Friday, 11 December 2015

Comics Uniting Nations launches climate change comic for children at COP21

As world leaders continue to convene at COP21 to reach an agreement on climate, Comics Uniting Nations launches a comic to help children and young people understand the effects of climate change.

The comic, Chakra – climate change, features one of India’s leading superheroes, “Chakra The Invincible,” who was created by Stan Lee and Sharad Devarajan, and addresses climate change through the adventures of “Chakra The Invincible” and his best friend, “Mighty Girl”.

Chakra – climate change is the third comic to be released in the three part series created by Comics Uniting Nations, a collaboration between Graphic India, PCI Media Impact, Reading With Pictures, and UNICEF. The series gives people around the world the chance to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to help take action in achieving them.

The comic’s story follows a Model United Nations group discussing the effects of climate change on children and their countries. They decide to call on their superhero friends Chakra the Invincible and Mighty Girl, who try to fix the surface of the problem — using typhoon rains from the Philippines to put out a forest fire in Indonesia. But they soon realize that climate change is too complex to address action by action, even with superpowers. Instead, each community has to learn how to work together, and do its part.

In addition to Chakra – climate change, the series includes Heroes for Change, an introduction to the SDGs and Chakra – gender equality, a story created by Graphic India. Heroes for Change was released in September, when the United Nations officially adopted the new goals. It was distributed globally in 16 different languages as part of The World’s Largest Lesson and has already recorded over 120,000 downloads; its popularity led to official endorsement by the United Nations, including an announcement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the New York Comic Con in October, which attracted over 167,000 comic fans.

In a pre-recorded video complete with animated graphics and sound effects, the Secretary General said: “As a kid, I loved comic books. Now, I see how they inspire people. The United Nations and superheroes are both focused on saving humanity from war, injustice, baby aliens and blobs.”
As Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder & CEO of Graphic India notes, “Our mission at Graphic India is to create new globalized superheroes that connect with audiences from Boston to Beijing to Bangalore, so we are thrilled and honoured to be working with UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations to bring ‘Chakra The Invincible’, India’s leading superhero, to readers around the world. By creating great comics for kids, we can plant powerful seeds of change that will have a lifelong impact and foster a new generation of global leaders, thinkers and doers to tackle the world’s most pressing issues like climate change and gender inequality.”

Olav Kjorven, Director of Public Partnerships at UNICEF said: “Comics can address challenging topics in unique and entertaining ways. By articulating the principles and values of the global goals through stories, imagery and even some famous characters, we can get people to think about these critical issues and what they mean to their lives, their family and their communities.”

Entertaining narrative is the perfect vehicle for complex lessons like these: we look for role models in the media messages around us, and narrative storytelling has been proven to resonate particularly well. As the organization’s CEO Sean Southey said: “Good content drives good conversation. Good conversation inspires behaviour change and shifts social norms. These comics are compelling stories, and they use characters that people can relate to and connect with. This will help the initiative reach target populations effectively, and provoke the discussions needed to create sustainable change.”
However, neither great conversation, nor high-quality content can be effective in a vacuum. Comics Uniting Nations is dependent on the talent and generosity of its advocates and supporters, from the pro bono contributions of industry icons like Graphic India, Sharad Devarajan, Jeevan J. Kang and Stan Lee to language localization by Translation by Design and the unwavering commitment of the initiative’s founding partners. This ever-expanding network has allowed the comics to be made available online, in an ever-increasing number of languages, for free.

As Josh Elder, founder of Reading With Pictures, put it: “Comics combine words and pictures to create a universal language that can speak to everyone. Thanks to the generous contributions of time and talent by comic creators and publishers from around the world – including Dark Horse Comics, IDW, Well Told Story, Bob Layton, Michael Uslan and Margreet de Heer – we have been able to use that universal language to spread the SDGs to every corner of the globe. ”

This week, one of the founders of Comics Uniting Nations — Natabara Rollosson — has been actively supporting COP21 working for the UN’s Climate Secretariat. As he notes from Paris: “This comic is a simple, elegant communication tool to break through the complex messaging we usually associate with climate change communication. There should be more people delivering complex information in stories like this. For us, this is just the beginning. There are many important SDG stories to tell, so stay tuned.”

