It’s All About Ambition

Alexis Ludwig-Vogen in negotiations room

The word ambition is used frequently at COP24.

Ambition, by definition, means to have a strong desire to achieve something, which applies to all the delegates working on climate change solutions at COP24.

The Ambition Loop,” a report just prior to COP24 last month by United Nations Global Compact, We Mean Business, and World Resources Institute outlines how a positive feedback loop between business and government can accelerate progress toward our collective ambitions. The premise is that when governments establish policies and businesses establish targets, they enable each other to go further and faster.

“An ambition loop is a positive feedback loop in which bold business leadership supports bold policy action that in turn accelerates further business action.”

Alissa, Alexis, and Jesse from Climate Generation delegationClimate Generation, in having a business delegation for their Window into COP program, is supporting the ambition loop. The four different Minnesota businesses attending COP24 have all expressed support for collective action on climate change, and our voices are amplified by joining together in the Climate Generation delegation.

When it comes to climate change, Best Buy has the ambition to do more. We are committed to getting to carbon neutral in our operations by 2050, and we have submitted our intention for a Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) goal. This will include a new goal to help our customers reduce their carbon emission.

At the U.S. Climate Action Center, I attended a session called “What’s Next for Paris” with Todd Stern, former Special Envoy for Climate Change and Sue Biniaz, former Principal Legal Adviser on Climate Negotiations for the United States.

In the session, Biniaz talked about the difference between the Paris Climate Agreement, which delivered high-level global goals, and what is being negotiated here in Katowice, which is a more detailed rulebook for the commitments.

Stern invoked John Lennon’s song, Imagine, to encourage a shift in mindset. Within the Paris Climate Agreement, countries are not forced to do anything they don’t want to, and there is nothing punitive if you don’t achieve your commitment. Stern said those two elements should enable countries to focus on ambition.

Presenters at Climate Action Center panel

In another session at the U.S. Climate Action Center I heard a great panel discussion about the recently released National Climate Assessment report. The moderator of the discussion, Andrew Light, from World Resources Institute, recapped main findings from the report — one of which we have seen in Minnesota, which is the increased risk in extreme precipitation events. The report finds that our health, safety, and quality of life and livelihood are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The take-away from the U.S. Climate Action Center sessions and “The Ambition Loop,” is that the risk of committing to climate goals is low, the risk of delaying action on carbon reductions is high, and what we need is a strong desire to achieve carbon neutrality.

What we need is ambition.


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