Yesterday was the first day of the World Climate Summit in Paris that runs through December 11th and includes participation from 147 world leaders along with 40,000 delegates to pursue the objective of achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate from all nations of the world while attempting to fulfill an earlier pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.
“Paris must mark a turning point. We need the world to know that we are headed to a low emissions, climate resilient future, and there is no going back” said U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during opening remarks.
Several nations around the globe have embraced clean technology that reduces their carbon footprint but other developing countries still want more room to allow their carbon pollution levels to rise while they pull their citizens out of poverty.
Instead of requiring targets like other previous climate change deals have done in the past, the 2015 Paris World Climate Summit is different and permits countries to set their own goals which may differ from one another and creates a new challenge when drafting an agreement for the countries of the world to adopt.
The legal structure of the Paris Summit will also likely require some form of political ratification from some countries such as the U.S. where Senate approval is expected for U.S. involvement.
With Republicans controlling the Senate and a good percentage of them remaining skeptical of climate change, there could be some complications for the Obama administration over the question about whether a universal legal agreement could be implemented for the world’s second largest carbon emitter.
Mission Innovation and Breakthrough Energy Coalition
In a joint statement called Mission Innovation, twenty-one countries agreed to double its government directed clean energy research and development investment over five years.
Research and development projects would be designed and managed to attract private investors willing to advance commercialization.
Participating countries would commit to work closely with the private sector as it increases its investment in early stage clean energy companies that emerge from government research and development programs.
“Working with existing international institutions, participating countries will cooperate and collaborate to help governments, private investors, and technology innovators to make available data, technology expertise, and analysis in order to promote commercialization and dissemination of clean energy technologies so they reach global market penetration,” according to the joint statement.
Another initiative called Breakthrough Energy Coalition is led by a group of prominent global investors who will support companies that take clean energy concepts from the lab into the marketplace.
The new model promoted by Breakthrough Energy Coalition will be a public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors.
The coalition acknowledged that the current system that mobilizes and scales clean energy technology is falling short and they can no longer keep waiting for the perfect conditions to emerge.
“The existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies fails to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions for the future. We can’t wait for the system to change through normal cycles” Breakthrough Energy Coalition stated in their principles.
The coalition plans to invest based on a few core investment principles:
1) Invest early
2) Invest broadly in the following sectors:
- Electricity generation and storage
- Industrial use
- Energy system efficiency
3) Invest boldly
4) Invest wisely
5) Invest together
During the next year coalition members will work together to analyze potential investments coming out of the research pipeline, create investment vehicles to facilitate those investments, and expand the community of investors to join them in this endeavor.
The coalition can be reached at this e-mail: