the past ten years paying tribute to the Earth and to the flora and fauna it hosts.
The Climate Finance Day in May in Paris highlighted numerous private initiatives that support transition to a low carbon economy and the UN objective of limiting temperature rise to 2°C by the end of the century.
To extend these efforts, a panel discussion on the role of the financial sector in the low carbon transition was held on November 24, six days before the launch of the COP21 in Paris, by seven European embassies (France, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany) and the European Delegation in Singapore. This event aimed at bringing together stakeholders from this sector in order to identify obstacles to its growth and come up with innovative solutions.
Over 120 persons, representatives from the world of finance, research, diplomacy and civil society participated in this interactive event where many ideas were exchanged. Among our panelists: The Association of Banks in Singapore, Amundi, Barclays, Munich RE, Singapore Exchange. The British High Commissioner Scott Wightman and the Swedish Ambassador Håkan Jevrell also gave a speech during this event hosted by Barclays.
"Moving towards low carbon, climate resilient economies" - Op-ed jointly published by European Ambassador’s in the Business Times on the 24th November
"WITH just over a week until the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, the financial sector is increasingly focused on the role that it can play to support the transition towards low carbon, climate resilient economies. Commercial banks, insurance companies and investors alike are fast becoming aware of the increasing opportunities in sustainable business models, as well as the risks presented if they fail to act. Given Singapore’s importance as a financial centre, we are pleased to be holding an event here to address these issues.
The Climate Finance Day in Paris in May highlighted a number of private sector initiatives which support this transition to a low carbon future and the UN objective to limit the rise of global temperatures to two degrees Celsius by the end of the century. During this event, financial organisations called on regulators to create a framework of incentives for sustainable financing and investment, citing the serious consequences of climate change for society, the global economy and environment. The aim would be to optimise the risk to return ratio working across international bodies, public authorities, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals to develop solutions to meet global environmental and economic challenges.
Global financial leaders are increasingly addressing the threat of climate change as highlighted in a recent speech to the insurance market by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, who warned of the risks from climate change as a "tragedy of the horizon" that will lead to financial crises and falling living standards unless the world’s leading countries do more to ensure transparent accounting for current and future carbon emissions. Insurers are heavily exposed to climate change risks, and time is running out to deal with global warming.
In order to address this, proposals were put forward during last week’s G-20 Summit in Turkey urging the world’s leading developed and developing economies to bring in tougher corporate disclosure standards to enable investors to better judge climate change risks. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) will continue to engage with public and private stakeholders on how the private sector can take account of these increasing risks.
In its 2015 Report on Sustainable Finance in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) highlights global banks and investors already beginning to address sustainability risks (such as air pollution, the haze and water scarcity) within their investment portfolios. It is now time for domestic financial institutions in South-east Asia to play their part, particularly when considering their relatively higher exposure to forest risk commodity sectors. There is a clear role for regulators to ensure that environmental, social and governmental (ESG) factors are taken into consideration by banks and investors.
A number of governing bodies are taking steps in this direction including the Singapore Exchange, which will introduce mandatory sustainability reporting next year on a "comply or explain" basis for all its members. Investors must act now to get ahead of the curve and ensure that their investment portfolios are resilient in the face of regulatory change and unforeseen market shocks.
The development of a global carbon market is an essential component to dealing with climate change and ensuring private sector action. A number of regional emissions trading systems (ETS) are already operating in different parts of the world, the first and largest of them being the EU ETS. A number of countries (New Zealand, South Korea and Kazakhstan) have introduced ETS at a national level, and some sub-national ETS have been implemented such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the US, the Californian ETS and by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Moreover, China is introducing pilot ETS in seven major economic regions including Beijing and Shanghai, five of which launched in 2013. Building on its experience from the pilot schemes, China aims to introduce a nationwide ETS in the coming years.
During COP21 in Paris, international government representatives aim to secure a universal climate agreement which facilitates the transition towards resilient low carbon societies. Tackling climate change is a collective challenge requiring active contributions from all stakeholders in the global economy, not only policymakers. The traction and momentum of climate issues in the financial sector reinforces the message that it is in our collective interest to act as climate-related economic and financial risks increase. Moreover, the management of most of the fixed assets concerned - buildings, infrastructure, power plants and related energy assets - is a long-term matter requiring upfront action. A change in investor behaviour must happen now. This is facilitated by the increasing availability of alternative investment instruments, which account for - and reduce - climate-related risks. Benchmarking and exchange of best practices on this topic are also becoming widespread. As a major financial hub at the heart of a region that is one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, Singapore can lead the way and turn this challenge into an opportunity."
