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

Pathway To Paris #20: It’s cloudy in Paris… notes from the COP21

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In this Issue #20

  • SSG digest from the frontline
  • An energy transformation
  • Carbon pricing everywhere
  • Divestment of risky assets
  • Ratcheting up the ambition
  • Coming to a city near you
  • Two degrees too many
  • To be legal or not to be?

SSG digest from the frontline

On Monday, 150 heads of states established an ambitious and hopeful tone for the negotiations. For a sense of the venue and the mood check out this short video from the UNFCCC.

The negotiations are heating up after little progress by diplomats so far. You can feel the energy levels increasing and the talk becoming more urgent and impassioned at the bargaining table: “We are not making anywhere near the progress we need to be making at this point”, said US official Daniel Reifsnyder, one of the two co-chairmen of the negotiations. 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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À la prochaine a Paris

In this Issue #19

Our agenda in Paris

Seven members of our team will travel to Paris for the next two weeks. We have multiple objectives.

  1. The story of cities: Cities have a powerful role in plotting the trajectory to a low carbon future. We will be participating in the Climate Summit for Local Leaders and the Cities and Regions Pavilion led by ICLEI.
  2. Launching a new cities model. We will launch a new city-scale energy and emissions model in the Climate Generations area.
  3. We will be working to highlight the new district energy model that we have been developing for the International Energy Agency with a team of colleagues.
  4. One of our members, Rebecca Foon, is coordinating two major concerts at Le Trianon. These concerts have turned into a symbol of resilience. See the coverage in the Rolling Stone and further information below.
  5. Advocating for the role of co-operatives: Co-operatives are a powerful model that can contribute to a low carbon future while enhancing democracy, reducing inequality and providing stable employment. We will seek to highlight the role of co-operatives. See our backgrounder here.
  6. Climate bonds: Climate bonds can play a key role in helping finance the transition to a low carbon future and we will be tracking this discussion in Pars.

For daily updates, please follow our blog or watch for this briefing.

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CityInSight: a preview of our new energy, emissions and finance model

SSG and whatIf? technologies gave a preview of the new energy, GHG and finance model, CityInSight that will be officially launched at COP21 in Paris on 2nd December.
SSG has partnered with whatIf? Technologies, an international leader in simulation modelling, to increase the sophistication, scope and capabilities of GHGProof in a new model – CityInSight. CityInSight also incorporates the Global GHG Protocol for Cities, a GHG accounting framework launched as the new global standard by the World Resources Institute, ICLEI, C40, UN Habitat and others at the UN Conference of the Parties in Lima in 2014.

Here is the recording of the session and more details about and application of the model in our pilot City Moncton, will be published soon!

There will be another round of this webinar in January, so do attend if you have questions.

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”