One Planet Summit live blog

Dec 7, 2017 · 12 min read

The One Planet Summit, on 12 December 2017, is set to accelerate the roll out of the Paris Agreement in the economy. The first in a series of international summits to be held up to 2020, the One Planet Summit opens a new conversation, which will then develop until 2020, on how to increase ambition in line with the Paris Agreement’s long-term goals.

This blog will be updated with news and announcements from the One Planet Summit and side events on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 December.

20.22 What have we taken from today?

The One Planet Summit is all over except for the group photo

The summit was both a celebration of the historic achievement of the Paris Agreement and an opportunity for the countries that are willing to go further and faster in transitioning their economies to demonstrate the actions they are taking.

Countries, businesses, investors and philanthropic organisations showed how the political ambition that delivered a political agreement in Paris in 2015, is now becoming an economic reality.

In addition to the positive news, there was also a clear warning, that without greater urgency and a deeper global commitment, we risk not meeting the high ambition that Paris represents. The message to the rest of the world was: follow our lead and follow quickly.

20.13 Pressure for shipping action

As Climate Home trailed yesterday, a group of countries have signed up to a declaration calling for international shipping to increase its climate ambition. It says the sector’s emissions should peak in the short-term and reach neutrality towards the second half of this century. The declaration is signed by 35 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the Marshall Islands — a key shipping country — and the UK.

19.50 Research and investment expansion

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which was founded by Bill Gates and connects transformative clean energy research to interested investors, is expanding its coalition to include prominent companies, funds, institutional investors, and banks. Its investor-led fund, which was set up in 2016 to build companies to tackle climate change, has also announced its initial focus areas, which include energy storage and liquid fuels.

18.30 Declaration of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition

Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany and Sweden are among 14 countries to have announced a Carbon Neutrality Coalition, pledging to develop “well ahead of 2020” long-term strategies to become emissions neutral by 2050. The declaration states that it is now clear taking climate action does not compromise sustainable development. They are joined in signing the declaration by 32 world cities from Austin to Yokohama.

17.46 More members join coal phase-out alliance

The Powering Past Coal Alliance — a group of countries, regions, cities and organisations committed to phasing out coal power — has announced new members today. The Alliance, which was launched at COP23 in Bonn, now has 58 members. New members include Sweden, Latvia, and California as well as several companies.

“It is encouraging to see such an enthusiastic response to the Powering Past Coal Alliance not even a month after its official launch. The writing is on the wall and it spells the end of coal-fired electricity as countries move to decarbonize their power sectors and protect citizens’ health. Many of today’s new members are from the private sector, driving home the distributed, collective leadership needed to ensure the success of the Paris Agreement. Ultimately the Alliance is only as good as the action it delivers, and the world is watching closely.” — Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada

16.35 OECD initiatives to help countries cut emissions

The OECD has announced two new initiatives today, aimed at helping countries meet their Paris commitments. The Paris Collaborative on Green Budgeting will support countries embed their climate targets within budgets and policies. A new Clean Energy Finance and Investment programme will help developing countries attract investment for clean technology.

15.43 Heads of state, secretaries general and a Terminator

More than 50 heads of state or government are reported to have been at the Summit lunch today. By our count, 23 of them are listed in the event programme as speakers, alongside government ministers, the secretaries general of the UN and OECD, various business leaders and several A-list actors.

15.10 Leaders to discuss rich and poor country rules

The EU, Canada and China will meet in June 2018 to discuss the differences in responsibilities for tackling climate change between rich and poor countries, Politico reports. The rules relating to enacting the Paris Agreement are currently an important subject of debate at international climate meetings.

14.25 World Bank to end oil and gas finance

The World Bank is to stop financing upstream oil and gas projects from 2019, it has announced today. The change is intended to help countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments, it said in a statement. It also said it will publish more data on the climate impact of its investments and will work with other groups to accelerate action.

“It has been a spectacularly bad day for the fossil fuels, with announcement after announcement signalling their time is nigh. The plan from the World Bank is particularly striking given it is comprehensive — it covers the whole world, not just richer countries. The move will clear the field for a similar scale of investment in renewables, as indicated by Canada’s move to partner with the World Bank on financing the coal-to-clean energy transition in developing countries.” — Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada

“This is a significant announcement from the World Bank Group that will enable the Bank’s lending to be better aligned with the Paris Agreement. The World Bank’s announcement sets down a critical marker, and civil society will be holding the Bank accountable for implementing this policy. We call on other MDBs to make similar commitments.” — Leo Martinez, Director, Finance Centre, World Resources Institute

14.04 Help for clean investment in Europe

The European Commission is to publish a plan to encourage green finance. The changes, to be published in March 2018, are expected to mean asset managers and investors will need to include sustainability in investment decisions; clarification of what can be considered “sustainable finance”; and relaxing capital requirements for banks investing in clean technologies.

