Creative Solutions to Climate Change

Creative Solutions to Climate Change

Address by Ambassador of France to Ireland Stéphane Crouzat

President Robinson,
Deputy Naughton,
Excellencies,
dear partners and friends,

Two years ago, yesterday, on 4 November 2016, the Paris agreement was ratified. It was a momentous achievement. Never before in the history of multilateral diplomacy had a universal agreement entered into force so quickly, just 11 months after its adoption on 12th december 2015. For those present in the room that day at the end of CoP21 - and I am proud to have been one of them -, there was an amazing sense of relief, of excitment and even elation.

The Paris Agreement is an historical agreement. It sets in stone an ambitious collective goal: keeping temperature rise to well below 2°C as well as increasing the ability to adapt to climate change and make financial flows compatible with these objectives. It is a dynamic agreement which organizes the gradual increase of countries’ commitments. It is a fair and inclusive agreement which helps to support developing countries to implement their commitments.

So here we are today, not just to celebrate this achievement, but to reflect on how we can deliver on this achievement.

On this front, urgency is the key-word.

We all saw the IPCC report last month :
It says that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. And to achieve this goal, global net human caused emissions of carbon dioxide would need would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030,
and reach ‘net zero’ around 2050.

We all saw the WWF report :
It raises the alarm of the depletion of the earth and of the ocean. It shows how forests, an essential carbon sink, are being cut down at an alarming rate : the equivalent of the surface of France and Germany put together since 2000.

In this context, the upcoming conference of the Parties, CoP24 in Katovice, is crucial.

There, we must adopt a set of rules and decisions that will enable us to swiftly and effectively implement the Paris agreement.

There, we must accelerate action through new national policies, in order to enhance our National Determined Contributions and have long-term strategies by 2020.

France is fully committed to do its share :

At the national level :

Our Climate Plan includes :
-  emission neutrality by the middle of the century,
-  the end of the sale of fossil fuel powered cars by 2040
-  the prohibition of any new hydrocarbon mining licences on French territory.
-  a carbon tax for petrol at the pump which inceases every year and will reach 86€ a ton by 2022 and well over 100€ by 2030.

Through financial incentives, the French governement is encouraging the replacement of older polluting cars for cleaner newer ones. It is investing 14bn€ in the energy renovation of buildings. It is investing 9bn€ to develop solar power on fields and rooftops and plans to have about 20.000 MW of extra solar capacity within 5 years.

We need it, because we are behind on our goals. France has committed to a target of 23% of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2020. We currently stand at 17%. So we must redouble our efforts.

France wants to spearhead research on climate change : President Macron’s Initiative Make Our Planet Great Again has attracted hundreds of reseachers to France from all over the world.

At the international level :

France, with its European partners and all developed countries, is determined to reach the shared goal of $100 billion per year in climate finance for developing countries. That is why France is increasing its international climate finance: by 2020 we will provide 5bn euros per year for climate.

President Macron co-organized, with the UN Secretary General and the President of the World Bank, the ‘One Planet Summit’ in December last year in Paris, and its follow-up meeting last September at the UN. These events aimed at mobilizing all actors, cities and regions, businesses and philanthropists, around the need to accelerate the redirection of finance flows towards a low-carbon economy. They were successful in launching a number of concrete initiatives. For instance six of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world committed to green investments. They are showing that finance can be used for the common good.

These initiatives show that climate change is not just a matter for governements : it is a matter for everyone. In this fight, every little counts. This is where we all enter into the fray.

Today, we’ll be talking not just about the big picture, the state of the planet, the state of the UN negotiations, the commitments made by the Parties to the Paris Agreement, the commitments of cities and big companies, we’ll also be talking about how each one of us can make a difference.

So to come up with ideas, we made a call for projects. We got many responses, and selected 27 of them. 27 projects that reflect the diversity of solutions to help tackle climate change. They can be discovered just outside in our marketplace. They concern energy, agriculture, housing, day-to-day life, finance. They involve young generations, they question the way our society works, they raise awareness.

And among those 27 projects, 5 will be presented on stage. You’ll discover
-  a campaign to promote waste prevention
-  an app to help reduce your carbon footprint when you go grocery shopping,
-  a research project to mobilise local citizens to create electricity from waves to replace a coal fired power station,
-  a war against plastic waged by the young generation,
-  even a music performance as a metaphor for the gigantic changes that result from the melting of the planet’s polar ice caps.

All this would not have been possible without my team at the Embassy and our Irish partners:
Trinity International Development Institute, its Director, Susan Murphy and its Coordinator, Linda Mubasi,
Trócaire, its Head of Policy and Advocacy Niamh Garvey;
the Institute for International and European Affairs, and especially Jill Donoghue, Director of Research and her colleagues Max, Hannah and Finola

So thank you all, and let’s contribute to making our planet great again !

Published on 05/11/2018

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