Climate Solutions in Action, the Global Business Day, took place in Warsaw, Poland on 18 November 2013, on the sidelines of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The one-day event was organized by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).
The opening session was followed by Plenary I, which included sessions on “Getting down to action,” “Getting the messages straight,” and “What are the big ideas on climate change to avoid the trillionth tonne carbon?” In the session on “Getting down to action,” Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD, described Action 2020 – a platform that sets the agenda for business action on sustainable development until 2020, and beyond. In “Getting the messages straight,” Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF), updated participants on the Fund’s progress and the role of the private sector. In “What are the big ideas on climate change to avoid the trillionth tonne carbon,” members of WBCSD outlined the five big ideas listed in Action 2020: carbon capture and storage; forests as carbon sinks; electrifying cities towards zero emissions, low carbon electrification of remote locations; and resilience to climate change in globally interdependent business.
In Plenary II, on “Now to the business of scale-up,” two panel discussions took place, on “Addressing the climate challenge in time” and “Electrifying and decarbonising cities.” The closing plenary focused on “Convergence 2015 – a roadmap to a universal climate change agreement.”
This report summarizes the presentations and discussions held during the day in chronological order.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GLOBAL BUSINESS DAY
BALI GLOBAL BUSINESS DAY: The first Business Day was organized in parallel with COP 13 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, on 10 December 2007. The Bali Global Business Day included panels on energy efficiency, zero-carbon technologies, large-scale carbon control and clarity in climate policy. Business participants made clear that they favored the successful completion of a new global climate change policy framework, valid beyond 2012, which promotes urgent and sustained mitigation and adaptation plans.
BUSINESS DAY AT COP 14: “Business Day at COP 14” convened in Poznań, Poland, on 9 December 2008. This event featured panel sessions on a shared long-term vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financing and investing. Participants sought to contribute to the UNFCCC negotiation process by connecting the themes of the Bali Action Plan with the four main areas of business capabilities: energy efficiency and demand-side management; technology development and deployment; carbon markets and financing; and sectoral approaches.
COPENHAGEN BUSINESS DAY: The third such event, “Copenhagen Business Day,” convened at the headquarters of the Confederation of Danish Industry, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 11 December 2009, during COP 15. The event featured more than 40 speakers and panelists and included: a plenary during which then UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer challenged participants to consider their role in addressing climate change; sessions on fulfilling potential by 2012, setting the course for 2020 and envisioning the future in 2050; and panel discussions among chief executive officers titled “Taking the gloves off.”
PUBLIC-PRIVATE DIALOGUES ON CLIMATE CHANGE: In July 2010, the Government of Mexico launched a process of informal public-private dialogues on climate change, through WBCSD and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), recognizing that neither governments nor business can solve the problem of climate change alone and that private sector participation increases the likelihood of the development and implementation of effective and sustainable policies to address climate change. On 15 and 16 July 2010, the “Mexican Dialogues” began in Mexico City with a dialogue titled “Preparing ourselves for green growth.” It was followed by dialogues on: “Financing green growth” in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1-2 September 2010; “Markets and green growth” in Bonn, Germany, on 16 October 2010; and “Technology for green growth” in New Delhi, India, on 11 November 2010.
CANCUN GLOBAL BUSINESS DAY: Cancun Global Business Day met in Cancun, Mexico, on 6 December 2010, under the theme “Building Bridges.” This fourth business day took place in parallel to COP 16 and focused on the linkages between the private sector and policymakers under the UNFCCC, as well as between actors in developed and developing countries. Discussions during the event focused on: the experience of the Mexican Dialogues; patterns for diffusion of technology; the forms and strengths of South-South trade and its contributions to a green economy; and the global realities affecting responses to climate change and clean energy growth.
DURBAN GLOBAL BUSINESS DAY: The event took place in Durban, South Africa, on 5 December 2011. Panel discussions centered on: the relevance of a Durban deal for business; climate finance; climate adaptation; and why solutions to climate need to be driven by business. The challenges for South Africa in responding to climate change were also discussed.
DOHA GLOBAL BUSINESS DAY: This event took place in Doha, Qatar, on 3 December 2012, and focused on “Diversifying Actions for Climate Impact.” Two sessions were held, on how to shift the balance of the energy mix towards a low-carbon economy and on opportunities for green growth in the Middle East. Three initiatives were also presented in between different panel discussions: the Global Electricity Initiative; Low-Carbon Technology Roadmap for the Indian Cement Industry; and the ICC Business World Trade Agenda.