13.55 ING to speed up coal pull-out

Dutch bank ING has announced it will accelerate its withdrawal from financing companies in the coal sector. It will not take on new clients that rely on coal for 10% or more of their business, and it plans, by 2025, to cease financing clients in the utilities sector that are over 5% reliant on coal-fired power. It’s worth noting that ING haven’t announced a threshold of coal use that would apply to existing investments or indicated companies they will now divest holdings from.

12.18 Industry groups still lobbying against climate measures

Only six of the 50 most influential industry groups support measures to limit greenhouse gases, according to a report published today by InfluenceMap. This means most of the world’s largest companies have a negative effect on climate policy through their trade association links. Among 25 of the largest corporations, Exxon, Shell, IBM, Total and Pfizer have the most negative impact, with only Apple having a positive effect.

The report compares the Federation of French Industry (MEDEF) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI), which oppose measures to limit emissions, with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has become more supportive of ambitious climate policy.

12.10 Top Norwegian pension fund launches $1.3bn clean bond

Storebrand, Norway’s largest private pension fund, has announced it is expanding its fossil-fuel-free funds with a new clean bond programme for $1.3 billion. Storebrand has no fossil-fuel investments and is an industry leader in the shift to clean energy.

11.30 UK adaptation funding and clean vehicle summit

Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, has announced the UK will host a global zero-emissions vehicle summit in autumn 2018. She will also set out how £140 million in new funding will help the world’s poorest communities adapt to the effects of climate change.

“It’s great to see Theresa May recognising that the UK will only prosper by building on the technology that will dominate the future and developing its low carbon industries. A key example of that is the growth of electric vehicles which is why the Prime Minister is right to host a global summit on zero emission vehicles next year. The UK is already a key hub for the manufacture of electric vehicles and it has the potential to be a true world leader in a technology that could reduce carbon emissions and cut fossil fuel use across the globe.” — Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid

“It is important for the UK show leadership on zero emissions vehicles. Air pollution from cars and trucks is costing the UK thousands of lives every single year. Increased investment in electric vehicles and active travel, like walking and cycling, can unlock enormous health benefits and save billions of public money.” Nick Watts, Director, UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

11.00 Growing support for climate-related financial disclosure

237 companies, with a market capitalisation of over $6.3 trillion, have committed to support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). This includes over 150 financial firms, responsible for assets of over $81.7 trillion. The Task Force, led by Michael Bloomberg and established by the Financial Stability Board, which is chaired by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, developed voluntary recommendations on climate-related information that companies should disclose to help investors, lenders, and others make sound financial decisions. Support for the TCFD has more than doubled since it published its recommendations in June.

“The rapid increase in support for TCFD in the few months since its recommendations were published illustrates how quickly stakeholders can mobilise to work towards the changes required by the Paris Agreement. The leadership of Michael Bloomberg and Mark Carney has been an important galvanising factor. Governments now need to join these efforts to promote comparable and forward-looking climate risk disclosure by all major emitting companies.” — Christoph Bals, Germanwatch

09.40 €9bn EU investment help for sustainability

The EU will facilitate €9 billion investment in Africa and the EU Neighbourhood region, on sustainable cities, sustainable energy and connectivity, and sustainable agriculture, rural entrepreneurs and agribusiness, as part of the EU External Investment Plan. It expects the investment to be delivered by 2020.

“The EU shows that it wants to be a reliable partner for African and EU Neighbourhood countries in the fight against climate change. Africa has huge untapped potential for renewable energy and these can be unlocked through EU support. At the same time, these regions are highly vulnerable to climate impacts and cooperation in this area needs to be increased over the next years.” — Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid

09.15 Major divestment announcement — AXA

AXA, the French insurance giant, is significantly increasing its move away from fossil fuels. It is ending insurance and investment in tar sands companies andthe pipelines that transport the fuel. It is also strengthening its divestment from coal, with a tighter threshold meaning it is now also selling off €2.4 billion of coal investments and is phasing out insurance of new coal construction projects.

At the same time it is quadrupling its investments in sustainable energy and buildings by 2020, to €12 billion.

“AXA has established itself as a climate leader in the insurance sector with a step change in its target for both green investments and fossil fuel divestments. Phasing out insurance coverage for Canada’s oil sands and new coal projects reinforces AXA’s move to invest in clean projects at a rate twice that recently recommended by Christiana Figueres.” — Catherine Abreu, Climate Action Network Canada

“AXA shows climate leadership as investor and insurer. Five times more renewable energy investments until 2020 than so far announced. Five times more divestment regarding coal and tar sands. And also no insurance for new coal and tar sands. We expect also German insurers like Allianz and Munich Re to show this climate leadership.” — Christoph Bals, Germanwatch

Environmental groups Friends of the Earth France and Urgewald have also welcomed AXA’s announcement. Heffa Schuecking, director of Urgewald, called it “a true climate leader”.

