COP21: 3 questions for Brice Lalonde - United Nations Special Advisor
In this first blog article about COP21 we met with Brice Lalonde - Special Advisor on Sustainable Development to the United Nations Global Compact and former Executive Coordinator for Rio+ 20. Brice attended a Town hall meeting at Technocentre, one of our sites near Paris, beginning of June to explain to our employees what are the main topics of concern for the COP21. Discover below the interview and a video from the meeting.
Hello Brice, what are the main topics of concern for the COP21?
Climate is the main concern. We have to limit the warming of the planet in order to reduce the adverse consequences for our societies and future generations. To do this, we have to stop greenhouse gas emissions. We have been struggling with the same issue for the past 20 years since the first United Nations climate conference. How can the 195 member countries be made to commit to a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to specifically defined levels? One shouldn't forget that the COP is the only vehicle with international legitimacy. The vote of the smallest island has the same weight as the vote of Russia, for example. The subject of negotiations, as well as the form they should take, make this event an extraordinary place for negotiations that is of vital importance for the human race, but it is also complex, so it isn't perfect...
What is expected from companies?
We have a common enemy: carbon and fossil fuels. Their combustion is in the process of overturning the future of humanity. But fighting against global warming requires transforming our methods of production and transformation. How can this be done without the corporations? It would be impossible! They know that climate change is happening and that they cannot avoid it because of the costs that its consequences give rise to as well as the regulatory risks they incur. As good citizens, they are very aware that they can only develop in a society that is healthy. With the electric car, the Renault-Nissan Alliance was able to develop a concrete solution in response to climate concerns. It's a great solution!
Other sectors also have solutions. They need stable, predictable policies in order to be able to work. And the heads of state of the whole world must be able to help them in this regard.
What does COP21 have to achieve to be considered a success?
These negotiations have been going on for 21 years. An agreement is vital but it is particularly the signal given to corporations that is important. Fixing a price for carbon, for example, would be beneficial because it would direct investments toward supporting the development of renewable energies. Certain entities in the financial world have understood this and we are seeing an increasing number of sovereign funds removing fossil fuels from their portfolios. I will conclude by saying that the causes for enthusiasm and hope are just as large as the causes for despair and anxiety. In any case, only by mobilizing the world economy will it be possible to reduce climate change.
A special thanks to Brice Lalonde!