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

21 Years of COP By Winnie Khaemba

‘You have been negotiating all my life’ lamented a Youth NGO’s Constituency  (YOUNGO) representative while making an intervention at a UNFCCC COP 17 session in Durban, South Africa in 2011. Four years on, the world is rife with anticipation that the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris will at long last deliver on a global climate deal applicable to all, which is fair, ambitious, and legally binding. Whatever this will translate to in real terms - and how a cocktail with all these ingredients can be made - remains to be seen.

What is clear now is that Paris appears to be set on a deal, binding or non-binding, which will succeed the Kyoto Protocol. Countries have been in a rush to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) a reflection of national action to combat climate change. But what exactly is at stake in Paris? Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  (IPCC) have warned that if urgent action is not taken, the world will set itself on a dangerous path with climate change impacts projected to increase in both frequency and intensity. Action by countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions has been long coming, but there is worry that an aggregation of already submitted INDCs representing 147 parties falls above the 2 degree threshold that scientists and countries agree is the limit within which global warming should be maintained.

Tracking the 21 years of COP

Tackling the global climate change challenge begun with the adoption of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 after IPCC scientists had warned of global warming caused by increasing green house gas emissions in the late 1980’s. The UNFCCC came into force in 1994 and in 1995, the first conference of parties was held in Berlin.  It is however not until 1997, in Kyoto Japan that parties agreed to the Kyoto Protocol setting out clear targets and obligations for Annex 1 countries to cut emissions by 5% in reference to 1990 levels by 2012. One hundred and ninety two (192) countries are party to the Kyoto Protocol but it is worth noting that the US, the biggest historical emitter is not party to the Protocol. Subsequent COPs focused on getting the protocol into force, this happened in 2005. Emissions have continued to rise since even though some 20countries with obligations met their commitments mainly because some of the world’s major polluters (US, China and India) were not party thus had no binding commitments for emission cuts.
In Montreal, Canada during COP 11 countries agreed to Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) setting the stage for a shared vision on climate change. The Nairobi Work Program on Adaptation resulted from COP 12 held in Nairobi in 2006 putting adaptation issues to the limelight of negotiations. However, it is not until COP 13 in Bali that a clear mechanism for moving forward seemed to emerge in the form of the Bali Action Plan which established the Long-term Cooperative Action Ad Hoc Working Group to look at adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology and a common vision for cooperative action.

At the same time negotiations under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol continued both aiming to conclude their work and reach an agreement at COP in Copenhagen.  This did not happen, instead COP 15 produced the Copenhagen Accord, negotiated and agreed on by only a few parties, which the COP merely took note of. Interestingly it is this Accord that later crystallized into the Cancun Agreements in 2010. Whereas the Copenhagen summit stands, for many, as a reminder of the complexity and fragility of multilateral negotiations and how things could go wrong, it served as a turning point highlighting the core importance of transparency, inclusion, consultation and building trust in order to come to a consensus.

The Copenhagen Accord came with ‘faststart’ finance where developed countries pledged 30billion USD to address climate change in 2 years (2010-2012). The extent to which this has been achieved is debatable with the EU reporting that it had surpassed its target. However, it is unclear how much of the EU’s 7.34billion ‘fast-start’ finance was new and additional since the figures were inclusive of funds channeled through existing bilateral and multilateral means including as Official Development Assistance (ODA). It was widely understood that ‘fast-start finance would be new and additional but this understanding was obviously not shared by all parties. Besides ‘fast-start’ finance raised the issue of sustainability with parties noting that funding would be unpredictable and unclear if a long-term finance mechanism was not established.

The Cancun Agreements contained what had been achieved through the two negotiating tracks, AWG-KP and AWG-LCA, agreeing on a long- term vision of 2degrees[1] warming relative to pre-industrial levels. This COP also decided on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification as well as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation. Other outcomes included the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the Adaptation Committee, which further raised the profile of adaptation. A Technology Mechanism (with the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network) was established to facilitate technology transfer through information sharing, technical assistance and promoting collaboration. Technology transfer remains a challenge with inadequate financing for climate technologies for developing countries as well as barriers to accessing IPR. Additionally, COP 16 set in place the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to provide resources to help the most vulnerable cope with climate change. The GCF is now operational with 20 accredited entities and at a recent board meeting in Zambia, it approved funding for an initial set of eight (8) projects.

