Update on climate promises, from NAZCA to Pontifex

A biweekly climate briefing for municipalities

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In this Issue #14

  • Update on NAZCA
  • Update from the Pontifex
  • Our Earth is “gravely ill”
  • Will Obama be able to lead a climate deal in Paris?
  • London’s businesses are alarmingly ill prepared for climate change
  • Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation issues climate statement
  • World leaders and scientists issue Earth Statement
  • Deadline this week for ICLEI Transformative Actions Programme
  • Featured network: Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN)


Update on NAZCA

Last year the UN created NAZCA, a space for everyone except national governments, to commit to climate action as a complement to the Lima – Paris Action Agenda. As it stands, 680 companies have registered, with 18 ‘Cooperative Initiatives‘, networks of civil society organisations, businesses that have clubbed together to achieve collective targets and share support. As a global action platform, these figures appear underrepresented with only three months to go until COP21. The most popular theme is Transportation for targets. Of the 144 commitments, there is a healthy spread from Jordan to Canada, Egypt to Mongolia.


Cities that have announced commitments are clustered in Eastern US, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, India and Brazil. Noticeably quiet is Africa, Australia and the Middle East. It is also interesting to note that many of the Featured Networks which we have included in this briefing over the past six months are absent from the list. Finally, without a clear understanding of the value of the Investor commitments, there are still some significant actors who have signed up, particularly pension funds and insurance firms. Check it out. Do you have a formal commitment to reduce emissions? Sign up here.

More action from the Pontifex

From science to the spiritual (and moral). Since declaring his encyclical, the Pope has been keeping to his word in promising action. He invited the Compact of Mayors to a conference in Rome, called “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities.’ The Pope addressed the sixty mayors, reiterating that ‘care for the environment meant, above all, adopting an attitude of human ecology and that “‘Laudato si‘ was not simply a ‘green’ but also a social document.”

“And so, why did the Pontifical Academy of Sciences convoke mayors and city governors? Because we are aware of how to carry out this important and profound work, from the centre to the periphery, and from the periphery to the centre. They are aware of the reality of humanity. The Holy See may make a good speech before the United Nations, but if the work does not come from the periphery to the centre, it will have no effect; hence the responsibility of mayors and city governors.”

To watch the conference there is a video here. Be warned- its 9 hours and 43 minutes.

C40 Conference, Rome

Two declarations were announced after the event to reinforce the Pope’s encyclical, and New York Mayor De Blasio announced a target of a 40% drop in reductions by 2030 for New York City, a first step towards another target announced earlier of a 80% reduction by 2050.

Seven climate records were slashed in 2014, showing our Earth is ‘gravely ill’.

The world’s top scientists (over 400 of them) have conducted a climate check-up, and the results are in. One scientist who read the report Jeff Severinghaus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography was quoted with the following statement, “if this is Earth’s annual checkup, the doctor is saying ‘you are gravely ill.’”

Notably the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from 397.2 ppm in 2014 (note it is 399.20 ppm at Mauna Loa on August 10) from 354 ppm in 1990 and up from 280 ppm prior to the industrial revolution. As Scripps Institution of Oceanography notes, “Anyone who has breathed air with less than 300 ppm CO2 is now over 100 years old!”

The consequences are showing up everywhere in fires, precipitation, in glaciers and so on. The oceans are the warmest they have been for 135 years, with the heat causing the water to expand, resulting in continuing sea level rise. Record temperatures were observed on the Earth’s surface. A somewhat frightening read, but one that should be omnipresent on the shelves and in Kindles.

Will Obama be able to lead a climate deal in Paris?

COP21 in Paris will test President Obama’s administration ability to advance its climate change agenda, but the Clean Power Plan announcement last week was a major milestone, which will help shift electricity generation from coal to renewables and inject energy into the negotiations. Also notable were statements from Democrat candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on climate change.

“[Democrats] think [climate] puts Republican candidates in an awkward position, where in order to satisfy some of their voter base, they’re pressured to reject [climate] science,” said Philip Wallach, a policy analyst at the Brookings Institute.

London assembly reveals most of the FTSE 100 business and smaller are unprepared for climate change

Droughts, floods and heatwaves are threats not just where they occur but also to the global supply chain and the financial system, and therefore to London, according to a remarkable reportby the London Assembly’s Economy Committee. London, a financial centre, is acutely vulnerable to global events, particularly the financial ‘carbon’ bubble, when fossil fuel reserves held by companies become worthless in the face of national climate legislation.

Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation issues climate statement

As a workers cooperative and a proud member of the Canadian Worker Cooperative Federation (CWCF), SSG is happy to note that CWCF has called for an agreement in Paris that includes a commitment to 100% renewable future by 2050, mutual support, equity and self-responsibility, fair compensation for those countries impacted by climate change, policies to advance the common good, and openness and transparency. CWCF also commits to advancing a climate change agreement based on the principles above with the Co-operative Caucus in Canada, encouraging and supporting members to take a similar position and to work with CICOPA, the international worker cooperative association, on a joint statement for the Americas and internationally in support of a meaningful agreement in Paris.

World leaders and scientists issue their Earth Statement

The momentum is building as more and more networks, alliances, forums and institutions issue their statements ahead of Paris summit. This one from the likes of Al Gore, Desmond Tutu and other leaders as well as 17 of the ‘top scientists’ lists eight essential elements of climate action in 2015 to safeguard human development.

Deadline: this week for Transformative Actions Programme

ICLEI is inviting organisations to apply for its Transformative Actions Programme, a 10-year initiative to showcase the potential of local climate action. It aims to improve cities’ and regions’ access to financing, and maximize investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient urban development and governance processes. ICLEI will be showcasing up to 100 projects in their TAP Pavilion at COP21 in Paris, supported by European Green Capital Bristol
and ICLEI.

Featured network: Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN)

COIN is a UK charity focused on building cross-societal acceptance of the need to tackle climate change. It has had over 10 years of experience helping their partners talk and think about climate change in ways that reflect their individual values, interests and ways of seeing the world. They work with a wide range of organizations including national government and local government, charities, faith organisations and many others. Their output is in 3 key areas: research, advice and public events. COIN is currently looking into narratives around carbon pricing and climate change in Canada. More on this soon.

A briefing prepared by SSG’s Office of the Research
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