Climate change: The new big bang?

By Ed King

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and South African President Jacob Zuma attended the Momentum for Change launch in Durban. (Source: UNFCCC)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and South African President Jacob Zuma attended the Momentum for Change launch in Durban. (Source: UNFCCC)

The 17th round of the United Nations climate talks will be largely remembered for spawning the ‘Durban Platform’, a chunky piece of text that offers a roadmap but lets others find the car.

That two weeks and 36 hours of intense negotiations only resulted in a vague agreement – which many experts believe could mean anything to anyone – should be a concern.

There was no ‘Big Bang’ from a negotiations perspective. In fact all parties are in near unanimous agreement that any agreement over global climate governance will take a long time.

But there are other aspects of Durban that were hugely positive – notably the launch of the Momentum for Change initiative. This illustrated the dynamic effect climate change will have on the planet, in terms of the weather, and also in the way humans adapt.

The idea of UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres, Momentum for Change was accorded a high level launch, with speeches from UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, South Africa’s President Zuma and respected UK economist Lord Stern.

The concept aims to increase the momentum of the change to a ‘green’ economy by highlighting business, technology and policy innovations in the developing world – all achieved through public-private financing.

Watch the video at the bottom of the page. I challenge you not to feel inspired.

It’s easy to feel cynical about these types of initiative. Pour the money into a flashy film, highlight some worthy projects and we can all feel a little happier about our comfortable lives.

And yet. Despite the carping from critics it is becoming clear the green economy is becoming an increasingly vital element of our lives.

The British government values the global low-carbon and environmental economy at over £3.2 trillion, employing 28 million+ people around the world.

Not only do these developments enable us to reduce carbon emissions, it is also driving innovation, advances in technology and building resilience in communities across the planet.

This week RTCC will highlight some initiatives we think demonstrate the height of human ingenuity and sustainable thinking.

Branded by the UNFCCC as ‘lighthouse’ projects, the four pioneering enterprises we will cover are as follows:

– Liter of light: The plastic bottle that provides 60w of light

– DIY power station: The man building 100 solar units in two weeks

– A Hi Fambeni: South Africa’s Hydrogen Bicycle

– Off-grid, online: Solar LED technology in China

Every day this week we will feature one of these projects, together with photos, films and updates on their progress.

If you have any comments visit our Facebook page, or if you would like to suggest a project we could cover email me at [email protected]

UNFCCC VIDEO: Watch the Momentum for Change film marking the launch of the initiative.

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