Hi everybody and a very warm welcome to this webinar, which is organized by insead, hoffman institute and change. Now my name is ketel and i head the hoffman institute at insead, which asks for a mission to integrate sustainability into everything that the school does, and i’m delighted to co-host this event with kevin.
Who is one of the co-founders of change? Now the largest impact summit in the world – and we have a partnership between inside and changing. We’ve, been having it for the past two years. It’s, been a good ride, as we have the same vision to try to promote business as a first for good and today.
In this context, we’ll, be discussing how to be a force for good to address the climate emergencies in in different ways from the top from the top of decision-making of organization, as well as from from the bottom, and for this important conversation we Couldn’t have had a better guest than laurence tubiana, who’s.
Herself has been a change maker from the top and also pushing it from the bottom up. Laurence is currently the ceo of the european climate foundation. She was france, a climate change ambassador and special representative for the cup 21 and hence was a key architect of the landmark paris agreement.
We’re going to be discussing about this with her today. She uh most recently has also co-ed the french citizens convention on climate change, a real bottom effort that we will just we were just discussing here while waiting for this discussion to start and um more personally yeah, i’d like to say that, since I first met laurence 25 years ago that’s a while now she’s, been an inspiration uh through you know the leadership she’s taken on climate change, and i was delighted to see that two days ago she Received the award from the royal belgium academy for um world climate policy, outstanding progress, congratulations, laurence and a very warm welcome to you.
Thank you for taking the time for joining us today. Thank you, catalin very, very happy to be with you um that’s now a moment, and we wanted to organize that discussion with your community, and i’m very happy to be here today.
Finally, even if it’s, weird formulas – that we are not – we are in 2g and not 3d perspective. I’m happy to say we’re gonna all have to yeah to do it from home. So, just to start to get us started um lawrence.
Could you could you tell us about the paris agreement uh, you are the in the heart of its design and of its political intricacies. So can you tell us how that came about how such an international um consensus on the key topic came about and also you know where we’re at today, uh five years down the line? Well, the at that time, when i i accepted to lead the negotiation um pre uh in the two years uh before the agreement uh, i was rather pessimistic.
I’ve, been following this negotiation from now many many years, as you noticed, uh, cattle and uh. Of course, we had this big failure of copenhagen in 2009 and, of course, few few chances to to get this right.
And, of course, all my work was in a way to change expectation around that, and that should talk to business people or people who are really involved in what the companies and business community is about.
Is you know you direct your strategy, of course, based on your expectation of the future and my job? First, my job was how we change expectation, how we make the success possible and how what is the meaning of this success? What, of course, an agreement is not you know in international law, the problem is not so much to have a tax and an agreement, because the problem of enforcement is, of course everywhere, and you, don’t, have a global government to make this happen.
So uh it it has an impact if there is a strong consensus around it and so on it’s objective and second, if people feel that this will happen, and so expectations are everything, and i rely on the good authors um that you say Uh, as you can have, of course, self-fulfilling prophecy, that could be very negative, but they can be very positive and that’s.
Of course, the argument, so what my my job was really to say uh when we have to have an agreement that puts a responsibility, of course, in a fair way, but everyone which was the first time because previously all the climate agreements were about the the notion That developed countries should reduce their emission developing countries not so the idea is that the development model has to continue business as usual for many until the certain level of development would happen, and the paris agreement philosophy was that’s, not the way.
We never get there because the impact are too too severe and too well too dramatic for everyone. So the idea is not to do first well, do the ones who can afford climate policy to go first and then the second one would wait for after, but really we have to change the course of the development model immediately, and that was this where this expectation Was so important that to change the mindset that the economic development has to shift from it’s based on fossil fuel? And we may have a miracle in technology to change that.
So we have to shift the base. The economic and the technology base to do something different and it’s, not no development. It’s, a different development, so that was first to establish that and to get the agreement of developing countries that they could ask for support.
Even but to go in a different direction to to diverge from the previous one, but of course having a clear commitment of the global goals that mean something and the difference between the previous agreement.
And this one was to say: we have to go to zero emission by 2050 or around that and to go to zero emission is not or we will decrease progressively or we’ll do incremental steps, but it is. We have to go to zero and zero is zero.
I mean you, you can’t continue like before, and so that was a second important element, even if this one was negotiated at the last minute on the saturday morning, uh with, of course, i suppose some countries, didn’t understand exactly What they were signing for, what the meaning was because um, but that was the idea that uh and because this is very difficult to to get uh to go to zero when you are at the levels we are like.
