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Posts tagged 'Climate Change'

Understanding the UNFCCC negotiations on climate change – Infographic

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A quick flick back in recent time to take a look at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in one mapped infographic via The Climate Group.

The original UN climate treaty. Established the basic framework and principles for international climate change action. Developed countries committed to take the lead with developing countries agreeing to take action with financial and technological support and as they developed. No legally emission targets agreed for any countries.

Requires industrialised countries to make a collective binding emission cut of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Introduced innovative new instruments, including the Clean Development Mechanism. US never ratified. First commitment period (2008-12) covered 50% of 1990 global emissions. Second commitment period coverage down to ~15% as Canada, Japan, Russia and New Zealand join US in opting-out and developing country emissions grow.

Last minute, high-level political agreement reached at COP15 in Copenhagen. Introduced the global goal of keeping warming to 2 degrees. Also the first time both developed AND developing countries made emission reduction pledges. This marked a shift away from purely top-down to more bottom-action up action under the UNFCCC, as well as breaking down the distinction of action between developed and developing countries.

Process to agree new treaty covering all countries established at COP17 Durban in 2011. Negotiations meant to conclude in 2015 with treaty in force from 2020. COP18 provided further shape and direction to the process, which should begin substantive discussions from 2013.

Click on the image to enlarge




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Climate Change – A Risk Assessment

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The Centre for Science and Policy has recently released this report assessing the risks around climate change. The CSaP helps the sciences and technology to serve society by promoting engagement between researchers and policy professionals.

“The most important decision any government has to make about climate change is one of priority: how much effort to expend on countering it, relative to the effort that must be spent on other issues. This risk assessment aims to inform that decision.”

As you would expect, the report is direct in its findings, with some press outlets comparing the threat to that of nuclear in the cold war era. It clearly lays out the risks and the who, where, how and when for the most affected – Global temperatures are rising, as are sea levels with widespread drought and famine. Across the globe it’s not looking great for us, with the developing nations faring worst.

Surface Temp Change Over Time

The risk assessment was informed by a series of meetings, held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in November 2014; Tsinghua University in Beijing in January 2015; the Council on Energy, Environment and Water in Delhi in March 2015; and Lancaster House in London in April 2015. These were attended by experts in energy policy, climate science, technology, finance, international security, politics and economics.

The report was commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office as an independent contribution to the climate change debate. Its contents represent the views of the authors, and should not be taken to represent the views of the UK Government. Sponsorship for the project was also generously provided by the China National Expert Committee on Climate Change, the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Global Challenges Foundation, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and the Willis Research Network.

The report was edited and produced by the Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) at the University of Cambridge.

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Combat Climate Change And Grow The Economy – Possible?

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This report from Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate outlines how to grow the economy and stave off climate change. Watch this video for more detail.

New Climate Economy

The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, and its flagship project The New Climate Economy, were set up to help governments, businesses and society make better-informed decisions on how to achieve economic prosperity and development while also addressing climate change.

The New Climate Economy was commissioned in 2013 by the governments of seven countries: Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Commission has operated as an independent body and, while benefiting from the support of the seven governments, has been given full freedom to reach its own conclusions.

“2015 is a year of unprecedented opportunity. This year’s landmark intergovernmental conferences – the International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July, the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September, the G20 Summit in Antalya in November, and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in December – have the potential to advance a new era of international cooperation which can help countries at all income levels build lasting development and economic growth while reducing climate risk.”

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‘Show the love’ – A cross-party commitment on #climate change

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On Valentine’s Day a joint climate change pledge was signed by the leaders of the three main political parties in the UK as part of their run-up to the General Election in May.

This joint statement pledges action on climate change regardless of the outcome of the election and includes commitments to a strong, legal and binding global deal in #Paris2015 that is consistent with the 2 degrees goal – to work together to agree future UK carbon budgets, and to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy, including an end to generation from unabated coal power (no end date specified).

CLG Pledge by main parties on climate change

Via Sandrine and Eliot at


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Visualisation of countries most vulnerable to climate change

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ND-GAIN Index has produced this visualisation of countries most vulnerable to climate change – it’s a project from the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN).

It summarises vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges in combination with readiness to improve resilience. It aims to help businesses and the public sector better prioritise investments for a more efficient response to the immediate global challenges ahead.

Click on this link to view the original source data where you can manipulate view and zoom in on specific regions.

Thanks to

climate change

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The Basics Of Climate Science

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It doesn’t get much simpler than this. 

In this video The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences explain climate science in 60 seconds.

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

“Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes.”

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The past, present and future of CO2 – Data visualisations from KILN

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KILN Data VisualisationsIf you’re a reader of the Guardian – environment or sustainable business sections mainly, you may have come across the data visualisations from the guys at KILN. They have an amazing ability to bring data to life, including the example below – “The past present and future of CO2”.

KILN is an award-winning data visualisation and interactive studio. We combine skills from journalism, web development, data analysis, mathematics, cartography and graphic design to make complex information engaging, beautiful and interactive. We specialise in data visualisation, maps and digital storytelling.”

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Press Release – CLG Pushes For Net Zero Economy At UN Summit On Climate Change

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CWNYCThe Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), whose members include Coca Cola Enterprises, EDF Energy, Jaguar Land Rover, Philips, Tesco, and Unilever, among others, is urging governments to use the upcoming UN summit on climate change in New York on 23 September to raise ambition and commit to concrete action to drive down emissions and pave the way to a low carbon future.

The CLG, hosted by the University of Cambridge Instituted for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), represents UK, EU and multinational businesses from a range of sectors that support transformative action on climate change and resource efficiency. These companies take the science of climate change seriously and are already pursuing progressive policy and market reform. They want governments to go further by providing regulatory certainty and ambitious targets on GHG emissions and energy efficiency, and to adequately price carbon in order to stimulate investment in a low carbon economy and society.

The patron of the Corporate Leaders Group, HRH The Prince of Wales, will release a video message at the summit, in which he will say: “The battle against climate change is surely the most defining and pivotal challenge of our times. We cannot meet the climate change challenge unless business and government actively work together. Through the work of my Corporate Leaders Group, I am encouraged that more and more businesses are supporting a transformative goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before the end of the century. Taking action on climate change is neither inherently bad for business nor against economic interests.  It is, in fact, the only rational choice.”

In the week of the summit, which will be attended by 125 world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Corporate Leaders Group will partner with Track Zero and Skanska to host an event at the Empire State Building on the role of cities in meeting climate goals. Speakers will include Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, Farhana Yamin, Founder, Track Zero, and Elizabeth Heider, CSO, Skanska US.

Elizabeth Heider, CSO of Skanska US said: “Climate change is a critical issue that is increasingly influencing major business decisions. Investment in low-carbon energy efficient options makes business sense and is the best strategy for a prosperous future economy. By setting clear and binding energy efficiency targets, in the context of a coherent and ambitious overall climate change and energy security strategy, governments would send the right signal to businesses wanting to invest.”

The Corporate Leaders Group will also support the launch at the summit of a new World Bank statement on Carbon Pricing, which will be endorsed by multiple governments, companies, and investors, and will build on the messages outlined in the CLG’s Carbon Price Communiqué. World Bank President Jim Kim will launch the statement, alongside the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on September 23.

José Manuel Entrecanales, the ACCIONA Chairman & CEO said: “Climate change poses huge risks to us all, but also it also offers significant opportunities. The low carbon economy is worth $4 trillion and growing at a rate of 4% per annum. Renewables have a vital part to play in ensuring a safe, sustainable future energy supply for us all. By providing clear support and ambitious targets, governments would trigger a clean energy revolution.”

Deforestation will be another key issue under discussion at the summit. The importance of tackling it is recognized by the group and its Royal patron. The Banking Environment Initiative, another CISL-hosted business platform whose patron is The Prince of Wales, will also take part in discussions at the summit on deforestation.

“If we want to avoid the dangerous consequences of climate change, we must preserve tropical forests immediately,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. “As business leaders it is imperative that we use our purchasing power to catalyze behavior change and help transform the supply chains of some of the world’s most environmentally intensive commodities. Deforestation is illegal and cannot be reversed. If we work together to halt deforestation we will have the chance both to stop global warming and to preserve some of the world’s richest biodiversity.”

