Wrap up of Paris, COP21

Friend of SSG, Kevin Anderson at the Tyndall Centre, provides this neat synopsis of the Paris Climate Agreement in an article for Nature Magazine. Impressed and staggered as we all were by the ease of international diplomacy to deliver an ambitious agreement, he shines light on the enormous assumption this is all based on. That to achieve 1.5C in the long term, and thus draw in carbon from the air, will require vast negative-emissions technologies, one being BECCS programs (biomass energy carbon capture and storage),

“The scale of the assumption is breathtaking. It would be the equivalent of decades of planting and harvesting of energy crops over an area of one to three times that of India.”

A sobering read on the political and economic ideologies we have in place that have muscled out what could be an opportunity for zero carbon solutions to get us to 2C.

Another piece from the Wupper Institute in Germany, Phoenix from the Ashes,  published in January agrees with the lack of a legally binding agreement. 

A facetious detail perhaps, but the writer also notes how the purpose of the committee has shifted, which was ‘to avoid the dangerous impacts of climate change’, to now acknowledging that ‘all global warming is dangerous’ … so how their role changes, is not clear. In his experience, this multinational agreement will be partly based on what and where in their journey national policies got to in terms of their capabilities and ambitions for reductions.

“The  question  is  therefore  not  whether  the  Paris Agreement will deliver the emission reductions necessary, but whether the agreement has the potential to catalyse further changes, whether it becomes a pacemaker for policy processes at  the international  level and in the  capitals  of  the world.  From  this  perspective,  the  Paris Agreement is much stronger than many had expected.”

1. It received support from developing countries for including adaptation

2. Using reputational risk as the prime motivator for reporting every five years from 2018

3. Using a transparency framework (yet to be disclosed as to what this would be) for reporting

4. Loss and Damage was included without the financial implications for developed countries in having to compensate developing countries for past emissions

5. Scaling up climate finance is weak, by keeping the same pledge as was made in Copenhagen over a decade ago, “the  goal  of mobilising  an  annual USD 100  billion  of  North-South  financial  flows  in  2020  and  beyond.” However, with a new collective target to be agreed in 2025, this figure is now seen as the ‘floor’, rather than ceiling of the financial obligations. 

Sunnier days: Update from Paris

It is sunny today in Paris and the hallways are buzzing with optimism. A draft text has been passed from the negotiators to the ministers and the text still includes many of the key aspects necessary for a meaningful agreement. Many challenges remain however, and ministers are working on issues such as loss and damage and the ongoing debate over the relationship between developed and developing countries, and the emissions gap between what countries have committed to and what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Read more

SSG launches CityInSight: our new energy, emissions & finance model for cities and towns at COP21, Paris

The Canadian climate change and urban planning consultancy SSG launched CityInSight: an open source energy, emissions and finances model for cities, at COP21 in Paris this week.

“Cities are demonstrating the will to take on energy and emissions challenges. CityInSight enables cities to rigorously explore the impact of policies and investments on the transition to a low or zero carbon future, “ said Yuill Herbert, Director at SSG.

CityInSight is a sophisticated model with integrated spatially-explicit land-use and transportation components, and stocks-and-flows accounting. It analyses the impact of land-use and policy scenarios on energy, emissions and their associated financial and employment metrics. You can listen to the recording of the seminar we held in Le Bourget, at COP21 on 2nd December. (It starts 1:30 minutes in, and make sure your volume is turned up high..) 

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The show will go on!

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

“PATHWAY TO PARIS” FINAL CONCERT EVENT WILL GO ON AT LE TRIANON, PARIS ON DECEMBER 4th & 5th 2015
WITH THOM YORKE, PATTI SMITH, FLEA, BILL MCKIBBEN, NAOMI KLEIN, VANDANA SHIVA AND MANY MORE

In light of the recent tragedies in Paris and Beirut, we would like to continue with the Pathway to Paris concerts and bring our voices together in solidarity, offering our love and commitment to a sustainable world.