SUMMARY OF THE MEETING
The day’s events were moderated by Nik Gowing, journalist and broadcaster, who welcomed participants to an “intense morning” of conversation about Action 2020 and invited them to send him comments and questions for speakers by email during the event. A brief video on Action 2020 followed.
Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD, noted a sense of urgency to address climate change following recent climate related disasters, but at the same time delays, disagreements, differences of opinion and technical issues holding up climate negotiations under the UNFCCC. He called on the private sector to take the lead in scaling up climate efforts and solutions through Action 2020. He said Action 2020 uses the planetary boundary framework, scientific reports and societal trends to identify priority areas that must be addressed by 2020, which have been further translated into business goals that are scalable, replicable and go beyond business as usual, towards transformational change. Calling for a focus on solutions and collaborations to drive scale, he invited suggestions to add to the five “big ideas” identified in Action 2020.
GETTING THE MESSAGES STRAIGHT: During this “straight talk” session, Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF), said the private sector will have an important role in helping the GCF promote and support a paradigm shift in the developing world towards low carbon and climate resilient solutions. Noting that private sector involvement is built into the GCF structure through a Private Sector Facility, she called on large companies that are part of Action 2020 to influence small and medium enterprises and help catalyze a paradigm shift.
In response to questions from participants, she noted the potential role of the GCF in reducing the risks of implementing workable solutions, and in promoting “blended solutions” using commercial and public sector finance. She said the GCF will be ready for its initial capitalization in six months, and the success of the UNFCCC negotiations could determine the scale of contributions.
WHAT ARE THE BIG IDEAS ON CLIMATE CHANGE TO AVOID THE TRILLIONTH TONNE CARBON? Philippe Joubert, WBCSD, set the scene for this session, highlighting three societal must-haves agreed in Action 2020, that the world must keep in mind while addressing climate change: meet societal development needs; implement the necessary structural transformation to ensure that cumulative net emissions do not exceed one trillion tons of carbon; and become resilient to expected changes in climate.
Georgia Callahan, Chevron Corporation, introduced carbon capture and storage (CCS), highlighting the need to make CCS an attractive proposition through a better understanding of its role, and the need for investments in the technology by 2020.
Patrik Isaksson, Svenska Cellulosa AB, introduced the idea of forests as carbon sinks. He presented the example of Sweden, where the volume of growing forest stock has almost doubled in last 90 years through sustainable forest management, growing at 1% annually even as felling has doubled. He said scaling up this model could help neutralize global carbon emissions.
Jens Dinkel, Siemens, introduced the idea of electrifying cities towards zero emissions, saying the goal is to have 20 low carbon cities in place by 2020, resulting in reduced capital investments and improvements in air quality in addition to reduced emissions. To achieve this, he said both the demand and supply side would have to be addressed through elements such as high efficiency electrification, renewables and low carbon fuel.
Mandy Rambharos, Eskom Holdings, addressed low carbon electrification of remote locations, proposing three kinds of “packages” for different parts of the world with differing needs: small kilowatt packages; packages up to 50 megawatts; and large micro-grids. She highlighted the need for supportive policy and financing instruments.
Charles Allison, Environmental Resources Management, addressed resilience to climate change in globally interdependent business, highlighting the need for a roadmap, and a holistic and collaborative approach. Among current barriers, he listed the lack of a common understanding of potential risks and dealing with uncertainty; a standard metric for resilience; accepted best practices, tools and technologies; and process. He noted the need to make a business case for investing in resilience through cost-benefit analyses.
In the discussion that followed, participants highlighted the need to, inter alia: add a ‘big idea’ on renewable energy; harness the latest information to engage the business community; and address consumption patterns.
PLENARY II: NOW TO THE BUSINESS OF SCALE UP
PANEL ONE: ADDRESSING THE CARBON CHALLENGE IN TIME:The panel was introduced by Joubert, who noted that investments in CCS will be needed to keep the increase in average global temperatures below 2°C along with investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
David Hone, Shell, sought to prick the “reality distortion bubble” by pointing out that investments in large fossil fuel-based energy installations are still being made in every continent with the possible exception of Europe. He said CCS uses a set of mature technologies that have been in operation in the oil and gas industry for 20-100 years, but have not been used in the CCS context because of the lack of incentives.
A member of the audience noted that CCS involves storage rather than disposal, and thus raises issues of ownership and liability in the event of damage caused by stored carbon. Hone said liability would ultimately have to lie with governments, given the long-term perspective of CCS, where individual companies may no longer exist in the unlikely event of damage.
