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3p Weekend: Everything You Need to Know About COP21 -- Week 2


With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

This morning, Nick Nuttall, coordinator of communications and outreach for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told the press that COP21 negotiations will continue into Saturday "to reach the best possible deal."

While we're waiting to see if the Paris talks will culminate in a long-awaited global agreement on climate change, let's catch up on all the big news of the week.

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda talks equitable smart cities

The COP21 climate talks in Paris run the gamut, as delegates, state and local governments, business and NGO leaders, and policy makers discuss everything from sustainable agriculture and forestry to divestment and climate finance.

But when we look decades into the future, it’s important to remember how our world will change. For example, in 1950, 30 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 2050, nearly 70 percent will call urban areas home. Our rapidly urbanizing world presents both challenges and opportunities, as the representatives from the Lima-Paris Action Agenda discussed at COP21.

Read the full story here. 

Side conference tackles deforestation

While most of the attention in Paris is on what’s happening at COP21, dozens of other conferences, events and gatherings are taking place. One of the largest is the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), where over 3,000 attendees looked at the scientific and policy implications of land use.

With agriculture alone accounting for over a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, the solutions they discussed may well be critically important to the success of COP21 on the other side of the city.

Read the full story here. 

Attendees question fossil fuel sponsorship, funding of climate denial

The world is coming together to try to build a clean energy future, but the Paris climate talks are being bankrolled by the very companies that got us into this mess.

This is according to a new report from Corporate Accountability International, which found that four French companies sponsoring the climate talks – Engie, EDF, Suez Environment and BNP Paribas – are responsible for more than $15 billion invested in the coal industry; and more than 200 megatons of CO2 equivalent emissions – more than the yearly output of all but 20 countries.

Dozens of silent protesters took action at COP21, picketing an Engie-sponsored side discussion at the civil society space at Le Bourget in Paris. Many also stepped up to question fossil fuel companies' regular ploy of paying off academics to spout climate denial.

Read the full story here. 

Oxfam expresses concern for small countries

On Tuesday morning in Paris, Oxfam Australia’s executive director, Helen Szok, issued the following statement about the ongoing COP21 negotiations: “Developing countries are at risk of being squeezed out of critical negotiations as the pace of talks intensifies. The small delegations of the poorest countries are being stretched, and it is vital that ministers ensure their voices are heard on critical issues like climate funding as the deadline for the Paris deal looms.”

TriplePundit sat down with Heather Coleman, who manages Oxfam America’s climate policy work, to find out more about the unique challenges facing delegations from small, low-income countries, and what that means for their ability to engage effectively with the negotiations in Paris.

Read the full story here. 

Debates over loss and damage continue

Loss and damage means when your preparation fails, or the disaster overwhelms your preparation, because the scale of the disasters is huge or you did not prepare on time,” said Harjeet Singh with Action Aid, adding that this is a major issue for developing countries, which are, mostly, pushing very strongly for the inclusion of loss and damage in the Paris agreement.

Read the full story here. 

Climate Vulnerable Forum pushes for 1.5 degrees

Countries which, due to location, geography or size, are especially vulnerable have come together in Paris to form a powerful group pushing for a strong, binding agreement.

That group is the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), made up of 43 member-countries, including more than 20 who joined at the onset of COP21. They are the true heroes of this COP, pushing for a 1.5-degrees Celsius limit on global temperature rise.

Read the full story here. 

John Kerry announces $800 million for climate adaptation

In a speech on Wednesday afternoon, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States will double its climate finance for adaptation to $800 million by 2020. The money will be used to help the world’s most vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change.

As Kerry explained in his speech, it is a “moral responsibility to adapt and prepare for those impacts and enable the most vulnerable among us to do the same."

Read the full story here. 

Companies adopt science-based targets

While the Paris climate talks drag on, 114 companies, including household names such as Dell, Sony, Ikea Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Walmart, General Mills and Kellogg, have gone above and beyond the COP21 climate goals to join the Science Based Targets initiative.

Read the full story here. 

The world is funding fossil fuels to the tune of $436 billion

Some still argue that funding climate adaptation, mitigation and resilience is "too expensive." But what about that pile of cash we use to subsidize the fossil fuel industry?

How big is that pile? Bigger than you thought. In fact, a staggering $436 billion in subsidies is now being spent to prop up an old dirty industry that is smack dab in the middle of destroying the livelihoods of millions of individuals around the world.

Check out this infographic to learn more. 

Latest draft text agreement drops on Thursday

The latest draft of the Paris Outcome was released on Dec. 10, seven hours late, but with, finally, some real changes in the text. Most notably, the most recent draft includes the goal of capping global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius -- which several delegations and organizations, like the 43-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum, favor over the original 2-degree target.

3p correspondent Nithin Coca explains: "As we wrote about earlier this COP, climate finance is one of the most contentious issues, and thus far, the agreement includes several provisions previously agreed to, and a few positive changes. It’s not enough, but hopefully it means more will come."

Read the full story here.

Image credit: Mary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni headshotMary Mazzoni

Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also the co-host of 3BL Forum: Brands Taking Stands LIVE! and the producer of 3p’s sponsored editorial series. She is based in Philadelphia and loves to travel, spend time outdoors and experiment with vegetarian recipes in the kitchen. Along with TriplePundit, her recent work can be found in Conscious Company and VICE’s Motherboard.

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