Work in Progress

welcome to poland stairsIt’s a constant, bustling hive of activity at the COP24 conference in Katowice.

It’s often crowded, with sleep-deprived professionals rushing through the connected web of permanent and temporary buildings to get to meetings. Workstations are set up in hallways, sometimes on the floor, and impromptu meetings take place throughout the facility.

 people meeting, sitting on the floor

people on computers at long tables

people chatting at cafe tables

I attended a number of sessions working on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) High Level Assembly

The CCAC is “a voluntary partnership led by governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions, and civil society organizations committed to protecting the climate and improving air quality through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.”

country representatives at high level meeting

Short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons are of increasing importance because they have a very high global warming potential. The good news is SLCPs don’t last a long time in the atmosphere, so they offer an opportunity to make a quick impact in emissions reductions.

This meeting, the countries in the CCAC will:

  • Share views on what the Coalition should do to increase climate ambition
  • Finalize the “CCAC Talanoa Statement & Joint Statement”
  • Launch an Action Program to address the 1.5 C Challenge

California representative at tableCountry representatives lined the table, as well as California. California is the first sub-national representative to join the CCAC. In the meeting, Mary Nicols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, expressed California’s commitment to reducing SLCPs, which is part of the state’s plan for attaining carbon neutrality by 2045. California is working with jet propulsion lab and NASA to monitor SLCPs and to determine hotspots on a global basis.

Adaptation: Moving from Today’s Lessons to Tomorrow’s Transformation

This session was hosted by the Global Commission on Adaptation and the Global Environmental Facility. The Global Commission on Adaptation was launched this past year and is overseen by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva. The Global Environmental Facility, an independently operating financial organization, provides grants for projects to help countries meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements and also serves as the financial mechanism for many environmental conventions. Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, spoke on the panel.

In this session, panelists talked about how efforts to help communities adapt to climate change is years behind efforts to mitigate climate change. They stressed that in addition to the human impact, there is real physical and financial risk to the events of climate change. The point was made that the risk of too much water, too little water, too hot, or too cold needs to be embedded into all investments. And, we cannot wait for events to happen for us to start preparing for climate change. We must work to adapt and mitigate at the same time, and we must ensure that the financial support isn’t just about stopping bad things. It’s also about doing something positive for communities at risk.

world leaders holder #ActOnTheGap sign

The #ActOnTheGap sign being held by the panelists and moderator, Andrew Steer, CEO of World Resources Institute, refers to the Gender Action Plan of the UNFCCC, which “promotes the mainstreaming of gender into climate policy and action at all levels. Gender-responsiveness is critical for the effectiveness of any policy and action and it is critical that the needs, perspectives, experiences and knowledge of all people impacted by climate change are taken into account.”

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