Paris Daily Digest - Dec 3: New Buildings & Transport Actions Announced

Below is the update from today (Dec 3) from the climate negotiations in Paris. Below is the update from today (Dec 2) from the climate negotiations in Paris. Previous day ones are available at: Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.


Under the Paris Action Agenda, 18 countries including the US and over 60 stakeholders today launched an unprecedented Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction to accelerate the sector's potential to reduce its 30% global share of carbon pollution and literally build greater resilience in cities and infrastructure. Also under the Action Agenda, 10 cross-sector initiatives on transport were announced including: a 65 country initiative to double the fuel efficiency of the global light duty fleet of vehicles by 2050; a declaration signed by Tesla, Michelin, the International Energy Agency and others to have at least 20% of all road vehicles electric powered by 2030; an initiative to support 100 cities in 20 developing countries to develop and implement sustainable urban mobility plans; and finally an initiative to double the market share of public transport by 2025 that brought 125 new commitments toward achieving that goal.


Today marked the first ever 'climate and ocean day' to showcase events and issues where a warming climate and its effects on the ocean are cause for concern. Thursday's collection of ocean events covered a wide range of topics ranging from coral reefs to climate finance, and the changing state of the ocean. Please find below some information on the day.

Ocean day was organized by the Global Ocean Forum, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission/UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Ocean Policy Research Institute/Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan, the University of Delaware, and the Ocean and Climate Platform, together with 38 other partners, including the Governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Portugal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Sweden. Here is the agenda. Here is the some summary information on ocean day and associated events.


In the larger negotiating group discussion of cross-cutting issues such as differentiation, many countries took an opportunity to repeat their well-established stances. It is likely media will focus on these apparent last-minute tensions. Fortunately, there are signs that more progress in the informal and bilateral conversations between countries has been made. At the end of this week, negotiators turn the text over to higher level ministers and the French presidency, and decisions on the set of top issues will be made - this includes the amount of climate finance that will be provided after 2020, the type of transparency and review system that will exist for emissions and country climate pledges, and whether countries will re-evaluate their pledges around 2020 at a "global stocktake".


The small island states (AOSIS), the Least Developed Countries and Latin American group (AILAC) are open to new language around finance that would open up the possibility of climate finance being provided not only from developed countries but from countries "in a position to do so" or "willing to do so." This is language that the US and other Umbrella Group members such as Australia support.


The US Center sponsored a presentation on how cities are leading action on climate change. The event featured Maija Lukin, Councilwoman from Kotzebue, Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, California, and Jorgen Abilgaard from Copenhagen. The impacts on Kotzebue were the most stark. This community of 3,200 people faces threats to food security and coastal erosion from increasing temperatures and sea level rise. The local caribou herd - a key food source for the Kotzebue - has declined by over 27% over the past decade and the shorefront road required a $44 million repair.

The presenters detailed efforts in all three cities to reduce emissions through increased reliance on renewable energy, building efficiency, and waste reduction. Kotzebue is installing wind turbines to replace diesel generators while both Oakland and Copenhagen are implementing ambitious mitigation programs on building efficiency, transit use, and waste reduction.


"Investment is about the future. It's about what we expect to happen and what we want to happen," NRDC President Rhea Suh wrote today on Medium. "Fossil fuels have become a reckless gamble we can't afford. It's a bet on the very wrong horse." Rhea also was quoted about the international solar alliance India announced earlier this week in CelebCafe, "This is an Alliance that brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise" Grist and Mother Jones carried Jake Schmidt's comments that developing countries are pushing for a climate agreement that ramp's up finance for green energy: "I don't think anyone is envisioning there will be a new [specific] number, but rather asking that $100 billion is a floor to the finance that will be mobilized over time," he said.

Schmidt also told Carbon Brief that it could be one of the "crunch issues" that countries are still discussing on the final night in Paris. In a New Orleans Public Radio story Peter Miller said that burning wood is seen as less dirty than coal or oil, but cutting down whole trees and using them as an energy source is much worse than using coal, "because you lose the ability of those trees and those forests to continue to sequester carbon. As well - wood is not a particularly efficient energy source." And David Doniger told the New York Daily News, in a story about the carbon footprint of delegates flying to Paris: "If they do their job, they will put in place the policies that reduce carbon emissions by billions of tons. That'll be worth the jet fuel."