Pathway to Paris is a call for peace, compassion, respect, equality, justice, love, human rights and a fight for the survival of our planet. It is about bringing together our voices to highlight our love for this world.

We feel the urgency to come together and build a global movement for climate justice, recognizing that climate change and its challenges interconnects us all.

The upcoming climate change talks offer an enormous opportunity to send a clear signal that the world is moving away from fossil fuels and towards a renewable energy future, while listening and problem solving with voices from around the world.

Music is a universal language and climate change is a global concern.

The time is now.

With love,
Jesse Paris Smith & Rebecca Foon (Co-Founders of Pathway to Paris),
Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Flea, Dhani Harrison, Tenzin Choegyal

Tickets available for Dec 5th 2015 at: FNAC SPECTACLES

Pathway to Paris is an initiative in partnership with 350.org that brings together musicians, artists, activists, academics, politicians and innovators to participate in a series of events and dialogues to help raise consciousness around the urgency of climate action and the importance of establishing an ambitious, global, legally binding agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

Co-founded by musicians Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, Pathway to Paris kicked off with an intimate evening of music and speakers at Le Poisson Rouge immediately following the People’s Climate March in New York City in September 2014, with a series of similar events unfolding in New York and Montreal over the ensuing year. The final Pathway to Paris concerts will take place December 4th & 5th 2015 in Paris and will include the musicians and speakers listed below (among others still to be announced):

PATHWAY TO PARIS
December 4th & 5th 2015
Le Trianon, Paris FR

BILL MCKIBBEN • NAOMI KLEIN • VANDANA SHIVA
PATTI SMITH • THOM YORKE • FLEA • DHANI HARRISON • 
TENZIN CHOEGYAL • JESSE PARIS SMITH • REBECCA FOON

Doors: 18:30 Show: 19:30

All participants donate their time, skills and talents; while the primary aim of P2P is consciousness-raising and call-to-action, the events also raise funds, with all proceeds going to 350.org. Pathway to Paris is supported by Ben & Jerry’s, in collaboration with 350.org, with additional support from the United Nations Development Program, Tree Laboratory, Sustainability Solutions Group, NextGen Climate America and Modo Yoga NYC.

For more information:

Rebecca Foon – rebecca@sustainabilitysolutions.ca
Alain Lahana – pathway.to.paris@gmail.com
Jamie Henn – jamie@350.org

http://www.pathwaytoparis.com

 

350-logo-org1

Canada: worker cooperatives taking action to address climate change

(Repost from CICOPA: dated 31st October 2015)

In the Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) document it is underlined that co-operatives are showing leadership by joining together to develop a co-operative solution to climate change.  CWCF member Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) has put out a call to action to engage cooperatives in climate change activities, including in their publication “A Co-operative Solution to Climate Change”: 

“Co-operatives represent something special for the climate change challenge. It is a combination of experience and a proven track record, resilience, an unrelenting dedication to universal values, the ability to achieve multiple outcomes at once, and flexibility and versatility.”[1]

The concept of sustainability is embedded within the seven co-operative principles.  By their nature, co-operatives put societal and member concerns ahead of short-term profit.

CWCF recently adopted a Statement on Climate Change[2] which begins as follows:

“From November 30 to December 11, 2015, the nations of the world will come together in Paris, France to negotiate a global treaty on climate change. The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is an organisation representing worker co-operatives across Canada, and Principle 7 of the Co-operative Principles states that “Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members”.  Climate change unequivocally threatens not only sustainable development, but the survival of millions of people around the world through undermining food security, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other impacts. CWCF is therefore mandated on behalf of our members to advocate for meaningful action on climate change according to the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In so doing, CWCF joins a diverse and growing movement within society.

