After the opening function where we were inspired by Christiana Figueres (pictured centre) and had the opportunity to tour the Tara expedition yacht, which has undertaken scientific research expeditions to the Arctic and around the world, yesterday we all gathered at the Institute of Oceanography.

Surrounded by huge paintings of ships and whaling with chandeliers overhead, we heard a series of thought provoking presentations about the COP21 negotiations from diverse perspectives.

HRH Princess Laurentien van Oranje (pictured top right), Fellow, European Climate Foundation, chaired the session. We were addressed by His Serene Highness, Prince Albert of Monaco (pictured bottom right). The session adopted Chatham House rules and it was a wide ranging conversation.

There were some key themes:

  • While the focus of a lot of climate change work has been around mitigation (i.e. avoiding reaching 2 degrees global warming), many countries are already well advanced on their climate adaptation (or resilience) work and strategies. In many parts of the world, communities are already aware that they are being affected by climate change on a daily basis. The funding for adaptation not just mitigation is a big issue in the COP21 negotiations.

  • The issue of equity is critical. Not only are developing countries and poorer communities more adversely affected by climate change, there is a need to ensure that the transforming economy protects human rights. Again, social inclusion is an issue in the COP21 negotiations.

  • The 2 degree warming goal is too high from the perspective of many developing countries, including the Pacific Islands. The 1.5 degree goal is a response to this.

  • Timing is everything. Speed is required.

  • The importance of monitoring progress after COP21 regularly was noted many times. The importance of monitoring compliance with government legislation (e.g. car emissions) was also critical.

  • Accounting standards need to be developed that will enable a transparent reporting process post COP21. These should include externalities.

  • There is a big role for sectors outside national governments in addressing climate change. Cities have a huge role to play (for example their Net Zero campaign). 

  • Developing countries could leapfrog into renewable energy while bringing people out of poverty and providing electricity to the many people in Africa and India without it.

  • Apart from the global warming effect of greenhouse gas emissions, the issue of poor air quality, causing asthma and other diseases, is a huge issue in many places.

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From the perspective of philanthropy, a key message was that we must stop thinking in silos and start thinking about links between sectors. We could put climate change impacts as a lens across everything we do. We must support cross sectorial work to increase climate change mitigation and adaption. 

Philanthropy can help in storytelling and community engagement. The climate change message should be part of health campaigns – climate change and health are inextricably linked.

We must accept some risk as we are working in uncertain times. We must be prepared to adapt. We must take a longer term view on the projects we support. 

More to come as our briefings continue this week.

 

Catherine Brown
Chief Executive Officer

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