I don’t, know 11 tons per capita in france when you count the the the imported emission or the 26 or 27 just purely produced on the american soil, or even, of course, higher high higher now 12. I think – or we are around 12 in in china, so how you go to zero is uh is, of course, stressful, so that’s, why the paris agreement introduced a sequence approach where it’s, a learning process.
You begin by, of course, more moderate objective, and then you increase them over time with a based on the peer review and so the ideas, the mechanism which is very central to to paris agreement. Is these global goals, including finance? I will come back to that later, but at the same, several steps where uh countries revise their climate plans and because there is more, the the orientation of the global economy is going in that direction.
Because technology is there because you learn how to do things. You can improve your action over time and so that’s, the two elements, a very ambitious goal and a learning process throughout and again always shaping the expectation that this will happen.
So we have to prepare – and i can see we – we can talk about the the impact these days, but i see that uh. It has a profound impact, because now the zero emission by 2050 will run. That is very not now embedded in many many divisions.
And finally, the idea was government cannot do that alone. It’s about economy-wide problem. So if you don’t, have the other actors involved and buying in this objective of the paris agreement will never get any result, because again, there will not be no force.
You will not invade the country to make it implement its targets, or you would not force the companies to reduce emissions so uh this goal. This expectation has to be shared and that’s, why? I insisted on having, in the political package, prepared a particular pillar organized around cities and business and so meaning the local level on one side, because of course, that’s, where a lot of choices have been made and the business.
Because again, many choices are done in a decentralized way, and you know in international theory, uh relation theory. We have this notion of a regime where you have very different actors that can finally be coordinated because they share a number of norms uh.
So that was, of course, for me, a very central notion, but on not only norms but again, coupled with expectation and a sort of a very active discussion between the different levels: the cities, the business, the government to make this conception.
This representation more active and changing over time, and so so that was basically the philosophy and then i i of course i will not go in the details which are not that interesting, but when legally it is necessary for that.
But what is important is there. Is a of course, a chapter of recognition in the decision in paris that the non-set actors have a very, very important role to play and we even design crafted a role. That was what we call the champion the climate champion to in a way be uh.
The the driver of that dynamic and then now more and more in the cops you see that the most important elements are happening in the non-state active space and not in the governmental space. Now, of course, because the negotiation is over.
So that is the different facet of the paris agreement, if i may say so, and and lauren so hello, hello, uh, catalan laws that’s really happy to be to be here with you so uh. In your opinion, we’re now in 2020, so five years later, um.
What is you know? What’s, your evaluation of the situation? Is it uh uh? Is it promising according to you or what are the aspects that that that you feel are are still challenging at the time of course, a lot a lot of challenges, in particular the rising emissions, even the the the rise have been.
You know growing just not as fast as as a number of periods before, but really a lot of challenging, but at the same time uh. It showed the resilience of this agreement because, beyond the decision of u.
s to withdraw, which was, of course, a very, very big blow very big blow and, of course, the active policy of a trump administration to try to uh, encourage other countries to go out and to Withdraw from the paris agreement like brazil or australia or others, or even canada, but even canada was not really well received anyway, so this has put totally resilient where uh beyond u.
s. There was no sign of getting out, because that was for me a very, very strong sign. The second, more even more important positive element is that this parish agreement now is a reference not only for governments where we have, of course, political headwinds.
That’s just evident no because of trump and because of crisis, etc, and because of course, it’s difficult for government to really be decisive and and really implement their policies in a proper way. But do you see that progressively this notion of paris agreement being the reference is now working for the financial institutions? Well, evidently, the multilateral development banks, the national development banks – will see that very soon in november, with a big summit on finance in common, you see that the business are referring to paris agreement and all of them taking the objective of net zero emission by 2050.
As a benchmark and it’s, not a global benchmark, it’s, a benchmark that is, that has to be developed for each company, each investor portfolio, each bank, and that, of course, still confusing. What does it mean? How we do there can we do, we know how to do it, but the discussion is super super active and that’s to, in my view, a very, very strong sign that what i was looking for, that paris agreement is not an inter-governmental agreement, But it is an orientation for the global economy.
It’s, beginning to work not enough. I’m, not optimistic about the we are really lagging behind evidently, but still it’s coming in more as well as important. You see that the number of cities, and in some kind of very important actors like state and region, i’m thinking, of course, of california – are taking this so seriously that they have now clear plans to go to net zero and to have intermediate Target for 2030 that are very, very good, for example, um banning the combustion engine in seat the cars in cities by 2025 or 2030, depending on the cities um and having plans to go to 100 renewable energy, for example, etc, etc.
And we have cities who are already carbon neutral, like copenhagen, for example, still of course buying offsets outside, but with a very, very active policy on transport, on heating, on on energy etc.
So this is what is happening and finally, i would say the the last very important political element is that paris agreement is the reference for the new compact for europe, which is a european green deal, and this has conducted all the discussion in europe at the in A way at the origin of the political compromise that was crafted with the european election and the new election of the new commission uh, and that is – is for me the first new big political contract around the paris agreement that we can witness.
Yeah, thanks for this launch and and so adding another challenge to the to the discussion, you know let’s. Talk about the current crisis. What’s? Your take on on the effect of the carved uh, you know the fight against climate change, and do you think that the climate agenda has been pushed to a smaller stage? Are the governments and the private sectors you know only focusing on economic growth? At the moment, i think it’s, a very active discussion.
My first instinct was: it will be very difficult uh in particular, because the level of investment, the public investment to uh the contrast cyclical to try to combat the the recession. Of course, which is happening and will, of course, increase in the next months to come, the the first reaction has been immediately uh.
We should maintain their activities like where they are and we should spend a lot of public money and public investment on the activities the assets like they are so nothing about in the beginning, nothing about the change we need and with this strong contradiction, which, of course, There is a limit to the indebtedness of of government one of the nations and that all this money that is now invested in maintaining the economy structure as much as anybody can know as it is.
It is money that would never be spent again on the transition, and so that was of course, the beginning of the concern in march, so um, a number of us have been, of course, actively advocating for well.
If you have to invest this public money, which was not happening before the massive investment, an acceptance of really relaxing the the budget rules, the fiscal rules – so let it be – but do that you know looking at the future, not at the path and that the debate Is still happening, but you see that the notion of a green recovery has gained enormous momentum, but it was not.
It was really very tricky in the beginning. I can tell you, like everybody was saying we should do that after not now and still a very legit discussion, of course, in france in in uk. Well, everywhere, this discussion is happening, but the interesting element is that on both sides of citizen – and we did a very interesting study.
Studies recently done by a group which you may know, which name is more in common together with a big polling agency and more than 70 of european citizens, think that we should not uh go go back on the on the environmental, ecology and ecological transition.
But at the contrary to call this should be the the moment to accelerate action, so that was a citizen and they are afraid that of course, government would drop that on the other side, you saw a number of companies.
I’m thinking about the german companies, for example, sign a letter uh in germany to ask the government not to subsidize the old sectors or to to give the money to uh again buying the unused cars in the automotive sector, but just to put Money in the new sector – hydrogen, for example – and that came everywhere now – this discussion – how we use in a clever way this money – and we have again a a letter of more 1 000 companies to direct it to the president of the european commission, saying really the The aid of eu should focus on the new sectors on the new activities on the transformation and not buying back the the fossil fuel based sector.
So this is a battle of course. It’s of intellectual fight, a judgment uh question about how we protect employment uh. So that’s, not done. But the backlash i was afraid of hasn’t come and that’s. Why? This combination of movement on the political side and on the economic side makes that the climate agenda has not disappeared, but he was totally at risk to disappear totally yeah that’s.
That’s interesting, and we were discussing that also um. The the importance of the moment now right when we were preparing another element you were mentioning is the you know the changing geopolitics of climate at the global level.
Can you speak a little bit about that and, in particular of the of the role that other regions might play in redefining the geopolitics of climate change? I’m thinking, for instance of of china and the recent announcement yeah that’s.
Such a very important feature one because again six months ago, i was quite pessimistic about this geopolitical evolution because, of course, uncertainty around the u.s election on one side, the isolation and the the the policy of china who was really uh.
No more talking about climate and wanting only to limit its target to what was agreed in 2015, which was really very modest compared to what we need to do. Um the fact that brazil was course was, as you know, in full disarray and and really blocking what was one of the more progressive in emerging countries: climate policy, south africa.
For all other reasons, uh indonesia for well. There was no mexico again going in the wrong direction, so there was a number because of one on one side: the trump policy. On the other side, the china move will not move.
Europe was all totally isolated and still a little bit fragile or uh on her determination, determination it’s, determination of going forward and then everything. Finally, between april and july, coralized in a very clear statement about the recovery will be around the european green deal, whatever the divergences are in europe and then so i began to be more optimistic and of course, in the discussion with streamer months and michelle and vandalian The idea is that if we could move from climate diplomacy, which was in a way a little bit limited to, we have to have a green deal, diplomacy, meaning this is what we will do anyway – that where europe will direct its economy, industry, finance, agriculture, transport building.
Everything, and that will be the the new compact we we will have and we whatever happened, uh, that’s, what we decide to do and if there is not a fair competition, we will even use our trade instrument to protect that direction.
