Reflections from COP21, Monday 7th December
Bharadwaj Kummamuru, World Bioenergy Association
As COP21 moves into its second week, there is a sense of optimism. Some might argue about the slow progress of the discussions – there are still some issues to sort out: financing to developing countries, differentiated responsibilities and transparency of implementation. However, it is important to note that the negotiations have so far progressed well. There are many reasons why COP21 can be the success that Copenhagen failed to be six years ago: renewables have become more affordable; there is increasing public awareness and pressure on the governments to shift to a cleaner future; and the urgency to cap emissions as soon as possible to prevent, the already more frequently occurring, climate disasters, such as floods, droughts and hurricanes.
It is absolutely clear that renewables are the future. At the same time, it is important to develop different renewable together in an integrated way. Keeping that in mind, the global alliance of renewable energy associations or REN Alliance held a side event at COP21. The Alliance is made up of the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), World Bioenergy Association (WBA), International Solar Energy Society (ISES), International Geothermal Association (IGA) and International Hydropower Association (IHA).
The speakers focused on the various ways in which renewables are working together, using case studies of regions, communities and cities. The studies focused on policy, finance and technical steps involved in realising the integration of renewables. Successful pathways for renewables include cost effective and efficient technologies, access to capital and favourable policy. There has been a tremendous increase in renewables capacity, which has for the first time outpaced the installation of fossil fuels. In such a scenario, systems thinking and holistic approaches are necessary to achieve a 100% renewable energy future.
nrg4SD and The Climate Group
As part of the agenda of regional governments at the COP21 in Paris, the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) and The Climate Group yesterday held the official side-event: ‘Driving Climate Action through the Compact of States and Regions and the Under2MOU’.
The event brought different States and Regions together to showcase the aspirational efforts and opportunities, as well as the challenges, for climate action in their territories. Particularly, regions highlighted the importance of reporting mechanisms and data submitted to the Compact of States and Regions.
At the event, the first Compact of States and Regions Disclosure Report was launched, an assessment of the aggregated global data collected by the initiative.
The event also built upon the recent RegionsAdapt initiative, launched on 3 December.
Created by the Governments of Rio de Janeiro and Catalonia, RegionsAdapt aims to establish a collaborative framework for the adoption and review of strategic plans for adaptation and the prioritisation of concrete actions, as well as reporting data and monitoring of implemented adaptation actions through the Compact of States and Regions. RegionsAdapt now has over 20 subnational governments participating. In addition to the creators, founding signatories also include California, Wales, South Australia, Sud Comoé, British Columbia, Lombardia, Fatick, Gossas, Tocantins, Tombouctou, Rio Grande do Sul, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Basque Country, Vermont, Jalisco, KwaZulu-Natal, São Paulo, Goiás and Australian Capital Territory.
Additional regions have expressed their interest to join the RegionsAdapt. The expectation is to reach around 30 participants to the Initiative by the end of COP21.