09.01 Launch of the Climate Action 100+ initiative

Global investors have launched a five-year bid to scale-up engagement with the world’s largest corporate greenhouse emitters to accelerate climate action, including on corporate governance, curbing emissions and strengthening climate-related financial disclosures.

The combined assets under management of founder signatories is greater than that which underwrote the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change in the months leading up to the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

“This initiative represents an important scaling up of commitment from investors since Paris. While the focus of investors two years ago was on government action, this initiative is notable for turning attention on the big corporates that rely on their support.” — Ingrid Holmes, E3G

09.00 One Planet Summit opens

Good morning! The One Planet Summit has started and we’ll be sharing announcements as they’re made.

Live feed of the summit

You can watch the summit here

Hewlett Foundation to donate $600 million to climate non-profits

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced it will donate $600 million over a five-year period from 2018–2023 to nonprofits working on climate change. The pledge is the single largest funding commitment made in the foundation’s history. The donations will support nonpartisan, non-profit organisations working on transitioning energy systems to renewable energy and will support organisations that conduct scientific research and policy analysis, offer policymakers technical expertise, advocate on behalf of communities and constituencies, promote private-public partnerships to achieve clean energy goals, and convene leaders through best-practice and expertise-sharing networks.

French businesses commit to clean energy

Two major French companies have signed up to The Climate Group’s corporate leadership campaigns designed to accelerate the transition to a zero-emissions economy. Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and doubling energy productivity by 2030. French utility EDF Group has committed to transitioning to electric vehicles by 2030.

Global businesses demand climate action

More than 50 global companies have signed a declaration calling for more ambitious climate action as the basis for future economic success. Signed by, among others, Allianz, Michelin, UC Rusal and Unilever, the alliance calls on the 20 most industrialised countries, representing 74% of global emissions, to come up with concrete long-term measures to accelerate decarbonisation. Business declaration

Finance still flowing to coal plants

Banks and institutional investors are still providing hundreds of billions of dollars to coal power plants, according to two reports launched this morning by Banktrack and others. Banks report / investors report

Shipping declaration expected

An international declaration to be launched at the Summit will call on the shipping industry to help meet the Paris climate targets, according to a document seen by Climate Home News. Several countries are expected to sign up to the declaration, which will add pressure for an ambitious deal at the IMO meeting in April.

One Planet Summit schedule

Four themed panel sessions will take place at the summit, with announcements expected throughout the day (times CET):

Panel 1 (09:00–10:30): Scaling up finance for climate action

Panel 2 (09:00–10.30): Greening finance for sustainable business

Panel 3 (10.30–12:00): Accelerating local and regional climate action

Panel 4 (12.00–13.30): Strengthening policies for ecological and inclusive transition

About 50 heads of states, as well as ministers, city and state leaders and VIP guests, including Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Jerry Brown, Leonardo DiCaprio and Arnold Schwarzenegger, will attend the summit.

Banks, zombies and climate change

BNP Paribas, UBS and HSBC are the European banks with the best response to climate change, according to a new report by ShareAction, a campaign group. The report described Lloyds and Unicredit as “bystanders” on measures like climate-related risk assessment and the provision of low-carbon goods and services.

The European coal industry is the “living dead”, with profits taking a battering as countries switch to clean energy, according to analysis by Carbon Tracker, a thinktank. It predicts almost all coal-fired power stations in Europe will be unprofitable by 2030 and says the EU could avoid losses of €22 billion by phasing out coal power before then.

Recent climate announcements

Several commitments in the last few months reflect the world’s increasing ambition to meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement.

The International Solar Alliance, which aims to mobilise $1,000 billion dollars of investment in solar energy by 2030, became an official international organisation on 6 December when the number of countries signing its statutes reached 46. Initiated in Paris at COP21, it is the first treaty-based international organisation to be based in India.

An alliance of countries committed to the global phase-out of coal power launched on 16 November at the climate conference in Bonn. The Powering Past Coal Alliance has more than 20 members, including Canada, France and the UK, and aims to grow to 50 members by the end of next year.

Earlier in the year, the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), a global industry-led initiative chaired by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, published its findings on how companies can become transparent about climate change risk and opportunities. Companies with a combined market value of more than $3.3 trillion threw their weight behind the report. Earlier this month the UN’s Principles for Responsible Investment group called on more countries to back the TCFD recommendations.

The climate-change fight returns to Paris

Laurence Tubiana, an architect of the Paris Agreement and now head of the European Climate Foundation, has written about why the One Planet Summit is needed: “Two years after the adoption of a groundbreaking climate agreement, global leaders are set to reconvene in the City of Light. When they arrive, their collective ambition will be needed once more. This time, however, the goal must be to ensure that past agreements amount to more than just words on a page.

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