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Climate Week NYC ends with leaders more confident of a deal at COP21



Key global figures who will shape the outcome of December’s United Nations climate conference in Paris later this year came together for the first time at a major event at The French Institute in New York today organised by The Climate Group for the finale of Climate Week NYC 2015.

The leaders agreed to work together to secure a deal and outlined programmes to cut emissions. There was recognition that a successful deal at COP 21 required concerted action by national governments, international institutions, subnational bodies and business. Business and subnational leaders set out a string of major commitments to cut emissions, and called on negotiators in Paris to match their ambition.

Today’s event coincided with a full page advertisement in the Financial Times from organisations working with more than 6 million companies that called for an ambitious climate deal at COP21.

Speaking at the event, Todd Stern – President Obama’s Special Envoy for Climate Change, who recently announced US-China bilateral climate agreements – said: “The stars are more aligned now for an historic universal agreement [in Paris] than they have ever been.

“So let’s work together. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. And let’s get this done.”

He was joined on stage by Prakash Javadekar, India’s Environment Minister, a key figure in Prime Minister Modi’s government. He confirmed that the Indian Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) would be released by the end of the week, on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s anniversary. He said:

“I believe Paris will be a success. We need to keep it simple. We must ensure annual reviews so there is no backsliding. India is committed to building a green economic future because this will help poverty eradication.”

Laurence Tubiana, the French Government’s Special Ambassador for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, said at the event: “Paris needs to be a turning point. We’re not there yet but I’ve seen a sea change compared to previous years, particularly with the mobilisation of business, cities and subnational governments. Many world leaders are also now calling for deep decarbonisation, sending positive signals and creating the conditions for success.”

Three time Mayor of New York City, and UN Special Envoy for Cities and Climate, Michael Bloomberg – making a keynote speech at the event – announced plans for city-level mayors to come together with other leaders of states and regions to agree a ‘Compact of Compacts’ demonstrating leadership at the subnational level to build low carbon economies. This came on the back of an announcement by subnational leaders that set out carbon reduction targets of 7.9 GtCO2e by 2030, more than the US’ annual emissions.

Speaking at the event, Mr Bloomberg said: “Cities, states and regions have considerable leeway to act on their own without the need for national government support. Today I am announcing a formal alliance between the Compact of Mayors and the Compact of States and Regions initiatives. No one should doubt the collective clout of subnational government. We need to change the rules that prevent them from investing in smart infrastructure.”

Also speaking at the event were major business leaders from Fortune 500 listed companies who announced plans to switch to 100% renewable energy and adopt science-based carbon targets.

Maria Fernanda Mejia, President, Kellogg, Latin America said: “At Kellogg, we have had a longstanding commitment to responsibly source our ingredients and conserve natural resources in a manner that will produce more food, strengthen the communities in which we operate, and help support the livelihoods of the farmers who grow our ingredients. That is why we continue our commitments to remove commodity-driven deforestation across our entire supply chain and are setting further emission-reduction targets. It’s good for people, our company and the economy. We’re proud to be part of the We Mean Business campaign as a way to partner with leading companies to hasten the transition to a low-carbon world.”

In a statement to the event, read by John A Kufour the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Ban Ki Moon stressed the importance of everyone working together to find a solution. He said: “We need all hands on deck at this critical point in history.”

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said: “The extraordinary wealth and welter of climate action announced by governments, cities, investors and companies during Climate Week 2015 has been truly breathtaking. Underpinned by the moral imperative of His Holiness Pope Francis and the successful conclusion of a suite of Sustainable Development Goals, confidence is building towards Paris and a new universal climate agreement.”

The OECD’s Secretary General Angel Gurria also spoke at the event on the need for a new economic paradigm: “It’s time for a climate reality check: subsidising fossil fuels does not pass the test. Coal remains the least taxed of all fossil fuels despite being the dirtiest fuel available for electricity generation.”

President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Kim reiterated the collaboration that was needed to combat climate change. He said: “The Paris climate change conference must demonstrate our collective commitment to getting the world on a path to zero carbon. Solving the challenges of climate change requires both public and private sector leadership. ”

Organised by The Climate Group each year, Climate Week NYC has become an increasingly important event for politicians and corporations to agree on joint action and push for greater ambition in international climate negotiations.

This year’s closing event, taking place just 10 weeks before the COP21 talks open in Paris and coinciding with the Pope’s historic visit to the US, also included critical international figures such as Jim Kim (World Bank President) and Felipe Calderón (former President of Mexico and now Chair of New Climate Economy) as well as senior executives from major companies including: Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Nike, Goldman Sachs, Siemens, Philips, IKEA, Kellogg, BT, GEF, DSM, ENGIE and SkyPower.

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group – the international non-profit behind Climate Week NYC – said: “This year’s Climate Week NYC has brought together key figures from all the sectors needed to secure a deal which averts runaway climate change, and also those who will actually drive emissions down in the short term. State and regional governments announced ambitious climate targets equivalent to the US’ emissions, and some of the world’s biggest corporations have now pledged to use 100% renewable energy.

“The wind is in our sails. A deal in Paris is now highly likely, and – judging from the commitment of key businesses and major economic regions – we may also be on the cusp of a major transition to a prosperous, low carbon economy.”

Nigel Topping, CEO of We Mean Business – a coalition of pro-climate business groups – added: “We welcome the commitments to climate action made by Walmart and Kellogg today, and the leadership being shown by New York State Comptroller DiNapoli – one of America’s most influential investor voices. Organizations working with more than more than 6 million companies are calling for ambitious climate policy in Paris at COP21.”

Niall Dunne, Chief Sustainability Officer, BT said: “Innovation has been at the heart of BT for nearly 170 years. We know communications technology has a crucial role to play to deliver the innovation and collaboration that are essential to combat climate change as well as delivering sustainable growth. ICT is a vital tool for better business and a better world.”

Len Sauers, Vice President, Global Sustainability at Procter & Gamble, who joined the RE100 campaign this week, said: “Achieving 30% renewable energy by 2020 is what we feel is needed to keep us on track so we can one day realize our long-term vision of being powered by 100% renewable energy. Joining RE100 allows us to work with like-minded companies to scale and advance efforts.”

About Climate Week NYC

Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception. Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Climate Week NYC 2015 is supported by BT Group, Siemens, Procter & Gamble, Nike, SkyPower, SolarCity, CBRE Group, and Bank of the West – BNP Paribas; and the We Mean Business coalition members: BSR, The B Team, CDP, Ceres, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and WBCSD.


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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