Tag Archives: United Nations

The Green Week Ahead (Mar 19 – 25)

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Wed Mar 21

The Institute of the Americas (IOA) will host the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Matt Rooney from 4:30-5:45pm. IOA tells, “Rooney manages U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada. He is also responsible for economic and trade policy with the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The goal is to increase U.S. exports and facilitate the participation of small and medium sized business in the globalized economy. Mr. Rooney will highlight how, in a difficult global environment, the interests of the U.S. are linked to the economic success of our neighbors.” I will be in Sacramento during the day. If I can get back in time, I plan to attend.

Thur March 22

This is the UN’s World Water Day. Surfrider Foundation informs us, “Founded in 1993 by the United Nations, this global day of observance highlights the need for the care and management of the world’s water resources.” Here in San Diego, we are all aware of our limited water resources. On the bright side, we had plenty of rain (and hail) over the weekend.

From 7:30-9:00 am the Clean Tech Open will host a Business Briefing. The host says, “Join us for an introduction to the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. You will learn about our annual Business Competition, an opportunity to accelerate your cleantech startup with expert training, national visibility and up to $250,000 of cash and services. Beyond great networking, the event will include a brief presentation about how you can get involved as a volunteer, mentor, judge or more. Anyone should attend who is interested in learning more about competing in the Cleantech Open business competition or volunteering, mentoring, judging, partnering with or sponsoring with the organization.”

From 5:00-8:00 pm the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) presents the 8th Annual Energy All-Star Awards. CCSE says “These prestigious awards recognize the most outstanding projects, programs and applications in creating integrated approaches to energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation and water efficiency during 2011. We encourage you to nominate your clients, employer, yourself or any community business, organization or agency.

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and meet new people… They’ll teach you something new.

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Meet former President of Costa Rica, learn more about the Carbon War Room

Jose Maria Figueres proudly served his country in the mid 90’s, during which time he passed a nationwide carbon tax (’95). Now he continues to exhibit superb leadership in the environmental/business sector. We met during a media announcement of the Carbon War Room. He is chairman of the board for the War Room, which has an innovative idea for providing alternative jet fuel to airlines (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/04/idUS69743+04-Dec-2011+BW20111204).

I was happy to see a local, San Diego based company on the list of jet-fuel providers – Sapphire Energy.

For those unfamiliar with the org, “Carbon War Room works on breaking down market barriers for capital to flow to entrepreneurial solutions to climate change, by employing a sector-based approach focusing on the solutions that make economic sense right now.”

Over the weekend, I attended the World Climate Summit, which is the premier event for private sector participants. The CEO of the Carbon War Room, Jigar Shah, spoke eloquently of the role PPPs to establish effective and scalable projects in renewable energy.

Hello from COP17, Durban!

I’m here at the United Nations Climate Convention Conference of Parties (COP), which is now its 17th year. My first COP was last year, where I was the lead of a student delegation from my UCSD graduate program, IR/PS. These are MEGA conferences with 10’s of thousands of people. Anyone and everything to do with climate change gravitates here. Policymakers. Negotiators. NGOs. Media. Business leaders. Activists.

Though expectations reached an all-time high with Copenhagen (COP-15) in 2009, the hopeful were left bewildered as efforts to establish a framework for the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol took a back seat to the global financial crisis.  My friend and mentor, David Victor (UCSD faculty), published an amazing book titled, “Beyond Global Gridlock”. To understand why Kyoto missed the green mark, and why an effective global climate change policy is so elusive to even our planet’s brightest minds, you must read David Victor’s book.

Of course, like most, I would love to see a binding agreement sooner rather than later. However, the “Durban Accords”, like the Cancun Accords, will likely be a commitment to continue to engage in the process, not a push for a tangible result. Even this modest prediction may be too optimistic. Numerous countries are already threatening to breakaway from Kyoto; namely, Canada, Japan, and Russia. The United States, though positive about the goals of reducing global emissions, has always remained on the regulatory sidelines. The EU sits at the center of the effort to mitigate, looking for core support from other major economies. And it is left wanting.

Meanwhile, the trajectory of global emissions and the plight of the vulnerable countries (i.e. food security, access to water, flooding, etc) are becoming exceedingly worse.

Broadly, the topics being intensely debated at this conference are: How can the global community launch the second round of Kyoto commitments? What will replace the Kyoto Protocol and will all major economies participate? How to finance the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to reach US$100bn/year by 2020? Can reduced emissions thru deg. and deforest. (REDD+) improve gender equality? What to do about clean technology transfer, including a clear definition?

Come along with me to explore these issues, learn of new innovations and meet the individuals working to save our planet and our quality of life.