- Gerard Cockx, Belgian Ambassador to Singapore;
- Michael Witter, German Ambassador to Singapore;
- Berit Basse, Danish Ambassador to Singapore;
- Michael Pulch, EU Ambassador to Singapore;
- Benjamin Dubertret, French Ambassador to Singapore;
- Tormod Cappelen Endressen, Norwegian Ambassador to Singapore;
- Hakan Jevrell, Swedish Ambassador to Singapore; and
- Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore.
Global businesses must lead the way on climate action : Laurent Fabius (French Foreign Minister) and Christiana Figueres (Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Major business leaders will gather in Paris this week for the Business and Climate Summit. It comes six months before the Paris climate conference, COP21, the aim of which is well known: to reach a universal agreement limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2C above pre-industrial levels.
Until recently, action against climate change was trapped in a sort of vicious circle: many businesses were waiting for political decisions before taking action, while governments, for their part, were waiting for a mobilisation of the private sector.
Now the situation is changing. Firstly, most governments are committing themselves.
To date, nearly 40 countries – including the 28 member states of the European Union, the US, Mexico, Gabon, etc – have submitted their “national contributions” – that is, their commitments in terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change. We are counting on all countries to join this collective effort and submit their contributions before the deadline of 30 October.
Secondly, many businesses now include climate action in their long-term strategy and their daily activities. General Motors, Google, Amazon, Apple have signed major agreements on renewable energy use. A few weeks ago, 43 business leaders from companies in over 150 countries, declared their responsibility to support sustainable development.
Ikea, Toshiba Corporation, AkzoNobel, Enel, Hindustan Construction Company, ING Group, Marks & Spencer, Suez Environnement and other large and medium-sized enterprises have undertaken to reduce their environmental impact by setting goals to lower their emissions and their energy consumption. They have also committed to promoting innovative technologies and incorporating climate risks into their decision-making processes.
These positive developments can be explained by a general increase in awareness and by business interests.
One thing is gradually becoming clear: investing in green growth, which is the growth of the future, can be a source of profit and employment. A report by the Carbon Disclosure Project shows that businesses which actively take into account the issue of climate enjoy 18% higher returns on investment than those that do not.
For a long time, climate action was seen as a cost rather than an opportunity, whereas today, the debate centres on the cost of taking no action. According to some estimates, inaction to combat climate change could cost $28tn (£18tn) globally by 2050.
As we head towards COP21, we expect business leaders from around the world to call for ambitious policies and to join this collective effort themselves by taking concrete steps, for example by setting themselves a target of 100% renewable energy use, or progressive emission reduction targets.
The efforts made by businesses – along with those made by cities, regions and civil society – are obviously no replacement for the crucial measures that must be taken by states, whose action is decisive, but they will strengthen these measures. The central – and fair – idea is that governments should not be the only ones combating climate change.
The Paris climate agreement that we are working actively towards will not provide an immediate solution to the problem of climate change, but it can and should provide a way forward.
Today, we are convinced that a large number of public and private stakeholders are ready to commit, in specific ways, to building a more sustainable world. The time for climate action has therefore come, and businesses need to play their full part.
Source : The Guardian
Climate change - the time for action is running out - European Ambassadors in Singapore’s column in the Business Times
June 17th, 2015
WITH less than six months to go until the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015, the time to act on climate change is now.
To mark European Climate Diplomacy Day on June 17, events will be organised worldwide to raise awareness on positive climate action. Here in Singapore, the European Union delegation together with the missions of Belgium, France, Germany, Romania and the United Kingdom are organising a day of events on climate change. An interactive debate, held at ESSEC campus, will see Singapore’s youth discuss the level of ambition necessary for success at the Paris conference. The business community will then join an expert-led panel discussion, at National Library Building, to highlight the benefits of low carbon economic growth, the role that business can play, the challenges they face and the opportunities available to them.
Countries across the globe have committed to create a new international climate agreement by the conclusion of the COP21. Their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are currently being submitted to publicly outline what post-2020 climate actions each country will take under the new agreement. These INDCs will show whether the world is collectively committed to keeping future global warming within two degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels, thereby putting us on a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.
We, in the EU, accept that developed countries should take the lead. That is why we have taken determined action to reduce EU emissions by 18 per cent since 1990 and why, earlier this year, we committed to at least a 40 per cent reduction by 2030 and 80-95 per cent by 2050. The US and other industrialised countries support this endeavour. But this is not a problem that the developed world alone can fix, as future growth in global emissions will come mostly from the developing world. Therefore, we need to reach a fair and ambitious, universal, legally-binding agreement in Paris. To achieve this objective the conference must also address the issue of support for those countries most vulnerable to climate change, including on adaptation to the climate change we can no longer avoid.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence that human activity is responsible for most of the global warming we have already witnessed. In Asia as elsewhere, scientists tell us to expect more frequent and more devastating natural disasters like droughts, typhoons and floods in the future. In order to maintain safe global living conditions, including in vulnerable developing countries like those in South-east Asia, the science tells us we should peak global greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, and become carbon neutral by the second half of the century so that nature can absorb remaining human carbon emissions. We must do better than "business as usual" to create a new societal mindset and achieve this profound and essential change.