COP 17 in Durban resulted in the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action and the creation of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the same (ADP) required to work on a new agreement with legal force ‘applicable to all’. A 2nd Commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol was agreed upon, but it wasn’t until COP 18 in Doha that this was finalized with a time period set for 2020 to avoid a gap, effectively winding up the AWG-KP. The Doha Climate Gateway also wound up the AWG-LCA.
COP 19 in Warsaw resulted in the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and damage and the REDD+ framework. This COP effectively set in motion the INDCs process in which countries would make mitigation pledges. In 2014, the Lima Call for Climate Action resulted from COP 20. It agreed on some elements to form the basis of the COP 21 agreement as well as a process for INDC submission and their review. A decision was also reached to set in motion the operationalization of the Warsaw Framework on loss and damage. It is expected that at COP 21 and at future negotiations the Loss and damage framework will be strengthened to address the needs of states and communities at risk especially the small island states and least developed countries by addressing issues of reparations, insurance and territorial loss among other outstanding issues. COP 20 also agreed on the Lima Work program on gender aspects of which are set to be contained in the final Paris outcome.

What has been achieved over the 21 years of COP?

In these years of negotiations, awareness levels on climate change have significantly increased but so have climate induced extremes. Countries have sent in their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) a key outcome of the Cancun meeting in 2010 which have helped countries put in place measures to address the challenge yet these have done little to halt the effects of climate change in these countries. Political and economic will to address climate change by the developed countries has been slow but steadily growing in the past decade mostly as a result of increased scientific evidence, public pressure to act on climate change and increased climate extremes such as floods, drought, typhoons and hurricanes among others. In these many years of negotiations, adaptation support to developing countries has been emphasized. However, in most developing countries funding for adaptation remains limited with little national resources allocated to climate change activities and financial flows from the developed countries waning as the financial downturn took its toll.

Despite the constraints, some countries such as Rwanda have gone ahead to set up their own national climate funds and some such as Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable countries, have set in place local adaptation plans to tackle climate change.
In terms of engagement at the negotiations, there has been a marked increase in civil society participation, indigenous communities, youth and women participation and inclusion in government delegations as well as in climate change response activities. Issues of gender and inter and intra-generational equity as well as inclusivity feature more in outcome decisions and countries own initiatives. More needs to be done especially in emphasizing the contribution of these groups in fashioning climate change solutions. Capacity building has also yielded results with increased negotiator capacity and understanding of the issue and the attendant domestication of the UNFCCC process at national and regional level.
In consideration of this, it is difficult to assess what has been achieved in 20 years of negotiations on climate change in the context of the UNFCCC objective in Article 2 but a Post-2020 framework may provide a definitive answer to this. After all Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are a process and climate change futures are uncertain thus time and advanced scientific and technological knowledge may have helped create the urgency with which the world now has to act. Buoyed by increased participation and goodwill from the public as well as global leaders including the Pope, Paris may indeed be the defining moment the world has been waiting for, a crowning of the over 20 years of international climate change policymaking and cooperation to combat climate change.

Paris-espoir: what prospects?

The climate negotiations have come full cycle it seems, what has changed is that most countries are now willing to do something about climate change as exemplified by the submission of mitigation pledges in the form of INDCs ahead of COP 21.
It is little wonder therefore that the Paris meeting has been put on a pedestal – as some sort of panacea - to finally solve a problem that won’t simply go away.
For the Paris negotiations, a number of issues stand out with numerous expectations for different stakeholders in a climate deal ‘applicable to all’. These include financing with the expectation that developed countries will commit to stable funding (additional to Overseas Development Assistance) to boost adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries. It is also expected that there will be progress on technology transfer discussions opening the way for fair terms and concessions on transfer of technologies for mitigation and adaptation between not only the global north and the global south but also south-to-south collaboration. Deeper greenhouse gas emission cuts are still needed from historical and emerging polluters to keep the planet under the two (2) degree limit as are further adaptation measures and capacity building to ensure the survival for communities that are already affected.  
A number of questions come to mind, including what will a deal ‘applicable to all look like? What compliance mechanisms will be put in place to overcome past challenges? Will countries agree to deeper emission cuts? What will be the place of adaptation in a post-2020 agreement? What will be the outcome on financing and technology for both adaptation and mitigation? What role will the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities play? And ultimately, what sort of deal will the Paris meeting agree to? Will it be legally binding? Ultimately, these questions place great hopes in the Paris talks but it remains to be seen if these hopes will come to pass….  
[1] Developing countries maintain that the vision should be 1.5 degrees, noting that 2 degrees means devastating impacts for most vulnerable communities

New Secretariat Announced for Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance

Arnold Schwarzenegger

A new secretariat for the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance was announced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, founder of the R20 Regions of Climate Action, at an event marking “Cities Day” at the UN Climate Conference in Paris.

As of January 2016, the Alliance will be managed by a coalition of organizations including R20, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund for Cities Development -- Fonds mondial pour le développement des villes (FMDV).

The Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance (CCFLA) is a coalition of over 40 public and private banks, national and city governments, and international and civil society organizations launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the Climate Summit he convened in September 2014. The aim of the Alliance is to accelerate investment in low-emission, climate-resilient infrastructure in cities, and to close the investment gap in urban areas over the next fifteen years.

The UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team has been supporting the Alliance on an interim basis.  The new secretariat was elected by the members of the Alliance, based on a proposal developed by the coalition named.

“We are very happy to be hosting the CCFLA within our coalition. This is exactly the initiative that is needed to help subnational governments finance their transition to the green economy,” said Mr. Schwarzenegger in making the announcement.

The Alliance recently issued its first report, The State of City Climate Finance, which identifies policies and measures to mobilize investment in climate-smart infrastructure for cities. It was launched by the UN Secretary-General and other Alliance members, plus the Mayors of Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Ulan Bator, at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders at Paris City Hall on 4 December.  Alliance members are working on a plan to help translate the report recommendations into action.

Regional investor meetings organized by CCFLA in Johannesburg and Bangkok during 23-27 November contributed suggestions on practical steps forward to boost investment in climate action in cities.

A major new prize aimed to discover the best new buildings from around the globe is being unveiled  by the RIBA, and proudly partnered with Wallpaper. The 2016 RIBA International Prize will honour a building which exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition, and delivers meaningful social impact.

On the prestigious judging panel, chaired by Richard Rogers, is Nigerian-born Kunle Adeyemi, an inspiring young architect, whose firm NLÉ is based in Amsterdam.
Adeyemi's work and outlook epitomise the new award's ambitions. 'Social impact is an important aspect of architecture today,' he says, 'because it addresses some of the critical issues of our time: urbanisation and globalisation.

NLÉ's ground-breaking Makoko Floating School floats on the lagoon in the Nigerian city Lagos, where Adeyemi studied architecture. He is now looking to expand that project with recreational and commercial infrastructures 'to enhance and improve the living conditions on the waterfront.
Other urban and architecture projects in Africa include the Chicoco Radio Media Centre, an amphibious building in the Nigerian Delta city of Port Harcourt. 'As well as a radio station, there will be an amphitheatre, which will act as a public space to be used for cinema or a market,' he says, 'a structure that brings people together.

Adeyemi's previous experience at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture will also stand him in good stead as a judge. He led a number of significant OMA projects, including China's Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower.

The RIBA International Prize jury is on the hunt for projects that stretch the boundaries of architecture, regardless of style, complexity or size. 'For me, size is not about direct physical scale, it's about the quality and impact of the work and the thought that's been put into it,' says Adeyemi. 'It's important to rethink the criteria for excellence in these critical times.

The 2016 RIBA International Prize opens for entries today, while more the names of the remaining jury panel members will be unveiled in January 2016.


Finally -- great news from the global climate talks in Paris! A coalition of more than 100 rich and poor countries from across the planet, which was secretly formed six months ago, announced itself and said it was going to drive through an ambitious legal climate agreement!

But unless China, South Africa, Brazil and India come onboard, the deal we need for 100% clean won't happen.

We have just 48 hours to let them know that people everywhere want them to join this high ambition push. With enough pressure, Brazil, China and South Africa could be moved to join the champions, and India could stop blocking, if they all know they will be blamed for killing this deal.

This is how we win Paris! Sign the urgent call and tell everyone -- for every 10,000 people that sign, an SMS will be sent to the delegations of these four countries saying that the whole world wants them to speak out for a deal which moves the planet to 100% clean energy:

This coalition, started by the Marshall Islands, represents over half the countries in the world, including 79 countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as big emitters from the EU, and the United States. They are pushing for 100% clean energy, finance for the poorest countries to make the transition, and a stringent set of rules to hold all countries to account and increase their commitments over time.

