Leaders Arrive For Crucial Final Week of Marrakesh Climate Summit – As it Happened

Outgoing US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and EU climate action and energy commissioner Cañete made a joint appearance at the Formula-E in Marrakesh this weekend. Photo: @IRENA / Twitter
Outgoing US energy secretary Ernest Moniz and EU climate action and energy commissioner Cañete made a joint appearance at the Formula-E in Marrakesh this weekend. Photo: @IRENA / Twitter

Welcome to the Monday, 14 November 2016 edition of the Daily Planet’s COP22 live blog.

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.

Welcome to Week Two

9:34 GMT by Molly Redmond

Good morning and welcome to week two of COP22. It’s an important day in Marrakesh as many national leaders, ministers and senior officials are arriving to join the conference.

If you haven’t already check out – and subscribe – to the Daily Planet newsletter for daily updates during COP22.

“Let’s Do Things a Little Differently”

9:58 GMT by Molly Redmond

Live streaming has been changing the way organisations and officials communicate at the UN climate summits. This year, a special Facebook Live stand provides a less formal setting for engaging conversations.

“Let’s do things a little differently,” Climate-KIC CEO Ian Short told Daily Planet reporter Kelsey Hunter during a live interview at the summit. Watch the recording to find out what he meant, and how Climate-KIC helps accelerate climate action.

Marrakesh Climate Show

10:26 GMT by Molly Redmond

COP22 attendees are in for a great treat tonight with the ‘Marrakesh Climate Show’ which will begin at 6pm in the Stade El Harti. The concert will include the unveiling of a giant whale, named Alma.

First ever Marrakesh ePrix

10:51 GMT by Molly Redmond

On Saturday 20 electric racecar drivers took part in the inaugural Marrakesh ePrix. The race was organised by FIA Formula E, an official COP22 partner, to showcase sustainable mobility. Akon, singer and founder of solar power initiative Akon Lighting Africa, attended the race and was clearly impressed with the electric racecars.

In videos he filmed for Facebook he says “These [cars] are fast. I didn’t know they could make electric cars this fast” and gives viewers a behind the scenes glimpse into the race.

Opening of EU Energy Day

10:57 GMT by Molly Redmond

“The EU will be in the driving seat of the clean energy transition” says EU commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete at the opening of the Europan Union Energy Day at COP22 this morning.

Cañete also announced that later this month the EU will be launching the Smart and Clean Energy Package which will put energy efficiency first, make the EU number one in renewables and will do so in a cost-effective way that delivers a fair deal to consumers.

Film4Climate competition winners announced

13:42 GMT by Molly Redmond

860 videos from 155 countries were submitted to the Film4Climate competition – a competition aimed at showcasing the talents of 14-35 year olds.

The winning entries of the competition were announced yesterday at COP22 at an event celebrating the power of youth and creativity of cinema for climate action.

Need a dose of inspiration this afternoon? Check out some of the winning videos on the Film4Climate website – you won’t be disappointed.

EU and China to strengthen cooperation

14:27 GMT by Peter Koekoek

As I’m taking over from Molly here in Toronto, North America wakes up to the news that we can soon expect “announcements” about increased EU-China cooperation.

Before the US election, China had already announced it would continue to decarbonise its economy as planned regardless of a change of heart on the American side. The US-China axis has been seen as a driving force behind the early ratification of the Paris Agreement this year.

Now, the European Union seems keen to jump into the emerging vacuum and work with China to keep the momentum going. This morning, EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete tweeted that “climate and clean energy leadership now more important than ever.” He added, “We agreed to boost our cooperation, announcements soon.”

‘We need to get engineers in the room’

14:56 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs said we “need to get engineers in the room,” during a discussion at COP22 today.

