Winners announced! 8 winners 3 runners-up
We are thrilled to announce our COP21 competition winners and runners-up. My colleague, Colin Brown, and I had an enjoyable but challenging time marking the entries. We were delighted to see the amount of research that the undergraduates had undertaken, especially as the competition was set in the first week of term, and they only had one week in which to complete their response. Given that the majority of our cohort is being introduced to the relationship of management theory, practices and the natural environment for the first time, we were delighted to read such informed answers. However, having such an enthusiastic group made our lives harder to identify the winners. After much deliberation, the winners were chosen based upon the ideas conveyed, research undertaken (literature and internet sources), recognising conflicts/challenges and having a sense of history surrounding the event.
Our winners from right to left: In the front row we have Celia Iordache, Alexia Petricu, Xiaoyu Chen, Victoria Wood. In the back row we have Veronika Wiesner, Jan-Oliver Distler and Ferdinand Weiler. Our final winner Miriam Luft (see below) made an escape before I could capture her on camera! But I managed to track her down to share a picture with us.
All eight students agreed that COP21 was important in addressing climate change, however, through recognising the historical context and failure of previous agreements to take hold, they highlighted some of the complexities and tensions that could lie ahead. Examples included power inequalities between nation states, knock-on effects at a domestic law level, financing greener technology; dual roles governments play protecting their citizens and global citizens, and challenges of creating consensus (see below to read the students entries).
Before I finish the latest update, I must make reference to our three outstanding runners-up – Maoyuan Yang, Isabella Trapani, and Christopher Brunner. They too recognised issues of equity, failure of previous climate change agreements, the roles of business and had an overall sense of the main objectives of the COP21 conference. I want to congratulate and commend their effort and, in fact all those who took part in the competition. The research will not be wasted as the insights gathered are relevant to the rest of the course and their coursework.
The next update will be written by the students, where they will share their views on why they took part in our competition and what they hope to gain from this experience. Plus we will announce the preliminary itinerary!
Victoria Wood – International Office
“HOW SIGNIFICANT MIGHT COP21 BE IN AMELIORATING CLIMATE CHANGE?”
In the last three decades climate change has transitioned from something of mere speculation to a scientifically proven fact now resting at the forefront of many minds globally. It is a global problem requiring a global response. It requires individuals, nations and industries to work together to make lifestyle changes on an international level. However, change is not always popular and usually occurs slowly over a period of time. With temperatures set to rise between 2.5°C and 7°C this century (IPCC 2014), earth and humanity cannot afford to change slowly, therefore, decisions made at COP21 become crucial.
For COP21 to be significant there must be a unanimous (UN 2015) consensus on a universal, legally binding agreement. This would be the first of its kind, enabling climate change to be fought effectively at a global level and enhancing the transition to a low-carbon sustainable world (UN 2015).
The biggest barrier against COP21 being significant is the very thing it seeks to produce, a universal, legally binding agreement. This will require all COP members to consent to an agreement which will legally bind them in terms of their responsibilities and provide consequences for inaction. This emphasizes issues of equality between the members requiring thought into economies and industry for example (Morgan and Waskow, 2014, p. 20; Kennedy and Basu, 2014, p. 185). If successful, it also underlines the need for domestic law to be changed. Which in turn is surrounded by issues of politics and the need for governments to make changes today for benefits which may only occur to future generations (Gollier and Tirole 2015, p.19), which is never seen as positive. The fact they seek to create a legally binding document also suggests there is a body with the power to regulate and enforce it. When considering international law and the UN in this manner some argue this power is limited (Ulfstein 2014, p. 12; Gollier and Tirole 2015, p. 41)
Although there are a number of barriers, COP21 provides a platform for success. They have acknowledged the challenge they face and have implemented mechanisms in order to have the best chance at success. For example, the decision in 2013 at Warsaw for all member States to provide contributions to change before COP21 commences and creating funding schemes, such as the Green Climate Fund. Running alongside COP21 is also the Sustainable Innovation Forum, which brings together world leaders, industry leaders and individuals to discuss and share ideas that could propel forward low-carbon energy sources and sustainable development. This is arguably what will allow any legally binding agreement formed at COP21 to succeed, as ultimately it is industry which will provide the biggest change towards low-carbon energy sources and a sustainable world.
At the very heart of the climate change battle is the lifestyle change required. Humanity as a whole need to change a number of things, for instance the way energy is created and used (Gollier and Tirole 2015, p.15). For this to occur and for COP21 to be significant it requires the consumer centralised and selfish society of today to think not only of the short-term costs to themselves but to the long-term benefits of the earth and future generations. Every decision made in the two decade lead up to COP21 and in the platform provided at COP21 enable the change to occur now, whether COP21 is significant or not is in the hands of the governments and industry leaders attending and their subsequent actions.