Zola Tsotsi, Eskom Holdings, highlighted the importance of communicating better to influence international and national policies, and to bridge the lack of trust that exists between the private sector and governments in some countries. He said the business community must be ready to work in the public sector and engage in the political sphere.
Hone emphasized the important role of carbon pricing in forcing the displacement of fossil fuel technologies and encouraging removal technologies. He noted that although CCS projects already exist, cost remains an issue partly because of the additional investments that have to be made in creating political and policy support and building the infrastructure for CCS.
In the discussions that followed, participants discussed, inter alia, the need for policy measures to ensure CCS is factored into fossil fuel investments; the cost-effectiveness of CCS; the importance of a basket of approaches that includes both CCS and renewable energy; and the potential role of the GCF in promoting CCS. In response to a question from the audience on whether a governance mechanism for the Earth’s sub-surface is needed to address extraction of resources and storage of carbon, Hone said although national legislation on the sub-surface varies greatly, initiating negotiations on another global commons is unlikely to help.
The panel concluded with Bakker calling for business leadership and urging companies to rally around ideas, discuss concrete proposals, be clear about their policy and finance requests, and support policy makers in being ambitious.
PANEL TWO: ELECTRIFYING AND DECARBONISING CITIES
Introducing the second panel, Joubert said the issue of electrifying and decarbonizing cities was chosen for discussion because of its high potential for impact, given cities’ high share of global emissions.
Stephanie Miller, International Finance Corporation, noted that cities could be part of the solution if they embark on a low-carbon path. She highlighted a World Bank project in three cities around the world to promote measures such as energy efficiency and low-carbon buildings by emphasizing the savings they bring. She noted the need for urgency in implementing these measures to avoid locking in inefficiencies.
Stephan Herbst, Toyota Motor Corporation, highlighted the role of hybrid and electric transport in the electrification of cities, combined with home energy management systems that inform consumers when there is a surplus of renewable energy in the grid, and the need to improve transport systems by creating seamless transitions between public and private transport. He noted that the recent trend of rapidly expanding cities allows less time to build adequate infrastructure.
Yeonhee Park, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Korea, described a neighborhood “ecomobility” project in Suwon, South Korea, where 4,500 residents agreed not to use private cars for a month, and rely instead on low-carbon options such as bicycles and electric vehicles provided by the city. The citizens are likely to adopt these measures in future, she said, while highlighting the importance of thinking of people first, and then technology.
Jochen Schweitzer, Siemens, highlighted, among other things: the role of information and communication technologies; innovation; and customized solutions that are designed in consultation with citizens and collaborating partners.
Participants then discussed the higher costs of retrofitting energy efficient solutions to existing buildings, and the need for supportive legal frameworks and finance in this context.
Introducing the closing plenary on “Convergence 2015 – a roadmap to a universal climate change agreement,” Joubert highlighted the importance of collaborations to ensure that a global climate change agreement can be reached at the 2015 UNFCCC conference in Paris.
H.E. Jacques Lapouge, Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations, France, said his country aims for a collective, ambitious and positive agreement at the 2015 conference, through the support of the previous COP Presidencies of Poland and Peru, the UNFCCC Secretariat, and civil society, including business and local authorities. Emphasizing the intention of his country to be a neutral host, he said ambition is needed before and after 2020 to address not only mitigation, but also adaptation and finance.
Peter Bakker, WBCSD, described Action 2020 as a journey through the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September 2014, the UNFCCC conference in Peru in December 2014, and finally the UNFCCC conference in Paris in 2015, during which the big ideas will be translated into concrete requests for policy makers, financing partners and capital markets.
Daniele Violetti, UNFCCC, said politicians need support from stakeholders, including the business community, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local governments, to boost ambition. He emphasized the importance of the 2014 Climate Summit, where heads of state and government, NGOs and business leaders are invited, and the importance of showcasing results and best practices to convince governments.
Nick Nuttall, UN Environment Programme, said that the sustainability challenge cannot be addressed without addressing the global financial architecture. Noting the relatively small size of the US$100 billion needed annually by 2020 for climate change in comparison to the trillions of dollars in global financial flows, he urged participants not to “put green bows on the old economy, when what we need is a new economy.”
Michael Jacobs, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, agreed that the 2014 Climate Summit is an important moment to gather forces and create momentum before the Paris conference, and urged the business community to be clear in their demand for a strong international agreement that will enable them to do more, while also working on domestic legislation that will eventually decide the success of global policy.
Bakker agreed on the role of domestic legislation, saying the 60 regional networks of WBCSD will play a role in taking Action 2020 to the local level and engaging with local policy makers.
