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2016 COP22 – Satellite Meeting (Summary)

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2016 COP22 – Satellite Meeting, Marrakesh

Facing climate change, promoting green supply chains and building an ecological civilisation

The 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) took place in Marrakesh from November 7 to 18, 2016. A satellite meeting organised jointly by the China-Europa Forum and SEE Conservation on November 16 provided a key opportunity to discuss and debate future roadmaps and multi-level action involving NGOs and the private sector in implementing green supply chains and ecological education, moving towards an ecological civilisation.

Nearly 100 representatives from the European Committee of the Regions, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Chinese-European-Moroccan enterprises and NGOs attended the event, which was organised in two parts on the themes of “Promoting the Real Estate Green Supply Chain - Chinese Entrepreneurs in Action” and “The World in Action - Education and Clean Energy”. Some 20 high-level experts and representatives gave presentations and shared cases.

  • “We call for the defence and support of fast-track implementation of the Paris Agreement in order to establish a strong ecologically committed civilisation.”

At the opening session all speakers pointed out that the Marrakesh COP must move to implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Michel LEBRUN, Former President of the European Union Committee of the Regions (CoR), Member of the CoR ENVE Commission and CoR rapporteur on a resource-efficient Europe and review of EU waste targets, said: “Local governments, business, civil society play a key role in the adaptation and mitigation process, a role that has been increasingly recognised within the COP discussions. During this COP22 in particular we are called to defend and support fast-track implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is only possible if we establish a strong, ecologically committed civilisation. Our event demonstrates that this is exactly what we are doing concretely. Sharing the existing knowledge between Chinese and European players will contribute to the initiated dialogue between European and Chinese organisations and institutions, but also reinforce our partnership… We are committed to supporting our dialogue, mutual learning and the visibility of our efforts to shape the future of our world.”

Jean Jouzel, climatologist and former vice-chairman of the IPCC Panel I, estimated that initiatives taken today would lead us towards solutions. “If we want to stay below 2C we will have 35% to 40% too much in the way of emissions by 2030. What we hope for the Marrakesh COP is to go ahead and talk about this ambition, which must add up.” Jean Jouzel underlined the figures of China whose carbon dioxide emissions did not increase between 2014 and 2015 and are expected to decrease slightly between 2015 and 2016. “I hope that China’s commitment to reach its emission peak before 2030 can be met. The IPCC clearly states that if global warming is to be kept below 2C, the global emission peak must be reached by 2020 at the latest.”

This is the first time that Morocco has joined the satellite event organised by the Forum and it was represented at high level. According to Mohamed Moubdil, Minister Delegate to the Head of the Government in charge of the Public Service and Modernisation of the Administration, Morocco is a country of the South and a leader in the safeguarding of the environment through major projects launched in the green energy sector. "This consciousness does not date from today but has existed for 25 or 30 years. As municipalities and regions, we are open to all forms of cooperation which can enable us to put in place clear plans and action plans through all the services that we manage as mayors and presidents of regions in the green spaces, forests, public works, public lighting, and waste treatment."

Ronan Dantec is the Senator for Loire-Atlantique and President of the Climate Chance association which took place in Nantes at the end of September when a delegation from the Chinese foundations participated actively in this collective reflection. Ronan Dantec believes: "We are in the process of constructing a global community of action, being convinced that between the necessary actors and states, I hope, the frameworks, provided by international negotiations with the success of Paris COP21, will be confirmed by more operational mechanisms in Marrakesh. It is our ability to act together that will make the difference. The principal danger would not come from climate scepticism but from climate fatalism. What we are all trying to show is that the action dynamics are engaged in the world. They are concrete, powerful and up to the challenge. "

Paul Trân Van Thinh, Chairman of the China-Europa Forum Association, said: "At the end of 2016 our planet is facing explosive challenges caused not only by increasing inequalities between income and generations but also by the acceleration of the social fractures of badly conducted globalisation. Democracy was being undermined by the revolt of voters against sclerotic political systems, élites and the media. In this context, if the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the end of COP 21 could encounter some difficulties, it would be hoped that common sense would ultimately triumph."