Until recently, action against climate change was trapped in a vicious cycle: business was waiting for political decision, while governments waited for a mobilisation of the private sector. Now, the situation is changing.
There is increasing evidence that action to tackle climate change is compatible with lasting economic growth. In fact, a healthy environment and rising prosperity go hand in hand. Just as we strive for a triple-A-rated economy, we must also unequivocally strive for a triple-A-rated environment - both domestically and globally.
The New Climate Economy, a major report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, makes clear recommendations to global policymakers that focus on the need to integrate climate issues into core economic decision-making; agree a strong, lasting and equitable international climate agreement; scale up innovation in low carbon technologies; invest in low carbon infrastructure and introduce strong, predictable carbon prices.
These messages are gaining traction. Just last week, the Group of Seven leaders agreed to cut greenhouse gases by phasing out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century. Last month, more than 1,000 business leaders attended a business summit on climate change in Paris calling on policymakers to agree on carbon pricing mechanisms, closer collaboration between business and government on climate policies and a joint public and private sector fund for investing in low-carbon technology, particularly in developing countries.
Worldwide, civil society organisations (CSO) are increasingly involved in the fight against climate change. Farmers’ collectives, for instance, showed that climate change and food security are two sides of the same coin. These CSO campaigns and actions have helped convince large numbers of public and private stakeholders worldwide to include climate action in their long-term strategies. In climate negotiations as well, CSOs play a vital role as a conduit for public concerns on these issues and in improving the level of substantial public support for an ambitious outcome.
The efforts made by businesses - along with those by cities, regions and civil society - will enhance, but cannot replace, the crucial actions that governments across the world must take. But government action alone will not be enough to combat the threat of climate change: we will all need to contribute if we are to succeed in handing on a climate secure planet, fit for sustainable growth, to future generations.
The writers are European ambassadors to Singapore. Dr Pulch is the EU ambassador to Singapore; Mr Cockx (Belgium); Dr Witter (Germany); Mr Dubertret (France) and Mr Wightman (Britain)
COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will be one of the largest international conferences ever held in France in December 2015. In this context, France is facing a two-fold challenge:
• as the host country, it will be responsible for hosting thousands of delegates and observers under the aegis of the United Nations, for two weeks, in the best possible conditions;
• as the country taking over the COP Presidency, it will need to act as a facilitator among all parties to the negotiations, in order to create an atmosphere of confidence, bring viewpoints together and ensure that an agreement is adopted unanimously.
A Conference of the Parties with higher stakes than ever before
This Conference is crucial because it must result in an international climate agreement enabling us to limit global warming to below 2°C.
It will be necessary to reach a certain number of decisions in December 2015, building on the work carried out at COP20 in Lima.
Firstly, an ambitious, binding agreement on climate change that applies to all countries.
Secondly, intended national determined contributions (iNDC) representing the investment that each country feels able to make. Climate finance will also be a crucial component; in this regard, a milestone has been reached with the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund, amounting to $9.3 billion, including nearly $1 billion from France. Lastly, local and regional initiatives developed by local governments, civil society organizations and businesses will boost mobilization and supplement the contributions made by states.
2015 Paris Climate Conference: logistics and civil society participation
In order to organize this United Nations Conference in the best conditions, France has chosen to hold it in Paris, at the Paris-Le Bourget site, which is logistically the most suitable in terms of hosting facilities and accessibility for not only the official delegations but also civil society and the media, which are crucial to the success of the Conference.
For 2015, France would like to establish optimal conditions for civil society participation. .In particular, regular meetings will be held with civil society representatives (NGOs, businesses, unions, etc.) in the lead-up to the Conference, in order to gather opinions and involve all those who are dedicated to making it a success. A dedicated civil society "village" will be set up on the Le Bourget site. It will be accessible without official accreditation, unlike the official negotiating areas.
The report by Ronan Dantec, Senator for the Loire-Atlantique Department, and Michel Delebarre, Senator for the Nord Department, on the role of local governments in climate negotiations further demonstrates France’s wish to include territories and locally-elected representatives in the discussions.
Lastly, France has chosen to make this Conference exemplary in terms of environmental impact and will implement a programme of action to minimize the impact of the meeting in terms of consumption of natural resources (water, waste, energy) and greenhouse gas emissions.