Sachs made his comments according to a tweet by Mats Rinaldo, who dryly added that “Moniz is” an engineer. The tweet includes a photo of Ernest Moniz, the outgoing US energy secretary, on stage with Sachs. Moniz is a nuclear physicist by trade. It is unclear who will succeed him at the Energy Department, which also looks after America’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

‘EU in the driving seat of the clean energy transition’

15:06 GMT by Peter Koekoek

“The EU’s ambition is to be in the driving seat of the clean energy transition,” Europe’s climate chief Miguel Arias Cañete declared this morning at the European Union Energy Day in Marrakesh, in another signal that Europe could jump into the vacuum left behind by the change of power in the United States.

“But we know that leadership must be followed by concrete actions,” Cañete added. Later this month, the EU will launch a “Smart and Clean Energy Package” to “put energy efficiency first, make the EU number one in renewables,” Cañete said.

The package of measures expected later this month are said to cover energy efficiency, renewables, a new electricity market design, and “ways to boost consumer involvement in the energy transition.”

“It is now important that we move ahead with resolution and in a constructive spirit to develop the detailed rulebook of Paris and make good on our promises,” Cañete said, who’s full speech can be downloaded from the European Commission website.

“Not just a celebration”

15:18 GMT by Peter Koekoek

If you’re like us and deeply involved in the global transition to a clean economy, you’ll probably also find it easy to forget that there are people who are unaware the COP22 summit is taking place at the moment.

But with political and business leaders just arriving, media coverage has not yet been astronomical – particularly in the light of the events that unfolded in the United States last week.

A conversation that took place on Twitter this morning is a great reminder of that. Following a tweet by the European Commission’s Energy directorate about today’s EU Energy Day in Marrakesh, Twitter user Nuno Coelho Martins from Belgium wondered why the event had to take place in Morocco. “in..Marrakech?? very european city!” he tweeted.

But the EU Investment Bank was happy to help clarify matters, tweeting “Marrakesh is hosting the UN Climate Conference COP22 with participants from all over the world.” Martins replied “oh, so not just a celebration. Looking forward to outcomes.”

Unilever: ‘Put price on carbon and abandon fossil fuel subsidies’

15:33 GMT by Peter Koekoek

It’s not just high-level politicians who are joining the climate summit this week. Senior business leaders are also speaking up at the conference. “If we don’t put a price on carbon we are not going to solve it,” Unilever CEO Paul Polman has said at COP22 according to a tweet by German Granda.


Polman himself tweeted that businesses need governments support, including “carbon pricing” and the “removal of fossil fuel subsidies. We all win or we all lose.” Polman is one of the business leaders on Laurence Tubiana’s – the French climate diplomat and UN climate champion – “hit list.” Tubiana told Climate Home that she is hoping fellow business leaders would be able to talk some sense into the self-proclaimed billionaire, and is asking them the “open a channel of communication.”

Guess who’s back?

16:31 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Canada declared it was back on the world stage last year, when the newly elected Trudeau government joined the COP21 summit in Paris. Canadian climate minister Catherine McKenna was one of the most social media savvy politicians at the summit. She’s back today, and so are the tweets!

“Finally here at COP22 and look forward to getting to work!” McKenna tweeted this morning. Although Canada is back, the US may be gone for a while. And with this in mind, COP22 delegates are following the moves by the largest US trading partner more closely than usual.

McKenna met with some of the COP22 youth delegations on her first day at the summit. “Thanks merci to the engaged young people I met today,” she tweeted, “Votre engagement m’inspire.”

“The trillion-dollar opportunity, that’s how we should see the low-carbon economy,” she later said according to a tweet by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

McKenna took part in a panel discussion with outgoing US energy secretary Ernest Moniz. “Great discussion on clean-tech and innovation as engines of economic growth,” she tweeted, adding “now and in future,” no doubt with Moniz’ potential replacement in mind.

“We have to price pollution to foster innovation,” McKenna said according to a tweet by energy economist Christ Bataille.

McKenna confirmed all Canadian provinces should have carbon pricing by the end of 2018, according to a tweet by PwC’s Jon Williams.

Sub-national governments unite

17:18 GMT by Peter Koekoek

Non-party stakeholders are a big deal at COP22. Aside from businesses, cities and organisations, sub-national governments already played a major role in Paris, but in Marrakesh 29 additional state and provincial governments have signed up to the so-called Under2 Coalition.