To this end, CWCF calls for an agreement in Paris that includes the following elements:

Commitment to 100% renewable future by 2050: In order to stabilise the climate at safe levels as called for by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050[3]. This also means that more than 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground[4].  …” 

The Pathway to Paris, co-organized by SSG, is a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, and innovators coming together to make their voices heard in the context of the UN climate talks in Paris in December 2015.  SSG has been participating in the UN climate negotiations for several years, and the meeting in Paris this December is a unique opportunity to agree upon a coordinated international response to climate change. The meeting is unique because of a coalescing of acknowledgement by heads of state, particularly China and the US, that substantive action is urgent.

Many Worker Co-operatives in Canada in addition to SSG are working towards sustainability and climate justice, including the following:  

  •  Forêt d’Arden is a worker cooperative in Quebec, which provides education about the environment.
  • EnerGreen Builders Co-operative located in New Brunswick, is committed to building and maintaining high quality sustainable buildings and they endeavour to use environmentally friendly building materials and practices.
  •  Aster Group Environmental Services, also in New Brunswick, is a worker co-operative that delivers environmental consulting services.
  •  The Fourth Pig, a worker cooperative in Ontario, is a construction company that doeshome and commercial renovations and building. Their work is based on natural and green building techniques and materials. 
  • Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC) sells, installs and provides consulting services for renewable energy systems in British Columbia.
  •  Natural Cycle Worker Co-op Limited is a group of enterprises, located in Manitoba, Canada focused on human-powered transportation.  They have four worker co-operative members including a courier business, a bike shop, a fabrication company and a distribution company.
  • Urbane Cyclist Workers Co-op is a bike shop located in downtown Toronto that includes retail and service. Urbane Cyclist supports all pedal-powered cycling and their shop services all kinds of bicycles.
  •  Old Town Glassworks in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is a community of workers and artists who create hand-crafted glassware from recycled bottles.
  • Urban Eatin’ Landscapes, located in Manitoba, transforms underutilized space into beautiful edible landscapes. 
  • Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, in rural Quebec, is a farming cooperative that is committed to producing the highest quality organic products in the most sustainable ways possible to nourish our local community and enrich the landscape.

Yuill Hebert of SSG noted that, “Cooperatives are very active around the world in addressing climate change; from renewable energy cooperatives to car sharing, from low-carbon housing to providing critical financing but certainly they can do more, much more. The unique value proposition is that cooperatives, unlike many other models of enterprise, can enable the transition to a fossil fuel-free society while combating inequality, enhancing democracy and ensuring local involvement and control, thus simultaneously achieving different aspects of the sustainable development goals- a win-win-win solution. If we attempt to solve climate change with unrestrained capitalism, the result may be reduced emissions, but there are also other social and economic problems that must then be addressed.” 

Co-operatives in Canada and elsewhere are already implementing sustainable business practices and services.  CWCF urges all co-operatives to get involved in working together to address climate change.  This can be done by adopting a Climate Change Statement, advocating with governments, creating climate-related policies, participating in Pathways to Paris or similar activities, implementing more sustainable business practices and services and collaborating to encourage other co-operatives, community organizations, and businesses to address climate change issues

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives.  CWCF’s e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.

By Kaye Grant, CWCF
Image from Sustainability Solutions Group

See our report: “A Cooperative Solution to Climate Change”

Pathway to Paris #17: What are the pathways to deep decarbonization?

A biweekly climate briefing for municipalities

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In this Issue #17

  • Another remarkable speech
  • Pathways to Deep Decarbonization
  • The climate justice movement prepares for Paris
  • Game-changing act of diplomacy between US and China
  • Momentum for Change: the best ideas
  • Diplomats raise hopes for deal to cut greenhouse gases
  • Interesting week for Shell
  • Latin America and European cities are least dependent on fossil fuels
  • Pathway to Paris: POP Montreal
  • Featured network: United Cities and Local Governments

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Another remarkable speech

Following shortly on the coattails of a flurry of powerful speeches touching on climate change by the Pope in the US (for example, was a remarkable commentary by the Governor of the Bank of England that sent shockwaves through the business sections of the media. Speaking at Lloyd’s, a major insurance company, Mark Carney pointed out that once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late- he called this the Tragedy of the Horizon. He also pointed to three types of risks:

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