Live From Paris: Institute and R20 Release Research Reports at UN COP 21

As thousands of leaders from Government, business, finance, NGOs and academia gather in Paris from over 190 nations, the main goal is to find a pathway to reduce emissions enough so that the most catastrophic consequences of climate change can be averted. There are hundreds of meetings, speeches and topics being explored each day at COP21. Two of the more significant topics being focused on this year are the power of environment and climate action at the sub-national level, and accelerating the investment in green technologies. The UN's focus on sub-national action is a recognition that regardless of what commitment any nation makes, that commitment will not be met without the actions of their cities, states and provinces.

To highlight the importance of sub-national leadership at COP21, the R20 and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, in collaboration with Governor Schwarzenegger and the Stanley Foundation, issued a report prepared by Yale University, “Scaling Up: From Local to Global Climate Action.” This report confirms that sub-national action on climate change is in many regions surpassing national efforts in scope and ambition. The report uses case studies from nine regions around the world to highlight initiatives that, if adopted nationally, would contribute significantly to, or even surpass, their country-level mitigation goals.

The second significant topic being focused on at this year's COP is how to finance projects that are essential to achieve the mitigation goals of each nation. On Monday Bill Gates, joined by 28 other billionaire investors and the University of California announced a fund to invest in clean energy. Investment commitments from large investors both private and institutional in both clean energy and sustainability has been growing in recent years, in large part due to smart market oriented public policy. While funding is a very important element for these projects other obstacles need to be overcome if these worthwhile projects are to be developed.

The second report issued today by the Institute and the R20, “Climate Finance: A Status Report and Action Plan”, gives tangible, concrete examples of how to expedite the transition to a low carbon economy based on proven technologies and projects all over the world, such as those described in “Scaling Up”.  Drafted at the request of French President Hollande, who identified climate finance as critical to the negotiations at COP21, the report offers a comprehensive road map to effectively tackle climate finance challenges.

These reports were released today in connection with Governor Schwarzenegger’s address to more than 500 parliamentary delegates, including close to 300 MP’s from across the world held at the National Assembly. This event, organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the French Parliament, seeks to adopt an outcome document and endorse a parliamentary action plan on climate change to support solution-focused global measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Governor Schwarzenegger was joined by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for this session.

Read more about California's bi-partisan leadership on climate change in an OpEd authored by Bonnie Reiss, Global Director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and Terry Tamminen, Adviser to the Founding Chairman of R20:

 "There's Hope for Real Change on Global Climate" - The Sacramento Bee