Paul Trân Van Thinh pointed out the need for the creation of the International Campus for Ecological Civilisation, which aims to contribute to the redefinition of the terms and new paradigms of sustainable development and to propose International projects in order to build the world of tomorrow. He concludes that global governance is unavoidable today in addressing the global risks of climate change.

“We must build a civilisation that will be compatible with the resources of the planet.”

The International Campus for an Ecological Civilisation project was at the core of the panel entitled "Education and Awareness in Facing the Challenges of Climate Change".

Jacques Brégeon, President of the International Campus for an Ecological Civilisation Association, said: "Ecological civilisation is our only way out. We must build a civilisation that will be compatible with the resources of the planet. This campus is based on values and in particular on the principle of sharing, intercultural exchanges."

Jacques Brégeon explained that the Campus as a platform would offer courses for different audiences, including leaders, who would need to learn about climate issues and integrate them as well as leading international projects. “We will be hosting existing organisations which will find a field of privileged experimentation. We will also welcome other activities such as companies which will demonstrate know-how - it will be a technological hall, a nursery for business projects. The Campus is also interested in building itself into a model of ecological transformation and a demonstration site…"

The objectives of the Campus are, first, to work at a political level so that decision-makers such as elected officials, business leaders and opinion leaders integrate not only the issues but also their consequences. “We need to work with today’s professionals. It is the ambition of the Campus to have an offer for the leaders and promoters of projects.”

The presentation showed that the structure of the Campus is divided into three sections:

1) A forum for debate and research 2) Training and consolidation of skills at three levels: A Chinese and European course at policy level; a strategic-level course with an “Executive MBA”; an operations-level course with seminars 3) A platform for learning: Concept of ecological civilisation; relationship between humanity and nature; legal and environmental issues; green finance; landscape; green philanthropy, ethics; multicultural approach; sustainable development; science, nature and society; biodiversity; ecosystem of the Earth…

Brégeon Jacques concluded: "The campus will be the start of a network of campuses. We have to take the model to other regions of the world, and I must say that one of the first places we are thinking of is not only China, where we hope there will be a sister campus, but also Morocco for Africa. We hope that this international network will be sponsored by the United Nations."

At the end of September this year QIAN Xiaohua, President of SEE Conservation, was invited to attend the Nantes Climate Chance Summit in France and had visited the site of the International Campus for an Ecological Civilisation at the Domaine de Land Rohan, which lies between Nantes and Rennes in Vigneux-de-Bretagne, Loire-Atlantique. QIAN Xiaohua said: "The international ecological civilisation is a very good concept. Humans, over the past 200 years of the industrialisation process, have caused a great impact on the environment. Now, for we humans, the Earth is actually our last “Noah’s Ark”. Therefore we must have the concept of ecological civilisation within the human concept.”

According to QIAN Xiaohua, the 70 Chinese companies participating in the satellite meeting are committed to advancing the green supply chain of the real-estate sector and implementing it, which requires much education of concept and professional training. Purchasing managers need training whether conceptually or technically. “We have now started to train our 70 real-estate business managers who are participating in the implementation of green supply chain, so that in their daily work they check the procurement of products in the production process as to whether they respected the environment or not, whether they produced excessive emissions, whether they polluted the environment. This is very important training. Of course, we’re not only training the purchasing managers. First, the CEOs need to know this concept and have training. Second is the staff involved in the implementation process, who also need training. I think the International Campus for an Ecological Civilisation is a good concept."

XIE Linlin, SEE member, Vice-President of the Hong Kong XIYAO Education Group, said there were at least two major categories of education, one for the whole community, adults, including business and including government agencies. “The SEE has 600 member companies, each company has a very large number of employees and a lot of upstream and downstream suppliers. We promote the green supply chain, which is also an education in a certain way, so that business leaders, employees and suppliers know the importance of eco-friendly green economies. In addition, the education of students is of great importance, especially in primary and secondary schools, and universities.”

