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COP24 – Day 3 – Winter is coming for the headless chicken

12 joulukuun, 2018

Winter finally came to Poland, with snow falling. We had a bit slower morning, writing up journals and preparing stuff, and we got to the venue a bit before noon.

day4-3There were not much in the way of activities, so I will write a bit about this pretty interesting company and product they had on display, called carbon fibre stone. Basically, it is a mixture of carbon (made from lignin – something that we have been trying to find good uses for in Finland as well), made into a fibre and mixed with stone, like granite.

So it can be carbon negative (if made with clean energy, obviously), it is very, very hard and durable so you can use it for building and reinforcing buildings. You can make walls that are stronger, lighter and thinner than concrete. You can reinforce constructs like dams. They had a bar of it on display and it felt pretty amazing. Of course it takes energy to make, such as high temperatures and electricity, but it was, for my cynical view, one of the more exciting innovations that could decarbonize concrete and steel manufacturing by replacing them with a carbon negative material. I did not see any Finnish companies in the list of participants in the projects, but I think we need to get a few out there. This sounded like a very potential game-changer.

I also met briefly with Greta, the now-famous 15-year old Swedish school girl who is on school-strike, after she was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now -TV show. Gave her a copy of Climate Gamble. Also gave Amy a copy of Climate Gamble, just in case. You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don’t take, as the saying goes :).

Amy Goodman, shooting Democracy Now. We didn’t get to the show. Yet. 

World Climate Summit

In the afternoon we went to World Climate Summit, a side-event for investors and business people. They had free food and beverages on offer, so that was part of our motivation, but the session we attended was one of the more sober ones I’ve been to in a while. It seems these financing people have a tendency to do a lot less hand-waving-as-a-solution than many of the environmental-policy or renewable energy advocate/researcher -types I’ve seen. Granted, they are still mostly proposing hand-waving as a solution and seem to have a chronic problem in saying the N-word, preferring to stick to the renewables-gospel. But here is the thing:

Not all renewable energy is clean. And not all clean energy is “renewable”.

Still, there were some good points. How do we increase the ambition of our targets and make sure we get to them (in accordance to Paris agreement), while we have not been reaching even our current meager goals? Goals are meaningless unless we have means and projects up and running to reach them. How can developing nations fund NDC-projects (nationally determined contributions) if they barely have funding for key-stuff in their budgets to keep their country and economy from collapsing? All the while applying for funding from international organizations is a slow, work-intensive and unsure process.

And then we have a lot of countries that have economic goals and projects that are not compatible with their NDC’s. The ministry of environment says one thing, and the ministry of transport and economics (ie. the ministries with all the government money) say something else. There is a discontinuity, which in turn creates uncertainty for the private sector that has all the rest of the money. What are the aims? Policies that will be set to achieve them? Will they stay put or change? What will the level of support and business opportunities be and how will they manifest?

The whole thing (the situation they were describing) reminded me of headless, one-legged chicken running around aimlessly, trying to find the hidden grain that kept on changing location. We clearly need to know what we need to do. Right now, we don’t even know how we might find that out. A few people might, but the rest of us don’t know whom they should listen to.

Ps. In Poland, there is now one good option people might listen to. A new evidence-based environmental organization has recently been founded. You can learn more at their Facebook page here!

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