To date every attempt to get a global climate deal has been stymied by a split between the major polluter nations and countries who feel they are least responsible for the crisis. But this new alliance has brought them together and, while rightly putting the main responsibility on polluters to fund the energy shift, the proposal ensures the whole world moves to decarbonise our economies.

If we can help this powerful new group push the other influential nations to join, this is our best chance for a strong 100% clean deal with teeth.

India wants to keep burning coal, but China is already leading the world in renewables. And Brazil has set a very ambitious national goal to transition to clean energy -- so there is no reason they can’t sign up to a deal that allows the whole world to go with them. They say we can’t set targets that don’t deal with the interests of the poor, but Angola is inside this coalition, representing the 48 most vulnerable countries.

If we all join right now and get everyone we know to sign, we could create a chorus of pings across the negotiations straight from us to those who can make or break this deal. We haven’t before raised the stakes to SMS, but this precious deal for a safe and clean future is on a knife edge. Join now:
Our community has been working for eight years to get this climate agreement. Together we have created the two biggest climate marches in history, and the largest petition ever for 100% clean energy has rung out through the Paris conference halls. As the clock ticks down in the final tense hours of talks -- let's make sure all of us that marched, sent messages, signed petitions, or tweeted, are brought right into the conference plenary.

With hope and determination,

Civil society urges ministers to up their game in final push for strong climate deal

A new streamlined draft agreement for a comprehensive climate deal has been released in Paris today, with the French presidency urging for the finalisation of the deal by tomorrow. Members of the Climate Action Network (CAN) have called on countries to choose the strongest possible options in the final hours of the Paris Climate Summit in order to better protect vulnerable communities and speed up the transition to renewable energy.

CAN experts Michael Brune (Executive Director, Sierra Club), Kaisa Kosonen (Climate Policy Advisor, Greenpeace), Celine Charveriat (Advocacy and Campaigns Director, Oxfam International), and Sven Harmeling (Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International) spoke to media briefly in Le Bourget following the release of the new text.

Different members of CAN have continued to react to the released draft text. The following below members have this to say:

Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Advisor, Christian Aid
"The next 24 hours are critical. This is where the real negotiations will begin. We really need countries to fight to keep in the high ambition options on climate finance, the long term decarbonisation goal and a ratchet mechanism to ensure the agreement evolves to meet the needs of a changing world."
Joe Ware,, +44 7870 944485

May Boeve, Executive Director, 
"We're asking for a clear signal out of Paris, but some parties are still muddying the waters with weak text. If countries are serious about keeping warming below 1.5°C, we need to see a firm commitment get off fossil fuels and move to 100% renewable energy by 2050, and an ambition mechanism to help us get there. Politicians need to start living up to the title of 'leader' in the next 48 hours."
Jamie Henn,,  +33 6 27 91 89 25

Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
"The updated climate text today marks a key moment for the Paris agreement.  Political leaders will make final choices in the coming hours about how we take global action to fight the climate crisis. Sierra Club urges ambitious and just action to leave a safer home for our children and protect the world's most vulnerable nations."
Maggie Kao, Communications Director, +1 (919) 360-0308, 

Kaisa Kosonen, Climate Policy Advisor, Greenpeace
“Some of the words in this text are smeared with the fingerprints of the oil-producing states. It’s a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly, but we’ve got three days to force the worst stuff out and get a decent deal. It’s crunch-time now, it’s going be hard, but there’s a lot still to fight for. It’s good that a temperature goal of 1.5 degrees C is still there. It’s bad that countries’ emissions targets are so weak and there’s very little in the text that makes them come back soon with something better. But worst is the deadline for phasing out carbon emissions. Right now this draft deal contains wishy-washy language instead of setting a tight deadline of 2050. Without a date it won’t have weight.”
Tina Loeffelbein, +49 151 16720915

Alden Meyer, Director of Policy and Strategy, Union of Concerned Scientists
“It’s encouraging to see a cleaner text that contains fewer brackets as a result of agreements being reached on issues like technology development and transfer and capacity building. However, the agreements on the core political issues—the long-term goal, review and revision of INDCs, transparency, loss and damage, and finance—have yet to be resolved. We’re now at the critical point of the negotiations. Over the next day or two, ministers need to rise above their differences to create a final agreement that rapidly transitions the world to a clean energy economy and allows us to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

Ashley Siefert, +1 (952) 239-0199.