  • “Fossil fuels have no future on this planet. By mid-century we will need to have de-carbonised our entire global economy.”

At the panel discussion on “Clean Energy for a Transition towards Ecologically Sustainable Societies”, Andres Jaadla, representative of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), Ambassador of the Covenant of Mayors, presented a unique success story of multi-level governance on climate - the Covenant of Mayors which was launched by the European Commission in 2008. This is an initiative which today has thousands of members. The goal is to save energy 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030. There are currently 6,700 signatories and more than 200 million inhabitants belonging to the cities which are signatories.

On 14 June 2016 the CoR and the European Commission launched the new initiative of Covenant of Mayors Ambassadors of CoR. From more than 315 members, 87 are selected as ambassadors to promote the real experience on how to save CO2 emissions and have better climates in the cities. Andres Jaadla, elected as one of the signatories in June, shared his experience: “I come from Estonia. My city is quite close to the Russian border. We are a small city and have saved 42% CO2 emissions in seven years. This really was a major success. We have invested in the city and changed city profiles. We are doing lots of things. We are speaking to colleagues, promoting our results, showing how we are saving energy in Africa, which requires a lot more work but involves the same principle that you must work with people, with citizens… I think this is possible in China. I have been to China many times and have seen the great possibilities that the large Chinese cities have. I think the CoR’s initiative for Covenant of Mayors ambassadors is the right tool for going global. We really need people who have the experience in their own cities to share with other mayors, other citizens, in order to save CO2 emissions for all of us and our world.”

Stéphane Aver, CEO of the Swiss company AAqius (hydrogen-based vehicles), emphasised that we could reach 5 degrees more by the end of the century if we do nothing. There were 600 million Africans who did not have access to energy. AAqius carried out research and investment and was devoting its energy and money to finding a solution to bring forward zero-carbon clean energy for mobility and housing.

He believed that hydrogen generation was ready to be addressed by the whole planet and showed a film demonstrating how we could move to zero carbon right now and not in decades. "We have a fleet of 100 vehicles that have been running for two years in full-scale testing and we are deploying this in a series of countries… The solution is available, the technology is ready for vehicles and in homes. Stor-h has been developed in 10 laboratories around the world including China, and today we are making this technology available to countries that are looking to enter a zero-carbon chain. China is very active on the subject even if we know that it will take time given the historical energy choices that have been made. We are ready to engage the zero-carbon civilisation."

Sze Ping LO, CEO of WWF China, said that now the Paris agreement had laid out the route map for the future, we had no choice but to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and to massively scale up renewable energy in our global energy mix. The good news was that the energy revolution was already happening. The future was already here. Renewable energy was already the new mainstream in our electricity systems around the world.

Sze Ping LO presented the situation in China: “Renewable energy employment hit a record in 2015 with 8.1 million jobs globally, of which 3.52 million are in China. China actually has about 44% of these new green jobs. In China, which is the country leading this new green energy revolution, we have one third of our electricity generation capacity generated from renewable energy as of 2015. Wind power is now the third largest electricity source in China after coal and hydro. China’s wind power capacity has already surpassed the total of Europe and is double that of the US. Solar installation increased drastically in recent years. Between 2012 and 2013 solar energy capacity in China increased 161%, so by more than 1.5 times. China also plans to triple its solar panel capacity by 2020 to as much as 143 GWh… China is now already the largest renewable energy investor in the world, contributing about $102 billion, which accounts for 36% of global renewable energy investments. ” He concluded: “Without transiting to an economy that is 100% based on renewable energy we are not going to be able to help this planet to avoid catastrophic climate change. Fossil fuels have no future on this planet. By mid-century we will need to have de-carbonised our entire global economy. Every new megawatt of coal plants being built today will be a stranded asset in the future.”