Word Count – 546
- Climate Action (2015) Sustainable Innovation Forum. [Online]. Available from: http://www.cop21paris.org/. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- Gollier C and Tirole J (2015) Negotiating Effective Institutions Against Climate Change. The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. Discussion Paper. p. 15-72.
- Grubb M (2014) Climate policy: a new era. Climate Policy. 14 (3). p. 325-326.
- IPCC, (2014), Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Edenhofer, O., R. Pichs Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J.C. Minx (eds.), Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.
- Kennedy M and Basu B (2014) An analysis of the climate change architecture. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 34. p. 185-193.
- Morgan J and Waskow D (2014) A new look at climate equity in the UNFCCC. Climate Polic 14 (1). p. 17-22
- Ulfstein G (2014) International Courts and Judges: Independence, Interaction and Legitimacy. PluriCourts Research Paper. 14 (13).
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) Paris 2015 COP21.CMP11. [Online]. Available from: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) The Lima-Paris Action Agenda: Vision and Approach. [Online]. Available from file:///C:/Users/Vic/Downloads/lpaa_3_pager_an-07-2015_def%20(1).pdf. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDS’s). [Online]. Available from file:///C:/Users/Vic/Downloads/press_factsheet_indc%20(1).pdf. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) The Agenda for Solutions or the Lima-Paris Action Plan. [Online]. Available from file:///C:/Users/Vic/Downloads/fiche_presse_agenda_de_solutions_ang%20(1).pdf. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) Green Climate Fund and Climate Finance. [Online]. Available from: file:///C:/Users/Vic/Downloads/0902-150327_fiche_presse_finances%20(1).pdf. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2015) Adaption and Loss and Damage. [Online]. Available from: file:///C:/Users/Vic/Downloads/0902-150327_fiche_presse_adaptation%20(1).pdf. [Accessed 8th October 2015].
Jan-Oliver Distler – BBA European Management
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
Directly before becoming president of the United States Barack Obama (2008) declared that “few challenges facing the world are more urgent than combating Climate Change”. Archer and Rahmstorf (2010) even guarantee “wholehearted” approval of that statement by climate scientists twenty years ago. Contrary to this “we have to save the planet”-appeal, I prefer the approach J. Stead & W. Stead (2009) are taking when they clarify that it is not the planet we need to save, it is the “human-friendly habitat” of this planet. On this account, the international community comes together, in the framework of the UNFCCC, to discuss and implement laws ameliorating Climate Change. This essay will evaluate how significant the next conference in this format in Paris actually can be and if we can hope for the “miracle” like Francois Hollande (2015).
Looking at the COP21 conference through impartial, rational eyes, it seems that actions needing to be taken would be easy and straight forward. Since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, there has been no legally binding agreement amongst the countries of this world to tackle Climate Change. (Pinkse and Kolk 2009) Consequently a new agreement is desperately overdue. It is common sense both for environmental scientists and politicians that specific targets to limit global warming and stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations at certain levels are needed, from which specific national laws including limits of CO2 emission can be derived, to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. (UNFCCC 1992, as cited in Archer and Rahmstorf, 2010) Rather than Climate Change being a rational issue, it is emotional and highly political. Two of many main challenges and limitations of COP21 are evaluated below.
The first of these challenges is the target competition between international climate interests and inner political pressure. Undoubtedly, the devastating impact of our current lifestyle (Archer and Rahmstorf 2010), can only be countered by national laws that restrict the lifestyle of citizens and the activity of businesses. (Sumi et al. 2010) This challenge could not be illustrated better than by looking at a statement Marc Rubio (2015), one of the current republican presidential candidates, recently gave referring to climate policies: “…I am not in favour of any policies that make America a harder place for people to live, or to work, or to raise their families.” This exemplifies how complicated it is to adopt legally binding international agreements, since every Head of state and their delegation faces oppositional powers both within their executive and their society.
Furthermore, the climate conference in Paris faces a much more general issue of conflicting interests. Not only governmental voices will be heard on COP21, but it is highly influenced by the national economies and their players. Both this business sector and our economic system itself only operate when we have economic growth; economic growth (claims to) guarantee(s) wealth. Opposing this, Jackson (2009) suggests that “prosperity without growth is the only way to effectively influence economic activity on the road to environmental sustainability.” In a world formation where businesses depend on growth and profit, they will make sure that their interests are heard, even and especially in Paris.
If the attendees of COP21 manage to master the challenges reflected above, this climate conference could be the start of the governments undertaking lasting action against Climate Change. It might even be one of the last chances to do so. In December we will get the answer to Ian McEwan´s (2005) question: “Is this the beginning, or the beginning of the end?”
Word count: 544 words
Obama, B. 2008, A new chaper on climate change. [Online]. 18 November, Washington D.C. [Accessed 12 October 2015]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvG2XptIEJk#t=15
Archer, D. and Rahmstorf, S. (2010), The Climate Crisis, Cambridge University Press: New York.
Stead, W.E. and Stead, J.G. (2009), Management for a small planet, 3rd edition, Sheffield: Greenleaf.
Hollande, F. 2015. [Online]. 20 May, Business and Climate Summit, Paris. [Accessed 12 October 2015]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXeEBnKCqPw
Pinske, J. and Kolk, A. (2009), International Business and Global Climate Change, Routledge: Abingdon and New York.
Sumi, A., Fukushi K. and Hiramatsu, A. (2010), Adaption and Mitigation Strategies for Climate Change, Springer: Tokyo, Berlin, Heidelberg and New York.
Rubio, M. 2015, Second Republican Debate, [Online]. 16 September, California. [Accessed 13 October 2015]. Available from: http://time.com/4037239/second-republican-debate-transcript-cnn/
Jackson, T. (2009), Prosperity without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet. Earthscan: London.
McEwan, I. 2005. Let’s talk about Climate Change. Open democracy. [Online]. [Accessed on 14 October 2015]. Available from: https://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-climate_change_debate/article_2439.jsp
Miriam Luft – BBA European Management
‘The Significance of COP21 Paris in the ameliorating climate change’
In 2015 the 21st annual Conference of Parties (COP21) will take place in Paris from the 5th – 9th December. Subsequent to last year’s conference in Lima this year’s goal is to achieve a universal and legally binding agreement regarding our climate infecting behaviour with the objective to keep global warming constantly below 2 degree Celsius and therefore to continue the “Lima Call for Climate Action” (official website of COP21, 2015), which is according to the official website of COP21 Paris a cornerstone for a new climate deal.
The importance to get all nations to work together is obvious as such big goals can only be achieved by mutual agreement. Moreover, the G7/G8 meetings agreed upon a financial support within the range of COP21, to quote an example from my home country Germany has decided to double the budget funds so it will be able to spend 10 billion Euro (according to Germany’s secretary of environment, Barbara Hendricks, 2015) to help financing the necessary changes that will follow the COP21 meeting – and there’s no question that especially the industrialised countries will have to change their consumption of oil gas and coal. However, the goal of protecting our environment must be approached together with the goal of peace and security, otherwise will anxiety for one’s own country distract oneself from gaining sustainable development. So according to The Earth Charter (2000) the economic, environmental, political and social challenges are interconnected and therefore need to be faced with the same diligence.
In earlier days it was a question to explore understand and control nature, now it is our duty to manage adjust and preserve our environment. For this purpose all members of conferences such as COP21 need to face a number of challenges like adjusting existing and setting new laws concerning climate change, cutting exploitation of natural resources, keeping the balance between wealth and poverty, and prosecute unsustainable business practices, just to name a few. Moreover it is important to remind people that not only technological progress will result in an improvement of human welfare but that the most sustainable human welfare will be provided by our environment and hence it is our duty to keep this fragile ecological equilibrium in balance.( Ahmad et all, Springer 2012)
The human influence on the Earth’s delicate environment became and becomes an ever-growing problem as the human population itself is an ever-growing mass due to fast paced medical and technical progress, therefore it is important to manage our relationship with those “geophysical cycles that drive the Earth’s climate system” (Steffen at all, 2011, p 842). Events like COP21 become a key role in our society to ensure the management of this fragile relationship and are necessary to consider all particular issues that need to be analysed separately but pulled together build the force to keep our Earth turning.
Word count: 482
Ahmad et all, Strategic thinking on sustainability: challenges and sectoral roles; published in Springer, 2012, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 67-83
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety / Hendricks, B. 2015, Results of the G7, available on: http://www.bmub.bund.de/themen/europa-international/int-umweltpolitik/g7g8-und-g20/deutsche-g7-praesidentschaft/erklaerung-g7-gipfel/
Steffen et all, The Antropocene: Conceptual and historical perspectives; published by the Royal Society, 2011, pp 842-847
The Earth Charter Commission, The Earth Charter, 2000
United Nations, COP21, 2015, available on:
Ferdinand Weiler – BBA European Management
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ‘There is no Plan B [for climate action as there is] no Planet B’ (UN News Centre, 2014). Therefore, in light of the significance of a sustainable natural environment all eyes will be turned towards Paris, when Governments come together as part of the UNFCCC1, for the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties, otherwise known and hereinafter referenced to as ‘COP21’. The summit’s main objective is to reach a universal agreement in order to stop the deleterious effects of climate change by limiting global warming to 2°C compared to the pre-industrial era. As stated by Laurent Fabius2 the success of COP21 will be based upon the materialization of four pillars: a universal agreement with real legal power, incorporated contributions of all countries, a financial and technological aspect and commitments of non-governmental stakeholders such as businesses, major cities, regions, etc. (2015). This essay aims to assess the significance of COP21 in ameliorating climate change with respect to the aforementioned four pillars and, hence, will be subdivided in four parts.
2.1. Universal Legal Agreement
In advance to COP21 a draft agreement was produced by the ADP3, which will build the basis of discussion in Paris. Reference to Edenhofer et al. (2013, p.2ff) indicates that the resolution will take on a hybrid form, rather a combination of top-down and bottom-up elements. Whereas the Kyto-Protocol was based on a set of legally binding national targets and resulted in a failure to extend its efforts beyond 2012, the new convention reflects a profoundly changed tone in climate negotiations. Moreover, Arndt and Tarp (2015, p1ff) as well as Ujvari (2015, p1) draw attention to the fact that the changed modus operandi better accounts for the aspect of equity4 between LDCs5 and developed countries. Thus, even though the agreement is not – in the narrow sense of the word legally binding, as defined by Laurent Fabius, a more universal approach is might extend the likelihood of a successful understanding.
Footnotes: 1 The United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change, 2 France’ Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, 3 Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, 4 For further equity based analysis see also Aldy et al. (2003), 5 Least Developed Countries.
2.2. Incorporated Contributions of All Countries
Article 3 of the above mentioned draft agreement provides for each countries contributions towards the mitigation targets6 and sets forth ways of communicating the same7 (Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform of Advanced Action, 2015, p. 2). All parties were asked to disclose their Intended Nationally Determined Contribution8 submissions to the UNFCC ahead of COP21. As of 14th October 2015, 22 submissions have occurred, covering approximately 86% of global emissions in 2010, however, an assessment of these mitigation contributions reveals an insufficiency to meet the globally agreed-term goal of limiting warming below 2°C (Climate Action Tracker, 2015; Boyd et al., 2015, p.10ff). Even tough, Fabius claims that ‘[insufficient commitments made prior to COP21] would not make COP21 useless […] but rather [make it] a starting point’, his quote appears to be contradictory with respect to the precedent statement by Ban Ki-Moon. Furthermore, the methodology as described in 2.1. is brought into question, as it is based – similar to the ultimatum game experiment in psychology – on the inherent expectation of a fair distribution. Therefore, it remains questionable whether pillar 1 & 2 might collapse in itself.
2.3. Financial and Technological Aspects
Articles 6 & 7 of the draft agreement cover financial as well as technological aspects. While an in depth analysis would be beyond the scope of this essay, in general the expectations by various authors towards the aspects concerned are fulfilled (See Green, 2014; Stern, 2015; SDSN Leadership Council, 2015). The draft covers different sources of financing as well as enhanced cooperation and support of green technologies. Hence, the third pillar appears to be solid.
Footnotes: 6 Paragraphs 1 & 3, 7 Paragraphs 2 & 4, 8 Hereinafter referred to as INDC
2.4. Commitments of Non-Governmental Stakeholders
While there are no apparent commitments of non-governmental stakeholders incorporated within the agreement, the summit’s participation numbers are expected to surpass its predecessors’ (Neff, 2013, p.158). Furthermore, research by Schroeder and Lovell states that ’60-75% of side events have related directly to items under negotiation’ (2013, p. 23ff.). Thus, non-governmental stakeholders form an integral part of the conference. Moreover, combined with expected record high participation Paris will most likely deliver high involvement of as well as commitments of non-governmental stakeholders.
Paris is plan A. And plan A is based upon 4 pillars: A universal legal agreement, incorporated contributions of all countries, technological and financial aspects and commitments of non-governmental stakeholders. If an agreement is build on the fundament on those pillars, it posses high potential to ameliorate climate change. Whereas the essay assessed the first two as rather fragile the sum of the four might lead to a successful resolution in the end. In other words, the strong publicity through visitors, companies, etc. as well as financial and technological support for LDCs might push countries to raise their original IDC during negotiations. The eyes turned on Paris will be the force to stabilize the pillars. Hence, Rick Patel, organizer of last years’ climate march in New York, might be right after all: ‘the street is where we close the gap’.
Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform of Advanced Action (2015) ‘ADP.2015.8.InformalNote – Draft Agreement (5.10.2015)’. Available at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php (Accessed: 12.10.2015).
Aldy, J.E., Ashton, J., Baron, R., Bodansky, D., Charnovitz, S., Diringer, E., Heller, T.C., Pershing, J., Shukla, P.R., Tubiana, L., Tudela, F. & Wang, (2003) ‘Beyond Kyoto: Advancing the international effort against climate’, Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Available at: http://www.c2es.org/docUploads/Beyond%20Kyoto.pdf (Accessed: 11.10.2015).
Arndt, C. & Tarp, F. (2015) ‘Climate change impacts and adaptions: lessons learned from the greater Zambeze River Valley and beyond’ (17.04.2015), Climate Change 2015, Springerlink.
Boyd, R., Green, F. & Stern, N. (2015) ’The Road to Paris and beyond’, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (July 2015). Available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wp content/uploads/2015/08/Theroad- to-Paris-and-beyond.pdf (Accessed: 13.10.2015).
Climate Action Tracker (2015) ‚Assessment of mitigation contributions to the Paris Agreement’. Available at: http://climateactiontracker.org/indcs.html (Accessed: 14.10.2015).
Edenhofer, O., Flachsland, C., Stavins, R. & Stowe, R. (2013) ’Identifying Options for a New International Climate Regime Arising from the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action’ (October 2013), The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change. Available at: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/berlinworkshop_digital4_2013.pdf (Accessed: 11.10.2015)
Gale, J. (2015) ‘IEAGHG Information Paper: 2015-IP14 Rating Country Commitments to COP21’ (16.07.2015). Available at: http://ieaghg.org/docs/General_Docs/Publications/Information_Papers/20 15-IP15.pdf (Accessed: 11.10.2015)
Green, F. (2014) ’This time is different: The prospects for an effective climate change agreement in Paris 2015, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (October 2014). Available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wpcontent/uploads/2014/10/This-Time-is-Different.pdf (Accessed: 11.10.2015).
Fabius, L. (2015) ’The Paris Climate Alliance’ (01.06.2015). Available at: http://www.climate2020.org.uk/the paris-climate-alliance/(Accessed:13.10.2015).
Lovell, H. & Schroeder, H. (2012) ’The role of non-nation-state actors and side events in the international climate negotiations, Climate Policy, 12:1, p.23-37.
Neff, T. (2013) ’How many will attend Paris? UNFCCC COP participation patterns 1995-2015’, Environmental Science & Policy, 31, p.157-159.
SDSN Leadership Council (2015) ’Key Elements for Success on Climate Change Mitigation at COP21 in Paris’ (09.03.2015), Sustainable Development Solutions Network – A Global initiative for the United Nations. Available at: http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Key-Elements-for-Success-at-COP21.pdf (Accessed: 13.10.2015)
Stern, N. (2015) ’Understanding climate finance for the Paris summit in December 2015 in the context of nuancing for sustainable development for the Addis Ababa conference in July 2015’, Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (March 2015). Available at: http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/wpcontent/uploads/2015/03/Stern-policy-paper-March-2015.pdf (Accessed:11.10.2015)
Ujvari, B. (2015) ’COP21 en route to Paris: the state of play’, Issue Alert: European Union Institute for Security Studies, 34 (July 2015). Available at: http://www.iss.europa.eu/uploads/media/Alert_34_COP21.pdf (Accessed: 12.10.2015)
UN News Centre (2014) ’FEATURE: no ‘Plan B’ for climate action as there is no ‘Planet B, says UN chief’ (21.09.2014). Available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48766#.Vh18J9YXld0 (Accessed: 14.10.2015)
Xiaoyu Chen – BA Management and Organisation
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
In this essay, I would present an analysis on how much COP21 (United Nation Climate Change Conference Paris) could positively affect Global Warming. Since the topic is broad in nature, this essay would put main focus on three arguments, which are the roles of governments and corporations; a financial agreement on COP21; as well as social impact of COP21. Also, this essay includes evaluations of some potential obstacles on COP21.
Not just climate experts, corporations and governments are also the main performers on COP21. Those two groups who are major contributors to the problem are consequently being parts of the solution. Several warm-up conferences already brought leaders of private businesses and governments together by October (Mayuga 2015). Their positive performances directly influence their prestige, potential profits and future developments. Meanwhile, due to the upcoming deadline of Kyoto protocol by 2020 and the ‘failure’ of Copenhagen agreement indicated by most green groups (Harvey 2015), COP21 is looking forward to a new legally binding international treaty. This new agreement is expected to cover more developing and developed nations than before, and clarify specific permitted emission levels. Some big emitters like EU, the US and China already made their commitments publicly. Moreover, since those promises within governments are not enough to solve the problem, the ‘non-state actors’ like private businesses and local governments are considered by the COP21 committee in long-term solutions.