Andrew Steer, World Resources Institute, encouraged the business community to engage with the negotiations and said the Warsaw conference should deliver a timetable that calls on countries to put forward their emission reduction offers by 2014.
In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia, the need to align messages from the business community through partnerships such as Action 2020; the costs of externalities of doing business, such as impacts on public health; rethinking, rather than reinforcing, existing power structures and digging deeper rather than focusing only on technological solutions; the need for “disruptive” new business models, where only the players who can envision the future will be able to play; supporting and encouraging governments to act; and overcoming the current fragmentation among stakeholders.
WRAP UP AND WAY FORWARD
The event was wrapped up by Bakker, who urged active engagement in Action 2020 as a way to deliver a coherent message from the business community, implement solutions at scale, and contribute to transformative change. The meeting closed at 1:10 p.m.
RURAL ENERGY ACCESS: A NEXUS APPROACH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ERADICATION: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), UN-Energy and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), is organizing this event to strengthen capacities on policy, technical and entrepreneurial approaches to rural energy access for eradicating poverty. dates: 4-6 December 2013 location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contact: Mercy Wambui phone: +251 11 5445098 fax: +251-11-551 03 65 e-mail: http://www.uneca.org/contact www: http://www.uneca.org/global-conference-rural-energy-access and http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/2035energyagenda4.pdf
FOURTH SESSION OF THE IRENA ASSEMBLY: The fourth session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly, IRENA’s supreme governing body, will immediately precede the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), the International Water Summit (IWS) 2014, and EcoWASTE 2014, which together form Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW 2014). dates: 18-19 January 2014 location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates contact: IRENA Secretariat phone: +971-2-4179000 www: http://www.irena.org/
WORLD FUTURE ENERGY SUMMIT (WFES) 2014: The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2014 will offer a number of renewable energy-related events, including a conference, exhibition, “Project and Finance Village,” and “Young Future Energy Leaders program.” Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, the event will be attended by international policy makers, industry experts, investors and media, who will discuss practical and sustainable solutions to future energy challenges. dates: 20-22 January 2014 venue: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates contact: Marites B. Dominguez phone: +971 2 409 0423 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.worldfutureenergysummit.com/
SIXTH MEETING OF THE GREEN CLIMATE FUND BOARD: The sixth meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Indonesia, from 19-21 February 2013. dates: 19-21 February 2014 location: Indonesia contact: Interim Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund phone: +49 228 815-1371 fax: +49 228 815-0349 e-mail: email@example.com www: http://gcfund.net/home.html
10TH SESSION OF IPCC WG II AND 38TH SESSION OF IPCC: The 10th session of Working Group II (WG II) and the 38th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 38) will convene in March 2014 to approve and accept the contribution of WG II to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). WG II focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. dates: 25-29 March 2014 location: Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208 fax: +41-22-730-8025 e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch/
12TH SESSION OF IPCC WG III AND 39TH SESSION OF IPCC: The 12th session of Working Group III (WG III) and the 39th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 39) will convene in April 2014 to approve and accept the contribution of WG III to the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). WG III focuses on mitigation of climate change. WG III will meet from 7-11 April, and IPCC 39 will meet on 13 April to discuss programme and budget, with a day off on 12 April. dates: 7-13 April 2014 location: Berlin, Germany contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208 fax: +41-22-730-8025 e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch/
UNFCCC 38TH SESSIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODIES: The 38th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies to the UNFCCC are expected to take place in June 2014. dates: 4-15 June 2014 location: Bonn, Germany contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228 815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unfccc.int
2014 CLIMATE SUMMIT: The 2014 Climate Summit, which will be organized by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, will take place in September 2014 with the aim to mobilize political will for a universal and a legally-binding comprehensive agreement in 2015. date: 23 September 2014 venue: UN Headquarters location: New York City, US www: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit2014/
IPCC 40: The 40th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 40) will be held to adopt the Fifth Assessment Review (AR5) Synthesis Report and approve its Summary for Policy Makers. Subsequently, in December 2014, a copy of the Synthesis Report will be presented to the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the UNFCCC. dates: 27-31 October 2014 location: Copenhagen, Denmark contact: IPCC Secretariat phone: +41-22-730-8208 fax: +41-22-730-8025 e-mail: IPCC-Sec@wmo.int www: http://www.ipcc.ch/
UNFCCC COP 20: The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC is expected to take place in December 2014 in Peru. dates: 3-14 December 2014 location: Peru contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228 815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 e-mail: email@example.com www: http://www.unfccc.int