Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2015  
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  Countdown to Paris
October 30, 2015

In a little over three weeks, we will be leaving for Paris and the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris, also known as COP21. I am part of a delegation led by the Sequoia Foundation that includes Marin Clean Energy (MCE), KyotoUSA and LEAN Energy US that will be presenting information about Community Choice Aggregation and MCE at several conference venues. I represent Richmond on the MCE Board and serve as vice-chair of MCE.

I have also been invited by Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of the City of Paris, and Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, to participate in the Climate Summit for Local Leaders at Paris City Hall on December 4. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change will, in partnership with the global networks of cities and local governments for climate action, co-host the Climate Summit for Local Leaders, the largest global convening of mayors, governors and local leaders focused on climate change. This historic event will coincide with the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, helping to ensure that the voices of local leaders are heard, and city efforts are recognized, during the international negotiation process, in order to reach a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively
Paris City Hall

France will be hosting and presiding over the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11) from November 30th to December 11th. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. France will therefore be playing a leading international role to ensure points of view converge and to facilitate the search for consensus by the United Nations, as well as within the European Union, which has a major role in climate negotiations.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or “UNFCCC,” was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. It entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has been ratified by 196 States, which constitute the “Parties” to the Convention – its stakeholders. 

This Framework Convention is a universal convention of principle, acknowledging the existence of anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change and giving industrialized countries the major part of responsibility for combating it. 
The Conference of the Parties (COP), made up of all “States Parties”, is the Convention’s supreme decision-making body. It meets every year in a global session where decisions are made to meet goals for combating climate change. Decisions can only be made unanimously by the States Parties or by consensus. The COP held in Paris will be the 21st, hence the name “COP21”.

Richmond is increasingly looked at as a model for sustainability, and this presence at the world’s most important climate change event will help embellish that image further.