A financial agreement is another key topic on COP21. This international climate conference is meanwhile a political debate especially between the poorer countries and the richer ones. In order to reduce the consumption of coal and fossil fuels as sources of energy, most developing countries claim for financial aid on supporting renewable energy industries. COP21 is an open stage where the developing countries can demonstrate their potentials and requirements to the richer funders. However, the finance issue can always cause a debate or dilemma situation between such large interest groups. On 2009 Copenhagen conference, a 30 billion dollar deal was finally made at very last-minute, and an annually 100 billion dollar financial flow by 2020 was promised by rich countries (Harvey, 2015). This year, the claim of a similar provision value became controversial, as there is a disagreement on allocating this bill between rich countries and international development banks. But the situation under external pressure is unpredictable, it is still possible that both sides can make concessions and reach a consensus.
Finally, the social impact of COP21 is a landmark of environmental diplomatic gathering in history. Even beyond previous conferences, COP21 highlighted that ‘reducing global temperature’ is no longer just a meaningless slogan, it has also became an indispensable part of people’s lifestyles. In addition, this is a breakthrough of the UN climate change conference history, the first time that 195 nations and powerful social entities discuss and revise solutions together. Regardless of the result, this remarkable social effect would be recorded and continuously influences future generations.
To recapitulate, the positive impact of COP21 on ameliorating global warming is considerably. Even there are some potential disagreements like the allocation of financial aid, it is still highly possible to reach an effective agreement. Finally, while ameliorating climate change was still identified as ‘long on idea but short on solution’, COP21 will be a new stage of the progress which illustrates the advanced knowledges and forward-looking perceptions of humankind.
Word count: 554
Harvey, F., 2015. Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks. The guardian. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-climate-summit-and-un-talks [accessed Tuesday 2 June 2015]
Mayuga L. J., 2015. COP21: Road to Climate Justice? Business Mirror. [online] Available at: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/cop21-road-to-climate-justice/ [accessed 11th October 2015]
Veronika Wiesner – BBA European Management
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
Recent studies by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that more than a half of the presumed global “carbon budget” (Harvey, 2013) has been already exhausted. Moreover, global warming is expected to rise by more than 2 degree Celsius within the next two to three decades (Harvey, 2013). From November 30th to December 11th, the “21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11)” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy of France, 2015) takes place in Paris. The aim is a “new global agreement on climate change” (Harvey, 2015) “that would include the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, namely the United States, China and India” (Low, Chagué, 2015). In light of this important meeting, this essay will address the significance of COP21 in ameliorating Climate Change globally and the role of companies.
COP21 “could […] be the last chance for nations to cut a deal to avoid [the, as dangerous considered, climatic turning point of] 2 degrees Celsius […] of warming” (Light, 2014).
The positive outcome of this meeting might be supported by a new procedure in the agreement process. In comparison to earlier climate conferences, the nations’ delegates are not in charge of imposing limitations to countries this time, but instead the countries’ governments “are asked to present to the UNFCCC their CO2 reduction proposal” (Perrone, 2015). The awareness of the climate change in the 190 participating nations could be raised, which would result in a global governmental accordance and action. Thus, much less involved countries, such as India as emerging nation, would be more actively incorporated (Rokic, 2015; Perrone, 2015).
However, apart from governments there might be other actors who are in charge of a climatic change. Therefore, the question arises as to whether firms would likewise be willing to sacrifice and engage for climate change. Although most of the companies have already set corporate sustainability goals in the past, these targets were not legally binding. Past surveys have revealed that CEOs are mostly motivated to adapt a sustainable business model for consumer marketing purposes (Helper, Grady, 2015). Nevertheless, “the last 12 months has seen a dramatic increase in CEOs believing it’s important to measure and reduce their environmental footprint, up from 43% to 75% [in the US]” (PwC, 2014). Within the scope of COP21, key players from different industries are pledging to commitments to climate action (We Mean Business, 2015). “[C]onsumer goods conglomerate such as Nestle, Mars and Unilever […] have agreed to either cut deforestation out of supply chains, put a price on carbon or transition to 100 percent renewable energy” (Helper, Grady, 2015).
Finally, COP21 benefits from an ongoing rise in awareness of sustainability and of the threat of drastic, irreversible climate changes among countries, companies and investors. Above all, a third party might be necessary to monitor the governments’ and companies’ actions in order to enhance the impact of COP21 on climate change.