Sven Harmeling, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International 
“All the elements for a meaningful deal are on the table, but now the fight begins on trade-offs. It’s encouraging to see ‘loss and damage’ recognised in the draft text, but its place is not yet secured. The means to deliver solutions for climate impacts are also falling short from what is needed. This is a question of survival for the world's poorest and most vulnerable people and communities." 
Viivi Erkkila: +44 (0)7 7924 54130 , Email: verkkila

Adriano Campolina, Chief Executive, ActionAid International
“The draft agreement continues to leave developing nations hanging.  There are just two days to reach a deal that is fair and just for the world’s poorest.  With what’s currently on the table, rich nations are still holding the purse strings, unwilling to commit to their fair share of action to save the people and their planet.”
Grace Cahill in Paris +44 7734 131 626 or

Helen Szoke, Executive Director, 
“There is still a long way to go: this is crunch time. The chance to set new funding targets from when the Paris deal comes into force in 2020 is still very much on the table and needs to stay there if developing countries are to have any hope of more support in the years ahead. Adaptation hangs on a thread but there is recognition of the need for grants and innovative sourcing to help meet climate funding needs. Despite women being most affected by climate change, any reference to gender equality has been dropped.”
Simon Hernandez-Arthur: +33 (0)7 68 16 64 25   

Duncan Marsh, Director of International Climate Policy, The Nature Conservancy
“On Wednesday evening in Paris, negotiators have succeeded in boiling down remaining issues to those that can only be decided by their political leaders. Of course, these are the ones that have divided countries for years, so resolving them will still not be easy. It is essential that compromise be found that establishes a strong but flexible system of strong transparency and accountability for all countries, and affirms the important role that lands, oceans and other ecosystems can play in minimizing and protecting against climate risks.”
Kirsten Ullman, Senior Media Relations Manager, +1 703 928 4995l,

Alex Doukas, Senior Campaigner, Oil Change International
"Big fossil fuel interests have infiltrated the new text in a number of ways. For example, by weakening text that would have ensured that scarce international public money goes to solving the problem, and not fueling it. Countries will have to push back to make sure that big polluters don’t leave their dirty fingerprints all over this deal. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the end of the fossil fuel era is inevitable. World leaders have a chance to catch up to a growing movement here in Paris, but they will have to spend the next two days working on behalf of people, not polluters."
Alex Doukas,, +1-202-817-0357

Paul Cook, Advocacy Director, Tearfund 
“A climate deal which works for the poorest people on the planet is still within reach, but in the next few hours countries need to do a lot of work to back the right options. Parties need to back 1.5 degrees, 5 year ratchets to strengthen planned emissions cuts and significantly scaling up from $100 billion of climate finance for developing nations to make this a good deal for the world’s most vulnerable.”
Madeleine Gordon in Paris, +447837114133, 

SG's High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport to advance transport solutions to climate change

The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, meeting on the margins of the Paris Climate Conference, pledged to highlight the critical role that sustainable transport will play in addressing climate change.

Transport is currently responsible for nearly a quarter of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. “The Advisory Group can help make sustainable transport a part of the solution to the climate crisis.”

The members of the Group asserted that through innovation—in operations and policy as well as in technology—the transport sector can lower emissions while ensuring access to markets, services and social interaction for people in all parts of the world.

The Advisory Group, which includes leaders from the public and private sectors, and which represents all modes of transport, met on 7 December with Secretary-General Ban, and subsequently with government representatives and other stakeholders to advance the implementation of climate-related solutions. The Group pledged its support to a successful outcome in Paris.

“The problem of climate change is severe, and we need a large-scale shift in transport—in large cities, in rural areas, all around the world,” said Mayor Carolina Toha of Santiago, Chile, co-chair of the Advisory Group. “By strengthening the links between the modes of transport, and keeping people’s need for access at the centre of our thinking, we will make real progress.”

Mr. Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group and co-chair of the Advisory Group, emphasized that transport of freight and passengers has the potential to drive progress on climate change and to advance sustainable development. “Transport can build prosperity in the broadest sense, enhancing the quality of life for all while protecting the environment and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Lundstedt. “We need bold innovation and a true partnership among governments, civil society and the private sector. This Group embodies this partnership and we are committed to concrete, actionable change.”

The Advisory Group was established for a period of three years and is expected to provide policy recommendations on sustainable transport actionable at the global, national, local and sector levels, and to promote the integration of sustainable transport in development strategies and policies, including in climate action.

