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COP22: World Focuses on Resilience Amid American Uncertainty – As it Happened

UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa yesterday at COP22. Photo: @COP22 / Twitter
UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa yesterday at COP22. Photo: @COP22 / Twitter

Welcome to another historic day for global climate action, and the Wednesday, 9 November 2016 edition of the Daily Planet’s COP22 live blog.

  • COP22 climate summit moves into its third day as US deals with uncertainty
  • The official theme at side-events in Marrakesh today is – of course – “resilience”
  • An environmental fintech start-up has won Europe’s best climate venture title
  • Catch up with the Wednesday edition of the Daily Planet’s COP22 newsletter

Drawing on our team on the ground in Marrakesh, social media and press coverage around the world, our digital reporters keep you updated on the latest efforts to accelerate the Paris Agreement’s implementation at the twenty-second UN climate conference in Morocco.


Time for resilience

7:31 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Good morning Europe, it’s 2.30am in Toronto and it looks like Trump nor Clinton will address their supporters tonight, but the odds seem to be in favour of the climate sceptic candidate.

Not the result most climate diplomats would have hoped for, but the good news is that today’s theme at the summit is “resilience.”

“I think we should not over-emphasise the importance of Donald Trump,” French chief climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana told reporters on Monday. “It would be a shock” if Trump were elected, “But if it happened, on Wednesday morning you would see everyone say ‘We stick to the Paris Agreement’,” she said according to Reuters.


‘World can count on the EU’

13:19 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Right, well at least US president Barack Obama was entirely correct when he predicted the sun would still rise this morning.

EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete has just tweeted that the world can count on the European Union to continue to lead on climate change and “drive the global clean energy transition,” before adding “We need all our partners on board.”

Earlier Cañete quoted a section from a congratulatory letter sent to Trump by the presidents of the Europepan Commission and the European Council: “Only by cooperating closely can EU and US continue to make a difference when dealing with unprecedented challenges such as climate change.”

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini tweeted that EU – US ties “are deeper than any change in politics. We’ll continue to work together, rediscovering the strength of Europe.”


A different kind of race

13:37 GMT by Peter Koekoek

If you’re like most people, you’re probably kind of done with the coverage about the race to the White House. The good news for COP22 delegates in Marrakesh is that there’s a more pleasurable kind of race scheduled this weekend.

On Saturday, the FIA Formula E Championship is set to visit the continent of Africa for the first time amid a growing demand for electric vehicles across the globe, and the UNFCCC has already tweeted a map of the “2.97km anti-clockwise circuit” in Marrakesh.


‘The world’s still turning’

13:57 GMT by Peter Koekoek

The political situation in the US is putting American COP22 delegates in a somewhat awkward position.

This morning, Federation of Young European Greens member Fabian Wagner tweeted a photo of a “deserted” US pavilion at the conference, while wondering if he was looking at “a preview of the four years of climate negotiations without the US.”

But Matt Wright, who works for the International Institute for Environment and Development, soon tweeted “don’t worry folks, the world’s still turning…” along with video evidence.


‘Turn down the heat’

14:43 GMT by Peter Koekoek

John Schellnhuber, the EU Commission adviser and Climate-KIC chairman, has released a press statement in response to the situation in the US.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s stance on global warming is well known. Ironically, he contributed to the popularity of our recent ‘Turn down the heat’-report series for the World Bank by attacking it on Twitter,” he said. The reports provide snapshots of the latest climate science.

But he continues: “Science cannot expect any positive climate action from him. The world has now to move forward without the US on the road towards climate-risk mitigation and clean-technology innovation.”

The EU Commission recently launched a new high level panel on decarbonisation chaired by Schellnhuber.


‘Pro business’

14:54 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Consultant Thibault Laconde has just tweeted what he says is today’s “punchline” at COP22: ‘Business is pro-climate, Trump is pro-business’.


Facebook Innovation zone

15:04 GMT by Peter Koekoek

If you want to show the US Climate Action Network (USCAN) – the largest network of organizations focused on climate change in America – some love on a difficult day, you could record a message for them at the ‘Facebook Innovation zone’.


‘If politics fail you, talk maths’

16:52 GMT by Peter Koekoek

“If politics fail you, talk maths,” quipped climate change law professor Harro van Asselt on Twitter, illustrated with a photo taken at COP22’s US Pavilion today.


Bottom up climate action

17:05 GMT by Peter Koekoek

So called “non-state” actors are getting a lot of attention at COP22, and Oxford University’s Thomas Hale argues they also double as a “firewal” against Donald Trump, and that his presidency could actually cause an “explosion” of bottom up climate action across the US.

In an article for Climate Home, Hale writes:

Trump’s election will not slow the groundswell of climate action we see from cities, states and provinces, businesses, civil society groups, and other actors whose decisions are not governed by the Electoral College.

Indeed, the coming of Trump may even lead to an explosion of such actions in many parts of the US, which has more cities, businesses, and other sub- and non-state actors registered on the UNFCCC’s NAZCA portal than any other country.

These efforts are being ramped up by the Global Climate Action Agenda that emerged from Paris, which creates a system to track and accelerate these “bottom up” actions.

Those arrangements are being discussed and reinforced at COP22. According to UNEP, these non-party initiatives could reduce emissions as much as the national climate plans by 2030. That’s one ‘firewall’ that Trump won’t breach.


Walmart says it’s going ahead with climate action

17:20 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Doug McMillon, CEO of US retail giant Walmart says the company is implementing science-based climate action policies.

McMillon says Walmart will use a combination of energy-efficiency measures, together with a commitment to source half of the company’s energy needs from renewable sources, to achieve an 18 percent emissions reduction in its own operations by 2025.

“Walmart is the first retailer with an emissions-reduction plan approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative, in alignment with the Paris Climate Agreement,” he said in a statement.

He added that Walmart will “work with suppliers to reduce emissions by 1 Gigaton by 2030, equivalent to taking more than 211 million passenger vehicles off US roads and highways for a year.”


‘Greener growth is irreversible’

17:43 GMT by Peter Koekoek

According to Reuters, many businesses, cities and investors are on track for greener growth despite Trump’s win.

The Reuters piece also quotes Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador, as saying “Even Donald Trump cannot do anything about the laws of physics.”

Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, a European forum for 128 investors with more than 13 trillion euros of assets, said changes towards greener growth were “irreversible”.

“Renewables have already overtaken coal as a global power source, electric vehicles are the growth segment of the auto industry and jobs are being created in clean energy sectors faster than any other,” she said.

“Industrial development of renewable energy has reached a stage where it is no longer dependent on political support,” echoed Tomas Kaberger, executive board chairman of Japan’s Renewable Energy Institute.

“American cities, states, and businesses from Apple to Tesla to Walmart will continue to drive toward the clean energy future. This election cannot change that,” said Nathaniel Keohane, of the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund.


Up next: Energy

17:58 GMT by Peter Koekoek

That’s it for today, we’ll be back tomorrow for day four of COP22, which has been given the official theme of “Energy” by the UN.

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