Spotlight on Paris, Host of the 2015 UN Climate Summit

Today I would like to feature the City of Paris, host of the upcoming international climate summit, and share a Paris video.  The international climate change talks at the end of this year are extremely important.  In every country we need national leadership to transition from a fossil fuel based society to a conserving, renewable, clean energy world. In some countries, more than others, focussed leadership  is lacking. Everywhere there are citizens, businesses, non-profits, cities, towns, provinces, states, and so on taking steps to reduce carbon emissions.  However, national leadership is still essential, to keep on top of goals and achievements and to create a consistent framework.  In my country, Canada, we have had poor environmental leadership from our federal government. Once there is a strong international agreement to reduce carbon emissions, this will have to change.

France has an important diplomatic role as host of the 21st meeting of the parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  France’s  role goes far beyond providing facilities for  thousands of delegates, visitors, and journalists who will descend on Paris in late November of this year.  As host of the talks, France is the official facilitator of negotiations, organizing preparatory meetings throughout 2015, and steering the  December talks towards a binding agreement.

If successful,  the world will emerge from the 2015 Paris talks with the first ever binding global agreement to achieve specific carbon reduction targets. The process has taken over 20 years–let’s hope that we, the global community, are successful in arriving at a fair, ambitious agreement.

Why is France hosting these talks?   Why France?  Why not France?  The answer is that world nations are divided into 5 UN regions: Asia-Pacific; Eastern Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean; Western Europe and Others; and Africa. The facilitator role for the climate summits rotates from region to region.  For 2015 it was up to the Western Europe and Others Region to select a host.  In 2012 France’s President François Hollande announced his nation’s interest in taking on the task; the designation became official  in  2013.

Under the Spotlight.  Of course the host of an international conference on climate change will ideally set a good example, demonstrating good practices in sustainability, conservation, and low carbon emissions in running the event.  Paris has some very interesting innovative projects on the go.  I hope you enjoy this  Paris video showing urban sustainability solutions in practice–you’ll probably recognize some of the initiatives also occurring in your community.

The flow of the video is quick, but that can be better than slow.  Here are a few of the initiatives that are mentioned:

  • City climate plan with goals for reducing carbon emissions and increasing use of renewable/recovered energy by 2020
  • Transportation sharing through bike and car rentals 
  • Cycle paths
  • Circular economy promoting recycling and composting
  • Pneumatic waste collection (I haven’t seen that one before)
  • Green walls and rooftops 
  • Geothermal heating; Solar panels
  • Renovating for energy efficiency
  • Planting trees and creating green spaces
  • Local food markets.

What’s going on in your community?  Is there a “green” initiative that you are particularly happy about?

My sources:

Official Website of COP21-CMP11

French Amer-Can Climate Talks (FACTS):  “FACTS aims to mobilize French, American, and Canadian public opinion on the issues of the conference and reinforce the dialogue between experts from these countries. FACTS is a public conference series planned to take place in seven cities in the United States and Canada involving renowned scientists, civil society representatives, NGOs, political figures, journalists and entrepreneurs”.

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