Hundreds take part in protest performance at Louvre Museum over oil sponsorship

As the UN Climate Summit winds down, Artists and Activists call on Louvre to drop oil company sponsors Eni and Total.
Today at 12pm, hundreds of artists and climate activists staged an unsanctioned protest performance at the Louvre museum in Paris, urging the museum to cancel its sponsorship deals with the oil companies Total and Eni. [1] Outside, in front of the museum’s iconic pyramid, they spelled out the words “Fossil Free Culture” in black umbrellas painted with giant white letters. [2] Despite the city’s ban on protests, artists and activists from around the world called for “a culture beyond fossil fuels, both at the COP and in our cultural institutions,” in solidarity with Indigenous and other communities’ struggles at the front lines of climate change and oil drilling.

Simultaneously a smaller group of art-activists spilled an oil-like substance in the atrium of the museum--clad in black clothes and holding black umbrellas, the artists walked barefoot in the “oil spill”, leaving footprints on the marble floor as a symbol of fossil fuel corporations’ influence on museums. 10 participants in the unauthorized indoor performance were arrested by French police. They have been informed they may be held for 24 hours.

Beka Economopoulos from New York-based art-activism collective Not An Alternative, one of the organisers of the intervention, said:
“It used to be acceptable for tobacco companies to sponsor cultural institutions. That’s no longer the case. We believe it’s a matter of time before the same is true of fossil fuel companies. When oil companies sponsor the Louvre, the Louvre likewise sponsors those companies--the museum gives these companies cultural capital and their 'social license to operate’. On the occasion of the UN Climate Summit in Paris, we’re urging the Louvre to stop sponsoring climate chaos.”

Mel Evans, artist and author of “ArtWash: Big Oil and the Arts” was one of those arrested during the inside intervention. From jail she says:
“We made a beautiful performance to challenge Total’s sponsorship of the Louvre and now the police are protecting the interests of the oil companies. With the climate talks in Paris, it’s time for galleries to go fossil free”. 

This action marks the first international collaboration between a number of artist-activist groups working to liberate museums and cultural institutions around the world from ties to fossil fuel companies. This new and rapidly growing movement for a #FossilFreeCulture extends the divestment movement into the cultural sphere, calling on cultural institutions to cancel fossil fuel sponsorship contracts, divest financial holdings in the industry, and kick oil executives and climate deniers off their boards. Campaigners argue that fossil fuel companies sponsor museums and galleries in order to cleanse their tarnished brands and gain a “social license” to operate, to keep drilling and mining.
At the protest performance a red line was drawn in front of the umbrellas to call urgent attention to the struggle of frontline Indigenous communities against climate injustice. The Rights of Indigenous People’s and Human Rights are currently on the chopping block of the Paris Climate Accord.

Daniel T’Seleie, from the Dene First Nation, Canada, said:
"In the Arctic, we are seeing severe impacts from global climate change, simultaneously we are defending our traditional homelands and culture from aggressive assaults on sacred and important subsistence use areas, such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. How are we to survive if the fossil fuel industry, companies such as ENI and Total continue to impede our rights? They are committing climate genocide on us, there is no way that we can allow corporations continue to generate a social license to operate by sponsoring our cultural institutions such as the Louvre.”

The Italian oil giant, Eni, has been widely criticised by environmentalists over its plans to drill in the Arctic [4] and Total was challenged just last year over its decision to purchase a shipment of Arctic oil, shortly after it had publicly declared it had no interest in Arctic oil extraction [5]. Total also has projects in the Canadian tar sands, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels [6].
Ragnhild Freng Dale from Stopp Oljesponsing Av Norsk Kulturliv (Norway) said:
“We know that the COP is not on route to give us the deal we need to stay within a safe limit of global warming. Oil companies like Total and Eni have business plans to keep drilling for more fossil fuels in ever riskier places, when the climate science is clear it needs to stay in the ground to protect current and future generations from runaway climate change. We need to separate our cultural institutions and the climate negotiations from oil companies’ influence.”

Participating groups included Art Not Oil (UK), BP or not BP? (UK), G.U.L.F. (US), Liberate Tate (UK), Not An Alternative (US), Occupy Museums (US), Platform London (UK), Science Unstained (UK), Shell Out Sounds (UK), UK Tar Sands Network (UKTSN), Stopp Oljesponssing av Norsk Kulturliv (Norway), The Natural History Museum (US) alongside other artists, activists and campaign groups from around the world.