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CLIMATE CHANGE : COP19: BUSINESS AND CITIES CONSULTED.

At the initiative of the Polish presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP19) in Warsaw, for the first time in 19 years, business and cities' representatives are being formally consulted as part of the climate negotiations. The Business Day' and Cities Day' were held on 20-21 November. COP19 President Marcin Korolec promised that the initiative will be replicated by the next two presidencies, Peru and France, paving the way for the Paris agreement in 2015. This change is the sign of the UN realising that without a proper commitment from the main actors concerned by the implementation of climate policies, the signed texts will remain unheeded. "One thing is to shape a beautiful agreement, but we don't have the guarantee that it will be applied. We need advice on the ground. I am counting on your input," Korolec said at the Business Day. The UNFCCC's Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, said that "governments need a sense of comfort that the industry is behind them," even though, according to her, "business as usual" has no future and habits need to be changed. Apart from criticism from some NGOs - concerned about an increase in influence from businesses in negotiations - the initiative was well received in Warsaw.

NEW WAVE OF OPTIMISM

Faced with the challenge of climate change, the business world is far more optimistic than the international institutions. The business world is a big believer in the power of innovation and the "power of ideas" being implemented. As a participant stressed, "innovation is an exponential curve and we are at the really early stage of this curve". BMW Germany's representative said that the change in consumption habits to greener technologies leads to a change in production modes. This "impulse from the bottom," combined with that of public policies, is making things change in a positive way. As for cities and local authorities, they are now seen as key entities in the implementation of climate policies. A paragraph in the draft final text of the Warsaw conference concerns them: parties should focus on "facilitating the sharing of experiences and best practices of cities and other sub-national entities in identifying and implementing opportunities to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, with a view to promoting the exchange of information and voluntary cooperation". During the next conferences it will be necessary to define a clear platform for dialogue. As a participant stressed, "there are still not enough tools to connect these stakeholders with the negotiations".

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Publication:Europe Environment
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Nov 29, 2013
Words:417
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