One Planet Summit

one planet summitBy Kathy Panko, Environmental Issues Group

Two years after the historic Paris Agreement on climate, more than 50 heads of state, as well as environment ministers, regional leaders, and bank and finance executives met in Paris on December 12, 2017, to finance global efforts to meet the goals of the agreement.

Melting Polar Ice Caps

Temperatures below freezing (0 degrees Celsius/32 degrees Fahrenheit) are required to curtail further melting of the Polar Ice Caps.  Current global temperatures are rising at an alarming accelerated rate above freezing.  The Paris Agreement’s main goal is to keep a global temperature rise this century to less than 2 degrees C (35.6 degrees F) above pre-industrial levels and to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (34.7 degrees F), if possible.  France, as well as the UN and World Bank, said previous efforts to shift the global economy into a green energy future were too little, too slow, as a report warned that melting Arctic ice will trigger extreme weather worldwide. The accord also aims to strengthen the ability of vulnerable countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Commitments Set

Moving away from fossil fuels and leaning heavily on business, the “One Planet Summit” set commitments on climate change.  Here are the five major areas covered:

  • Oil and Gas – The World Bank announced that it will stop  financing oil and gas exploration and extraction – representing about 2% of its current portfolio – from 2019. Starting next year, the bank will publish a yearly index of greenhouse gas-related projects it provides funding for and will price in carbon costs for future investments.
  • Coal – The French insurance giant Axa announced it will stop investing in any company involved in the construction of coal plants and will withdraw about $2.9 billion from the sector.  The firm also said it will pull $829 million (700 million euros) from projects linked to tar sands pipeline projects, and put $10,660 billion (nine billion euros) into “green” infrastructural investment through 2020.
  • Investors – More than 200 large-scale investors, including HSB and the major US pension fund CalPERS, agreed to put pressure on the world’s 100 most polluting companies to persuade them to reduce emissions.  The “Climate Action 100+” initiative will target corporate giants such as BP, Chevron, Airbus, Ford and mining groups.
  • Aid – The French Development Agency (AFD) signed agreements with African states, including Niger and Tunisia, to help them in their fight against climate change, including countering the effects of erosion.  Under the agreements, $23,688 million (20 million euros) will be set aside for 15 developing countries over four years.
  • Farming – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the European Commission promised to earmark more than $600 million for agricultural research to combat climate change.  The Gates Foundation itself pledged $315 million to help the poorest countries, notably Africa, adapt to global warming.  The European Commission pledged $318 million.

Progress

Two years to the day since 195 nations sealed the Paris Agreement (without United States participation), investors announced billions of dollars of divestment from coal, oil, and gas.  They vowed to move away from earth-warming fossil fuels seeking to unlock new cash to save humanity from climate “doom.”

 

Sources:

ENS                           12/12/17

Palm Beach Post   12/12/17    

SBS New                  12/13/17