Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Inspiration for Temple’s EMS Committee taken from Paris COP21

Ellie Holderness - EIA Intern

Temple’s EMS Committee is an employee led group that meets regularly to discuss the environmental performance of the company and to identify events and schemes that could be embedded at Temple in order to promote environmental improvements and good practices for both the company and personal behaviour. Each year the group identifies a series of local, national and international environmental events, around which they can co-ordinate their efforts and this year the EMS Committee has chosen to focus on Paris COP21 

What is COP21?

Between November 30th and December 11th, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be running the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties; otherwise known as Paris COP21. The UNFCCC is one of the three conventions that were established at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and is comprised of 196 member states that meet annually as the Conference of Parties (COP) to determine future goals for tackling climate change. Outcomes from previous conventions include the Kyoto Protocol and the Cancun Agreements. This year’s conference will be vital as it intends to reach a decision regarding a legally-binding, international agreement that will curb additional climate change and deal with its impacts. For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, the conference aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

In order to help combat climate change in this way, the agreement must focus primarily on mitigation and the transformation to a low-carbon society. The agreement also wishes to raise $100 Billion per year from the donations of developed countries in order to help poorer countries develop in a sustainable manner. Alongside Paris COP21, the French Government has been inundated with requests to support projects and initiatives that are civilian-led. The initiatives cover a wide array of activities that all centre on one thing: the exchange of knowledge. Examples of these projects include the Global Eco-Forum (22nd October) and COP IN MYCITY, a programme that simulates climate negotiations with students in order to draw them in to the approaching conference. The Global Eco-Forum is a 2-day event that will focus on the relationship between energy, climate and cities. Currently 75% of global carbon emissions are produced by urban areas, therefore mitigation strategies are urgently needed in the developed world. Such outcomes from the Eco-Forum will be taken forward to Paris COP21.

What is Temple doing? 

Temple has committed to developing as a low carbon business and in support of that the EMS committee will be arranging a number of climate and low-carbon themed activities in the lead up to COP21. In the spirit of COP IN MYCITY, we already have a local primary school talk in the pipeline. We will be taking over the company’s monthly social events with low carbon themes and we are currently analysing employee commuting so that employees can find out how much carbon they emit getting to and from work. Each month the committee will be identifying new initiatives and hopes that actions such as these will prompt the consideration of how our day-to-day activities affect the climate and energise people into taking action to reduce our impacts. 

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