Monday was a day of eye-catching side events and while Josh was attending the Sustainable Innovations Forum day at the Stade de France, Anika, Cris and I divided our time between the various side events that we thought might be relevant to our respective roles – not always easy to tell from the titles so a few were given short shrift!
Pictured on the right is one such and although the title, « Driving Climate Change through the Compact of States and Regions and the Under 2 MOU », might be construed as a turn-off, it was the speakers who particularly caught my attention. They were, from left to right, Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario ; Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland ; and Peter Schumlin, Governor of Vermont ; (on the far right is the moderator)
Each explained what they had achieved against targets in terms of carbon emission reductions through the use of renewables and it was certainly impressive, making one wonder why others find it so difficult to engage. For example, in Scotland we were told that they had acheived a reduction of 38% against a 2020 target of 42%. Their target for 2050 is 80% which at the present rate they should easily achieve. How? By being bold, in the words of Nicola Sturgeon. They have introduced huge numbers of onshore and offshore wind turbines as well as tide and wave power.
Apparently in Vermont local energy committees in every town compete with each other to do better in terms of renewable energy. It was suggested by the Governor that there was a need to expand grassroots level actions to show governments what can be done. « Got the technology so do it – invest in communtiy engagement » That is a message I will be taking back to my home town in France where the population are keen to be doing something to help the situation.
This morning I met with Edmond Moukala, Chief of the Africa Unit at UNESCO’s offices in Paris. As I turned round at the front entrance, this was the view with which I was confronted; a timely reminder, after 10 days effectively ‘shut away’, of which city I was in!
The meeting was particularly useful, not only allowing me to inform him about the work of INTO and its African members and to leave him with copies of the Victoria and Entebbe Declarations, but also to raise specific issues that had been mentioned to me by the Zimbabwe National Trust and the Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust concerning World Heritage Sites in their countries
This afternoon was very busy back at the stand with a number of visitors including Ian Lumley, the Heritage Officer from An Taisce and Stéphane Ledoux from the Conservatoire du Littoral, both INTO member organisations. Stéphane explained that he was engaged with a ‘Sustainable Islands Initiative’ and had recently met with 3 National Trust managers from island sites at a conference on an island, Porquerolles, off the south coast of France. I had previously met him at their own 40th anniversary celebrations in Antibes/Juan les Pins in September. We agreed to meet again at their offices in Aix en Provence in the New Year to discuss his project and to see if more INTO members might come on board
The day ended with an interview with the Climate Change TV station which will take some time to be online. 4-5 weeks, I was told but I have asked if it can be sooner otherwise it will be seriously out of date.
Following that I attended an Indonesian press conference to hear what they were doing. They have come across as one of the good guys in combatting climate change, despite the fires that have been raging, destroying large tracts of forest and the habitat for the Orag Utang and other fauna, about which they were clearly embarrassed.
Oh and the climate has changed here in Paris. Today it rained for the first time since we all arrived !