COP21 – Sunday

After two-and-a-half days at COP21 it’s time for us to head back to London.

We spent this morning at the “Village of Alternatives” in Paris’ eastern suburbs. Around 200 interested groups had got together to showcase small projects they were running to make the world a more sustainable place – from saving gibbons in Asia to creating pedestrianised spaces in Central Paris.

It was a great way to cap off an an inspiring weekend. We’ve decided to share some of our thoughts from COP21 that have made an impression on us.

(Here’s our updates from Friday and Saturday)

MEGAN

Megan

 

My highlight of the weekend?
It was great to chat to James Shaw about what’s going on behind-the-scenes of the main negotiations, and hear about the mood in the room.

Interesting fact I learnt?
Seagrass stores considerably more carbon per square kilometre than rainforest does!

What inspired me?
I loved hearing the stories from people in all sorts of countries who, frustrated by the pace of action from national governments, started their own projects and partnered with council and local governments. There are some really exciting innovations happening at the city and regional level!

My hopes for week 2 at COP21
Obviously a strong agreement! I’d also love it if more officials got the opportunity to leave the negotiating tents and pop next door to where civil society is to hear about all the inspirational projects happening. And I hope lots of local schools use this opportunity, as the Generations Climat would be a fantastic destination for a school trip.

A personal climate change pledge
Further reduce my meat consumption.

 ______________________

SIMON

Simo

My highlight of the weekend?
It’s great to see such strong representation from our the NZ Green Party here. We’ve campaigned heavily on making meaningful progress on climate change and on pushing the New Zealand government to make stronger commitments. Sending 3 MPs to Paris sends the right message – as a country, we need to stop lagging and start leading. Anything else is a dereliction of duty.

Interesting fact I learnt?
I didn’t realise there are several local councils in California which are distributing 100% renewable energy. Or that hundreds of American local bodies have committed to the values of Kyoto. Industrialised countries have been the slowest in moving way from non-renewables so it’s fantastic to see that kind of leadership at a local level.

What inspired me?
It was heart-warming to see how the fight against climate change transcends cultures. Sustainability issues present an ideal set of circumstances for citizens from many countries to come together and share innovation, and speaking to people from all around the world illustrates just how global this issue is.

My hopes for week 2 at COP21
At the very least we need a global agreement that sets clear and meaningful goals – a 1.5 degree target would be amazing but even 2 degrees would be a step forward. I would love to see binding resolutions that future-proof the document. One of the major stumbling blocks has been the instability caused by the change of national governments so anything which alleviates this will be helpful.

A personal climate change pledge
Being surrounded by so many intelligent people has made me realise just how much I still need to learn about the science of climate change. Its a complicated issue, so there’s a real need to make things accessible to voters. By educating myself, I hope I can do better in inspiring others to take ownership of the planet.

______________________

JAMES

James

My highlight of the weekend?
Meeting groups that managed, in spite of the odds, become successful in helping, in their own way, the mitigation of global warming. Some went from personal funding, to major government funding.

An interesting fact I learnt?
That deforestation releases more greenhouse gases than the greenhouse gases releases from vehicles used in our transportation network

What inspired me?
The determination of the groups to do something about climate change in their own way, in spite of the odds against them, and succeeding.

My hopes for week 2 at COP21?
That NZ doesn’t get another “Fossil of the Day “Award!

A personal climate change pledge?
To be more optimistic, and start doing more to mitigate global warming.

______________________

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Au revoir et merci, Paris!

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