Harvey, F. (2013) ‘IPCC: 30 years to climate calamity if we carry on blowing the carbon budget’, The Guardian [Online]. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/27/ipcc-world-dangerous-climate-change (Accessed: 14/10/2015).
Harvey, F. (2015) ‘Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks’, The Guardian [Online]. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-climate-summit-and-un-talks (Accessed: 14/10/2015).
Helper, L., Grady, B. (2015) ‘How much do companies really care about COP21?’, GreenBiz [Online]. Available at:
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 United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC, 2015)
Alexia Petricu – BBA European Management
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
Starting from the very first Conference of Parties held in Berlin in 1995, the aim of this international conference has always been evaluating how these Parties had put in action the UN Framework on Climate Change set out in 1992 in the Rio Convention. That was the first real demonstration of an international political interest around this topic (http://www.cop21paris.org).
The following conventions, ever since, have had few but considerable achievements; Kyoto Protocol, the Montreal Action, the Green Climate Fund, they all resulted from different COP. However, the consensus to these international initiatives is not yet enough. If we really want to fight the Environmental change, we need to do it at a global level.
For the first time next COP will seek to legally bind 196 Parties to reduce their gas emissions in order to keep the global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Thus, first of all the agreement will be legal, binding and universal, and second of all the contracting parties will be 196 compared to the 39 in Kyoto’s and 90 in Copenhagen’s.
Furthermore, as reported on the Financial Times (2015, http://www.ft.com), for the first time in 2014 the Global Economy increased without increasing CO2 emissions. As the IEA Chief Economist Faith Birol stated, this is encouraging (as cited in http://www.ft.com).
Effectively, in October 2014 EU’s leaders agreed upon reducing gas emission by at least 40% by the 2030. Consequently, China and USA in 2014 started to follow Europe’s footsteps and they declared their objectives for 2020. As China’s Premier H.E. Wen Jiabao expressed at the Fifth China EU Business Summit (2009, as cited in http://www.unep.org), China has reached important achievements in regards to renewable energy and photovoltaics. Since USA and China cover half of the global emissions, their contribution is essential to both ameliorate Climate Change and persuade smaller countries to commit to a Green Economy.
As Copenaghen summit showed, the more industrialised countries are certainly harder to persuade. However, on the other hand, the many environmental calamities, like the hurricanes, which have taken place for the last 5 years, led many countries changed their mind and start fighting against Environmental Changes (http://www.repubblica.it).
Thus, since a general will to have an impact on the Climate Change has been slowly demonstrated, there are good prospects of reaching a global agreement. Although it will be certainly difficult to get the consensus of all the countries, the COP21 will certainly show all the Parties the right path to follow in order to ameliorate the Climate Change.
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Celia Iordache – BBA European Management
“How significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?”
‘In 2015 COP21 will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C’ (Climate Action, 2015). This year’s Conference of Parties could not have a better presentation card. Determined to bring serious ideas to the table, COP21 could be a turning point in the fight against climate change.
After the failure that was COP15 ‘Towards a comprehensive climate agreement’, held in Copenhagen in 2009, a summit like Paris COP21 was much-needed. Copenhagen left the world in disbelief after the attendant speakers failed to design specific and binding solutions against climate change, resulting in delegates simply agreeing to ‘take note of’ the discussed measures (Werksman, 2009).
COP21, however, presents itself as the reunion that will lead the way towards making a difference. This year’s goal seems to have been developed after some serious reflection, probably as a result of reconsidering the state of affairs. The ‘keeping global warming below 2°C’ objective seems to have been perfectly tailored, even responding to the SMART criteria of objective definition (Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, 2013). According to these criteria, objectives need to be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic and time-bound in order to be effective, and the aim set by COP21 easily responds to most of these.
For the first time, a specific and realistic figure has been set, one that can and will be measured with time. COP21 could have asked for a simple amelioration of emission levels or even for a 3°C – 4°C reduction of global temperature as some demanded, but either of those alternatives would have probably failed for lacking specificity or being over-ambitious. In other words, just the setting of a specific and realistic figure shows full recognition of the need to urgently address the matter. Similarly, the fact that COP21 has managed to attract nearly 50,000 participants between government delegates, UN agencies, NGOs and public and private organisations reflects the realisation of the need to include members from every political and economic sphere (Climate Action, 2015). Neither governments nor organisations alone can achieve effective results in the fight against global warming by themselves, and allocating each of them a specific role and responsibility in it could very well help to achieve faster and more realistic solutions. The only aspect COP21’s aim lacks is the definition of a time frame which, if successfully defined during the duration of the summit, would prove to be of an invaluable drive to the solutions attained during the length of it.
