This COP was definitely going to be different – and it shows in all the events – it is all about less talk, more action. So something positive already to take away. It is about local, regional actions and at the same time policy (and financial) support from the global level. The technology efficiency growth shows another very positive story – mostly solar panels, lighting. Before heading ahead, what are the negatives – USA really looks absent in the whole discussions, except for researchers and it is definitely a problem. The existing mandates and intense dedications to it from the NGOs and the universities might be a way to go, anyways. India has just a fancy show-off stand with no real event – well, same like its current environmental policies. Also, maybe it is just Katowice (a small coal city atmosphere), but I think the participation as compared to the last previous COPs from exhibitions is still less. Any bad news from industries? – The lock-in systems of industries (the investments for last decades in infrastructure) still remain a problem – e.g. the heating systems, coal power plants. But there are solutions – Carbon capture utilization – it needs more money though!
So let’s start with some exemplary event to understand how the day of side events looked like in COP24. There were two major events on bringing science to policy implementation. One of the discussed ways in a conference by IPCC, and green climate fund was to understand the tradeoffs versus synergies between the SDGs. But this comes with a warning – The latest IPCC report has already shown the need to already be alarmed at the 1.5 degrees rise of the global temperature – and thus the demands are already to protect every 0.5-degree rise. The gap from 1.5 to 2 degrees already means saving around 2-3 times of the biodiversity loss. The Green climate fund has already and has been investing in around 1.6 billion dollars in developing countries for working on these urgent solutions. Another event by CGIAR project and the Cornell University emphasized the lack of political will to actually bring these researches to implementation.
The other set of events which focused on the energy transition (by IEA, Canada, the European Commission, and Costa Rica) showcased the need of working on the power, building, and the transport industry. The reason for the first two industries of not performing lies in their lock-in investments which are the cause of the current 90% emissions. The transport industry has a problem of the demand growth with the projection of 900 million vehicles on road in a decade. There are implementable solutions, majorly from Pan-Canadian frameworks, and the Climate Action of the European Commission.
The most interesting event for the day was one on public involvement and climate change – how to communicate the real change to real people? This session was held with the communication folks from Monash and Cardiff University, Tyndall Center and many more. The main takeaways were how to keep these messages real and local and crisp, targeting the community ambassadors.
So, summing up – yes I am happy with where we are heading with the discussions and stress on the action, but still worried about the limited participation of the countries and especially the industries.
The great tool by IEA for comparing different technologies tracking the clean energy progress – https://www.iea.org/tcep
Pan Canadian framework for greening government strategy: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/innovation/greening-government/strategy.html
Climate impact by the area over years: https://www.electricitymap.org
CGIAR project: https://ccafs.cgiar.org/
Climate ledger initiative: https://www.climateledger.org/en/News.3.html?nid=24