The coalition of sub-national governments pledges to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions toward net-zero by 2050. Australia’s Capital Territory, the Indonesian provinces of South Sumatra, East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan, the Italian region of Abruzzo, the Mexican states of Tabasco and Michoacán and a group of Chinese governments including Beijing were among the governments to officially join the coalition at an COP22 event on Friday according to the Climate Group, which acts as the coalition’s secretariat.

The Under2 Coalition now together 136 governments across six continents and 32 countries. The coalition also, notably, includes a number of US states including California, Minnesota, Washington, Massachusetts and New York State.

In a reaction to the news, Melissa Hortman, a senior Democrat in Minnesota’s house of representatives, tweeted “Minnesota is happy to be in the Under2 Coalition! States and regions are more important now than ever before.”

EU targets North America’s cities

18:00 GMT by Peter Koekoek

The European Commission has announced it is setting up a North American chapter for its Global Covenant of Mayors. The regional covenant will cover the United States, Canada and Mexico. The move could be seen as particularly interesting considering the outcome of the US election last week.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is the largest and first-of-its-kind coalition of cities committed to fighting climate change, and is the result of a merger of the EU Covenant of Mayors and the Compact of Mayors earlier this year.

The new covenant is supported by the European Commission, and co-chaired by EU commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič and UN special envoy Michael Bloomberg, the US media magnate and former New York City mayor.

“Mayors and local authorities are crucial partners in our collective fight against climate change. We need their creativity and commitment in putting the world on track to reach our climate and energy goals,” Miguel Arias Cañete, the EU’s climate and energy commissioner, said in a statement.

Cities that take part in the Covenant of Mayors have already achieved an overall reduction of 23 per cent in emissions according to Šefčovič.

Climate-KIC, the EU’s climate innovation partnership, is already working with cities across North America. A little over a week ago, cities like Washington D.C., Toronto and Puebla took part in the global Climathon, a 24-hour hackathon to find local climate change solutions. Climate-KIC’s Low Carbon City Lab, meanwhile, is helping Mexico City create its first green bonds to fund sustainable infrastructure.

Akon just got involved

18:37 GMT by Peter Koekoek

“That’s right I’m getting involved, and I’m encouraging you to take climate action,” the US rapper says in a video tweet by the UN’s Global Goals account. “Akon is at COP22 and he has a special request for all of us,” the tweets says, before urging to not “leave him Mr. Lonely on climate action,” in a reference to one of his hits.

Aside from being a superstar, the American musician is a clean energy entrepreneur. He appeared on stage at COP22 today alongside Morocco’s foreign minister and the CEO of Phillips Lighting. Ako’s company, Akon Lighting Africa, provides solar energy in more than 10 countries across Africa.

The UK Youth Climate Coalition live streamed part of the event on Twitter, and Akon can be heard talking about his new plan for 150.000 new, solar-powered mini-grid systems to power African villages.

 ‘EU expects US to stick to its commitments’

18:49 GMT by Peter Koekoek

The “EU expects the commitments made by the US on climate change to be upheld,” EU climate commissioner – and chief negotiator on behalf of the European Union – Miguel Arias Cañete said at COP22 today according to a European Commission spokesperson.

He also said that the global energy transition is “irreversible” and that the clean energy sector is set to employ 24 million people globally by 2030, adding that the EU “leads the way,” according to Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, the EU Commission’s spokesperson for climate action, energy and transport.

When whales fly…

19:37 GMT by Peter Koekoek

That’s a wrap for today, we’re back tomorrow with an all-day live blog to cover what promises to be an interesting day at the COP22 summit with the first national statements scheduled to be delivered during a plenary session.

In case you’re at COP22 tonight, or are following on social media: keep an eye out for this giant, flying whale!

If you’re interested in international innovation networks, and how they’re crucial for accelerating climate action, follow the tweets at #COP22 tonight until 8pm GMT.


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