Satellite Meeting closing speech, by Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UNEP

“If China can get the development so right, China can also move on to the environment”

“I’m a passionate historian, meaning that whenever I read something, I will read and think about history. Sometimes I have conversations with my son. He asks me questions like what the most important event is in human history, or what the most important event is in the time I have been living. Start from the last one. The answer to that is very clear. If you ask what the most significant event is in the time I have been living, the answer is very simple. It was a meeting or two meetings which took place in Beijing in November and December 1978 - in the language of China Communist Party, the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. To put it in a more understandable global context, it was Deng Xiaoping taking power in China and starting the enormous transformation which we see the benefits of today. No one man did it alone, but that was the series of changes in policies from which China basically got the policies right.

At that time, in November-December 1978, nearly all Chinese were poor. There were no personal cars in China; there was one metro line in Beijing; the Pudong Financial District in Shanghai did not exist; the city of Shenzhen, which I will visit next month, was only a fishing village. Now it is one of the most advanced cities, one of the richest cities on the planet with a population of between five and 10 million.

Last year I visited Gansu Province, one of the poorest provinces in China. In Gansu you see development absolutely everywhere. It’s huge-scale development, even in the one of poorest parts of China. Why did I start here? There are two reasons. If this can happen in China, there are two enormous and important lessons for the world. If China can put itself on the road of modernisation and develop so quickly, I tell my African or Indian friends, ‘well, then you can do the same’. Then they say ‘No no. China is so different from us. What China did, we cannot do’. Well, at the time no-one predicted the rise of China. If you can name one political scientist - Chinese, American or European - who predicted the rise of China in 1975 or 1976, I’ll give a Nobel Prize to that person. It simply doesn’t exist. No-one predicted the rise of China. If it can happen in China, it might not happen in the exactly same way but if India, Africa and other parts of the world get the policies by and large right, they can rise in the same way.

Remember it’s not just China, it’s also Singapore and Korea; and also Vietnam and Indonesia though not yet that advanced. A number of Eastern Asian nations are getting the broad policies right and then bringing people out of poverty at that speed and with a dedication that we have never see anywhere else in human history.

Second, if China can get the development so right, for sure China can also move on to the environment. I guess that would be in exactly the same way. And that’s now what we are seeing. We see President Xi saying that the new goal is Green Mountains and Blue Water. That is the new goal, setting the Chinese population a new prospect for the future. President Xi is also developing the concept of ecological civilisation. That is a beautiful one. We should make that a global concept for all of us, all of us thinking of ecological civilisation. No one man can change anything. He needs dedication at every level of Chinese society in order to do this. The Ministry of Environment has vast powers, powers I’d love to have in our ministry in Norway. If we could have the same powers it would be fantastic. It’s about getting the policies right and it’s about the role of business.

That is why this meeting is so critical. You need to get the big politics right. It needs innovative powers to reach out to the strength of business to do the jobs. And now you see the number of Chinese companies coming up. The other day, the Secretary of the World Intellectual Patents Organization said that China was still behind the US and Japan when it came to global patents. But the speed of Chinese companies in this regard is enormous. Very soon you will see China pass Japan and even pass the US as the Number One patents place in the world, and that is happening in many other areas. If you want to know why this is important, look what happened in China last week. It was Single’s Day. Alibaba, a Chinese company, invented this. It’s like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, which were basically invented by European and American business, because we give gifts to mothers on Mother’s Day and give gifts to fathers on Father’s day and they wanted to use the opportunity. Single’s Day was created in China with exactly the same purpose, to benefit business. The overall figure of what was bought over the internet in China last week on Single’s Day was around $20 billion. How much is that? That is the entire GDP of Nepal. This means that in one day the middle-class in China purchased as much as the entire 30 million people of Nepal did in an entire year. So it’s not small. It shows it’s still an unequal world but it also shows why greening China’s supply chain is incredibly important to China and the world. The greener every level of the supply chain can be, the greener China and the world will be. You are the experts and help that happen. I can just wish it well. I think it is of enormous global importance. The more we can be partners on the environmental side, the more we have to be partners with Chinese business and the Chinese government. Now you can do it.”