03 Dec 2015

Negotiations for a green future: COP21 Paris

By Guest

Open Utility is an innovative energy startup and BGV alumni based in London with a goal to democratise and decarbonise the UK energy industry. With talks kicking off in Paris this week, green energy is playing a pivotal role in climate change pledges at COP21. In this post, Hayley Hannan from Open Utility fills you in on more about the international event – what has happened so far, what’s coming up, and what’s happening in the UK. 

You can find the original post on the Open Utility blog.

What is COP21?

On Monday, the governments of more than 190 nations gathered in Paris to discuss a possible new global agreement on climate change.

COP21 Climate Change Summit in Paris runs until December 11. The current agreements on greenhouse gas emissions run out in 2020, so this year governments are expected to come to an agreement for the decade following 2020, and potentially beyond.

What’s happening this week

While countries submitted their action plans, otherwise known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) ahead of the talks, the public announcements of carbon-reduction pledges are coming thick and fast.

The year 2050 is a target for many to be emission-free. Last week, the leaders of more than 50 Labour-run councils made pledges to run entirely on green energy by 2050, eradicating carbon emissions in their area. Council leaders in Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, Nottingham, Glasgow and many others have promised to eradicate carbon emissions in their area. In London, 100% London’s campaign is pushing for the capital to follow in the footsteps of Copenhagen, Sydney and New York City by going “zero-carbon” by 2050.

Last week, the Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced the government was proposing to shut the remaining coal-fired power stations by 2050, with their use restricted by 2023. At the moment, 30% of the country’s electricity comes from unabated coal.

The We Mean Business coalition is calling for a clear, ambitious deal in Paris next week. The coalition brings together 278 companies, with US $6 trillion in revenue and 144 investors with US $20 trillion in assets under management. On Tuesday, the coalition released The Business Brief, a document aiming to articulate business needs to governments negotiating the climate pact.

Last weekend

Last weekend, large marches in London, Scotland and Wales were planned. Around 70,000 people turned out in London alone.

You can find out more about the march in Scotland and Wales on Saturday, or the London march on Sunday, on the Campaign Against Climate Change website, or on their Facebook page.

What you can do

Although an annual event, this year’s COP21 is attracting a huge amount of attention. Individuals and companies alike are calling for change – to protect the future of the planet, and generations to come.

At Open Utility, we believe in a world powered by renewable energy. We believe in abundant, clean and local energy. We see nature as an energy source – renewable energy generation sites are a way to harness the wind, sun and rain to power offices, companies, homes and devices in ways that don’t endanger the environment.

You don’t need to wait for your country to make the decision for you – you can take grassroots action. Take a look at the the community energy group sites who are part of Piclo, our renewable energy marketplace – Whalley Community HydroSustainable Hockerton Wind Turbine, Alvington Court Wind, Gorran Turbines, and Westmill Solar. These are communities who have banded together to take energy into their own hands, and are using renewable energy as a solution for a low-carbon, green future.

Image credit: Lawrence Murray (CC BY 2.0)