The 23rd gathering of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) took place in Bonn, Germany last month as over 25,000 negotiators, observers, and media convened for the largest annual gathering dedicated to addressing climate change.
We participated in the event and wanted to share some of our observations.
Despite a greatly reduced official United States government presence this year (the traditional U.S. pavilion in the UNFCC conference side event area was cancelled), we found a large, highly-engaged cohort of U.S. businesses, NGOs, and other stakeholders participating in the event.
A number of foundations and U.S. NGOs organized the U.S. Climate Action Center, a pavilion adjacent to the UN negotiations. For several days, there were a series of events from businesses, states, cities, and universities organized by the We Are Still In (WASI) campaign, whose over 2,500 signatories have committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Edison Energy’s parent company, Edison International, was one of only two public utilities to sign on when the campaign was announced last June. WASI’s web page features detailed summaries of many of the COP23 sessions and discussions.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown provided an update on the related “America’s Pledge,” an effort to compile and tally the impact of climate actions of states, cities, colleges, businesses, and other local actors across the entire U.S. economy.
Business-focused events were a significant focus throughout COP23. Tim Juliani, Edison Energy’s Director of Corporate Engagement and Sustainability (who marks his ninth year attending the COP), moderated a panel that featured Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Mars, Target, and WWF, who each discussed their climate engagement strategies. Expanding renewable energy use was a common theme amongst all the participants, as was setting aggressive goals for carbon reduction, energy and water. Tim was also invited to attend the UN Global Compact’s Caring for Climate high-level session with the UN Secretary General and UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
The Bottom Line
Our most important takeaway from almost two weeks at the Bonn Climate Conference COP23 is this: Corporations, private organizations, academic institutions and municipalities — U.S.-based and global — are accelerating their efforts address climate change while growing their economic value.
There is a fundamental consensus that both objectives can be served simultaneously, and that evolving the way we produce, procure, and use energy is a critical point of focus.
Edison Energy provides meaningful solutions to our customers as they reduce risk, capture financial value, and improve their sustainability performance. We’ve advised companies and institutions on more than 2,000 MWs of new, executed renewable energy projects, making us one of the premier advisories in the world. And we continue to firmly stand behind our own commitment to sustainability.
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