COP21 - A Historic Step Forward for Clean Energy

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On the 12th of December, 2015, high-level representatives from 195 nations, including many presidents and prime ministers, agreed to try to hold warming “well below” 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. On April 22, at the UN in NYC, the agreement takes full effect (once nations representing a majority of the planet’s GHG emissions sign the agreement). Unfortunately, the truth is that, even if the agreement in Paris is carried out by every nation, and to the letter, global temperatures will still be on course to rise by around 2.7°C by the end of the century.

Luckily, the best news of the entire COP21 came on Day 1 with the announcement of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (breakthroughenergycoalition.com). The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is a group of more than 20 billionaires (including Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg {CEO of Facebook}) who have agreed to invest in innovative clean energy. The Coalition wouldn’t be able to fund and meet all of its goals without the most important international commitment by governments to invest in clean energy to date. Mission Innovation (mission-innovation.net) is a group of 20 countries including the U.S., Brazil, China, Japan, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, who have pledged to double government investment in clean energy innovation and to be transparent about its clean energy research and development efforts. In a statement from the Coalition, the importance of both groups is highlighted –

“THE WORLD NEEDS WIDELY AVAILABLE ENERGY that is reliable, affordable and does not produce carbon. The only way to accomplish that goal is by developing new tools to power the world. That innovation will result from a dramatically scaled up public research pipeline linked to truly patient, flexible investments committed to developing the technologies that will create a new energy mix. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is working together with a growing group of visionary countries who are significantly increasing their public research pipeline through the Mission Innovation initiative to make that future a reality.”

Brazil was one of the last countries to join the ‘high ambition coalition’, while China and India were hold outs to this section of the pact. The 'high ambition coalition' are a group of countries, including most of the “Mission Innovation” countries and a group of the most vulnerable (smaller generally, and poorer) nations, that are looking towards a more ambitious goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. China and India are the major emitters in the developing world, and were the last agree to the main pact, but not the high ambition goal, at COP21.

Below are some major resources for more information on the COP21:

 

http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf

http://www.nature.com/news/nations-approve-historic-global-climate-accord-1.19021

 

http://newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/innovation/lpaa-focus-on-innovation-government-and-private-sector-leaders-announce-commitments-and-partnerships-to-increase-rd-for-low-carbon-technologies/

 

COP21 Paris – breakdown of the event

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35086346

 

http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/03/c40-cities-award/

http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/06/cop21-week-one/

 

http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/un_chief_hails_opening_week_of_cop21?utm_source=Feeds&utm_campaign=News&utm_medium=rss

http://www.climateactionprogramme.org/news/action_on_sustainable_transport_launched_at_paris_climate_summit?utm_source=Feeds&utm_campaign=News&utm_medium=rss\

http://www.greenbiz.com/article/cheat-sheet-industry-specific-cop21-pledges?utm_content=bufferb355c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/05/paris-climate-change-talks-draft-french-summit?CMP=share_btn_tw

http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/cop21-masdar-leads-global-water-alliance-2015-12-06-1.612902

 

http://www.theclimategroup.org/what-we-do/programs/compact-of-states-and-regions/

Green Urban Planning

Today, green urban planning is more important than ever. We provide facts about seven cities that are focused on utilizing various approaches to sustainable development. You can find out about many sources of renewable energy here.

City planning committees around the globe are becoming more focused on the importance of using sources of renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels and other finite resources. Our goal is to teach our readers about eight of the greenest cities in the world. As you peruse this site, you will gain insight into the worlds of renewable energy, urban planning, green building and sustainable mass transit. For instance, you will learn about an example of a bus system, located in Curitiba, Brazil, that serves as a standard of efficiency for other metropolises throughout the world...

 

Sustainability Trends

Ideas for a Greener Home

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning supplies
  • Favor cloth over paper products
  • Chlorine-free baby diapers/ wipes
  • Choose natural lawn care - stop using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers
  • Use biodegradable detergent and oxygen bleach
  • For clean, safe drinking water without all of the waste - use a water filter and a reusable bottle
  • Install low-flow toilets

 

Energy Saving Ideas

  • Use CFL or LED light bulbs
  • Use Energy Star labeled equipment
  • Turn off all home and office equipment when not in use
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Turn down the thermostat - lowering it by just one degree can reduce heating energy costs significantly
  • Avoid "phantom loads" (electrical equipment that still uses energy even after turned off) by using a power strip
  • Reduce your water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees
  • Install double-pane windows