COP21 has attracted the largest number of participants in the history of climate summits, succeeding to count among those representatives from both public and private organisations. One could say this data is based on the realisation that the fight against climate change cannot be won single-handedly. We need our governments to implement regulations and policies at a national scale, but we also need organisations to implement changes of their own given the major role they play in the contribution to climate change. With it all, COP21 seems to have the necessary ingredients to succeed: the right goal, the right participants and the will to achieve an effective solution.
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Climate Action. “Find out More about COP21.” UNFCCC COP 21 Paris France. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. .
Universidad Pontificia De Comillas. La Investigación Psicosocial: El Sesgo Del Investigador. Lecture notes. 2013. Madrid, Spain.
Werksman, Jacob. “”Taking Note” of the Copenhagen Accord: What It Means.” Web log post. World Resources Institute. N.p., 20 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://www.wri.org/blog/2009/12/taking-note-copenhagen-accord-what-it-means>.
We are really thrilled to announce our crowdfunding initiative – calling for support to get our students to COP21. In just 3 days we have raised enough sponsorship for 1 out of the 8 to go. We are hopeful that with help through networks, friends and family we can get the financial support for the other 7. Over the next 40 days we aim to raise funds to meet the project target of £5730 and we are delighted that the University has agreed to match fund every donation up to £1750.
Maggie works as part of our Alumni and Development Office and supports the Alumni network and career development of Lancaster University Management School alumni. Her work is incredibly important in maintaining the relationships between the alumni and friends of the University. As part of our project – ‘Lancaster students act on climate change’, Maggie plays a pivotal role as she has been teaching us about ways in which funds can be generated, searching for potential donors, sharing our aims with the wider Lancaster University community and coming up with some fun rewards for sponsors to claim. Prizes range from a postcard sent from Paris to dinner with the students and the team – we would love to have a lot of postcards to write and host a dinner or two to say thank to our supporters (see our crowdfunding page – http://spsr.me/1OI6VaS).
Laura Slater, is our second crowdfunding advisor, she like Maggie works for the Alumni Office but at a University level. She patiently showed us how to get started, reviewed our page and ironed out our technical glitches. Laura is on a mission to share our project details with as many University friends and Alumni as possible, it would be fabulous to see the sponsorship increase.
Remember, there are two ways you can help our campaign:
- Sponsor us and claim your reward ( ‘Check out Lancaster students act on Climate Change http://spsr.me/1OI6VaS via @hubbubnet‘) and/or
- Help spread the word by sharing our crowdfunding link with your networks.
Our next blog will introduce you to our COP21 students – when the competition winners will be announced!
Our COP21 competition has now reached the student selection phase. We have been overwhelmed by the commitment and enthusiasm we have received from our cohort. Below, is a photograph of our undergraduates holding up their 500 word response documents (addressing the question ‘how significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?’). The group only has to wait one more week until we can announce the successful candidates.
We thought it would be worth spending a few moments explaining how the COP21 opportunity arose and the impact it could have on this group. In the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology (DOWT) in the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), we believe we offer a unique multidisciplinary course that introduces students to the relationship between management theory, practice and the natural environment. There is a sharp focus throughout the module of the implications this has for policy making. Our course entitled ‘Management and the Natural Environment: Ethics and Sustainability 1‘, draws upon ideas from the natural sciences, science and technology studies and management theory. This module has evolved over the past seven years and our cohort has steadily grown. Our aim is to encourage student engagement and we are always on the look out for ways in which we can bring theory to life. To date we have received excellent student feedback where one student wrote, “it’s probably been the most impactful module I’ve studied so far”. We believe that students who are passionate about sustainability are key to addressing future challenges, particularly as these individuals are potentially our future industry leaders.
When Gail Whiteman, The Rubin Chair in Sustainability in Business and part-time Professor in residence for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), joined Lancaster she gained agreement from the WBCSD to allow 8 students to attend their meetings, as part of the UN COP21 Climate Change Conference. We seized the opportunity with both hands as not only is this a life changing experience for our students, due to the prestige of the event, we can give these undergraduates first-hand exposure to see how ideas are put into action. As well as the real world experience and networking potential, we have been able to create links with their coursework. The selected students will study and present the WBCSD Vision 2050 policy document as part of their assessment. Furthermore, they will be keeping a reflective diary of their time in Paris.
As can be seen from the photographs, above and below, our cohort are delighted at the prospect. So please watch this space to find out whom the 8 winners are!