The Corporate Leaders Group is a member of the We Mean Business coalition, which will launch its flagship report on the eve of the UN Summit in New York. The report will illustrate low carbon business success stories and identify policy measures that would allow business to go even further in helping to meet the climate change challenge. The launch will be accompanied by a CEO panel discussion on how a new clean industrial revolution is good for business and is already creating jobs.

Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said: “There is a powerful and growing consensus among leading businesses on the need for action. More companies and investors are committed to bold leadership on climate than ever because they know it makes business sense. It stands to reason that if you need to modernise then do it right – and bring in low carbon energy assets and infrastructure which will provide multiple benefits and boost the economy.  Now is the time to accelerate both ambition and action, ahead of the UNFCCC meeting in Paris in 2015, at which leaders will need to agree a new global deal.”

Notes and contact:

More on Twitter: @climateCLG, @CISL_Cambridge, @WMBTweets, #wemeanit, #CWNYC and via the web

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) is hosted by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), which brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. See more at:

The CLG is a partner of the We Mean Business coalition representing organisations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses and investors. Members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD.

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Climate Change: Implications for Cities

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CISL have released The Fifth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and it is the most up-to-date, comprehensive and relevant analysis of our changing climate. Urban centres account for more than half of the world’s population, most of its economic activity and the majority of energy-related emissions. This briefing explores the roles cities will play in the fight against climate change.

Click on the image to see the infographic at full size and download the full report here:

Changing Climate Cities

More about Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

“Over 25 years CISL has brought together business, government and academia to deepen leaders’ insight and understanding through our executive programmes, build deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies, and create opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through our business platforms.

As we begin our second quarter-century, this small but significant change to our name symbolises our renewed focus on working with Cambridge’s world-class, multidisciplinary expertise to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges – to support business leadership for a sustainable world.

CISL has a leadership network with more than 5,000 alumni from leading global organisations and an expert team of Fellows, Senior Associates and staff. HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron of CISL and has inspired and supported many of our initiatives.”

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Oxfam Report – Why food and beverage companies must do more to tackle climate change

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Standing on the sidelinesGreat report from Oxfam on the big 10 food companies and their impact on climate change. I’m full of praise for Oxfam in pressing the fact that the industry needs to better manage the full life cycle impact of their supply chains, especially regarding agriculture production emissions. The truth is that few of the 10 have targets in this area and for those who do, they are not very ambitious.

My extracts from the report:

* Commodities like corn and rice, projected to double by 2030, with half of the increase due to climate change.

* Agriculture and deforestation (largely driven by expansion of agricultural land) are responsible for around 25 percent of global emissions.

* The top 10 food companies generate $1.1 billion a day in revenues, equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of all the world’s low- income countries combined.

* “Scope 1 and 2” emissions account for 29.8 million tons of CO2 while  “Scope 3” emissions account for 233.9 million tons.

* The impact of these agricultural emissions alone is the same as the carbon emissions of around 40 coal- fired power stations each year.

* It’s possible to cut them. If each of the Big 10 companies made the same commitment to cut emissions from agriculture as PepsiCo UK, together they could save an extra 80 million tons of CO2e compared to business- as-usual by 2020.

* Oxfam’s best estimate based on available data is that globally, the entire food system ― including sources from production of agricultural inputs like fertilizer, to emissions from agricultural production, refrigeration and transport ― accounts for approximately 25–27 percent of global emissions. That’s greater than the emissions of all the cars, planes and ships on the planet.

* The largest share of these emissions are from direct agricultural production, such as emissions of nitrous oxide from fertilizer usage or methane from livestock ― and from deforestation driven by expansion of agricultural land into forests and other carbon “sinks”.

* Biggest contributors is the industrial production of commodities like palm oil, soy, sugarcane, maize, wheat, rice, and livestock, including over-use of chemical fertilizer and deforestation through cropland expansion.

Download the report by clicking on the image top right.

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