And this very strong stance has had an impact on others. It has an impact on brazil, for example, where a number of companies in brazil began to press one. They the press before uh because of this anxiety around the trade impact they press on bolsonaro not to withdraw from paris agreement.
First and then, you see now a number of businesses across the value chain to try to combat the deforestation policy of bolsonaro, but because of a green deal being not only a climate diplomacy but being an economic diplomacy which organized around the first global market of the World still and still eu is a bigger market at the global level that has enormous resonance and then because, probably because of yes evolution in u.
s, a very strong stance of california, for example, uh the uncertainty now in a different sense of the u.s election. China decided, within the context of the discussion with europe, to move its target and to propose something from the top.
That was a condition for all the discussion in china to be reopened and decided to go for this carbon neutrality by 2060, which is what we many. We’re, asking already since now, three or four years, and so that’s, a big big announcement.
It’s, not complete. They have to revise or to say something about their 145 year plan, which has to be completed, meaning the decision to be completed by the next spring to go to 2030 target. But the china is a and – and i i notice that it is not noticed enough – that it is a big change.
It’s, a shift. It is a first emitter at global level. It’s now, the first of the second global economy at global level, depending on how you account for it and and if you realize that the global market, the big market of europe and the china’s, market takes the same more Or less the same target that’s, an enormous sense for the global economy, and that is, in my view, the major shift into re re re-engineering.
A momentum and political momentum we didn’t have, of course, since 2015 because of the us decision yeah. Do you think that we could have a carbon-carbon coalition of europe and china in the future? That’s? What you know what this signal is giving uh whatever in in any way, whatever happened in u.
s yeah chinese perspective of the u.s outcome. That was the signal we were looking for because without that uh, even the big effort of some states or some region or some companies in u.s uh. It was a major blow again.
But if you have the chinese and the european line, you imagine the sign on the technology on the global market on the value chain, that’s just enormous. So china is a first buyer of anything at the world level and, of course, the first seller of many things.
So it’s. It’s, really a an enormous shift, and i see it will it will in a way, come to the const consciousness and and again for good or for for well they will. They will fulfill the target that that for sure, whatever the techniques to do that, but and that depends but um.
So i think that’s. A very, very important signal and the club we were trying to build is at least a the building blocks. Are there yeah, which, which is a very important element, so a abide in uh president cannot go well.
We’ll, go in the same direction, of course, that’s. What we should hope for uh, but even the trump administration, cannot resist the businesses direction and uh and in my views, for example, the end of the combustion engine is is done and by this it will be accelerated by this eu chinese decision or common decision.
Yeah. Just one uh one quick note for our uh audience: uh, please, don’t hesitate to ask your questions. Uh on the youtube live, we’ll, be uh. We’ll, be uh trying. We will be trying to answer as many as them in the later stage of the of the of the discussion today.
So yeah, please, please, don’t hesitate to do that. Uh one question for you: lawrence um. You know we’re. Recently, in france we uh, we saw the government testing uh the convention situation. You know, which is a democrat democratic approach that invites citizens to come up with proposals to uh for fighting uh, climate change and the question to you is: you know what was the uh? The inspiration behind it and uh and how could we potentially replicate that you know the you know other regions of the world um, so the the idea you may remember.
This came after the movement of the yellow vest in france, where there was a big pushback again, a particular policy uh, the carbon tax uh, meaning the increasing of the carbon tax, which, of course, is involved into the price of fuels, plus the readjustment between the the Price of the diesel and the price of gasoline in front which something which is pretty not proceed from, of course, air pollution concern from for many years now.
The protest, of course degenerated in many things, but mainly around social justice and the feeling that people were not considered that why they wanted to be seen by their yellow vesters, something very bright uh.
You may some maybe remember that then the president organized what he called the grand deba, which was a sort of a tour of many many many uh town halls, if i may say so like compared to what we could see uh into um into in us.
In some other countries, but then the people around the g, legend and and others were feeling that this was not a proper exercise of democracy of deliberative democracy because it was not really prepared.
It was like a very sort of on the spot discussion with, of course, a number of these debates occupied by the government itself, so they they came. I was not. I was involved in the um in in an initiative which school was giles, which was the idea.
We can’t oppose, which was my first reaction. When i saw the movement we should not, and we can’t oppose the movement for social justice, with a movement for ecological transformation, and we need to find which is problem.
The thing i i pay more attention now for on everything, even of course international diplomacy is important, but i do think that if we don & # 39, t find a way to activate and develop climate policy and climate solution that have just social justice at its Core, i think we cannot bring this social transformation that it is net zero society is, is is about, and so i i i participate with others to the creation of a small group linking the yellow, vest people, some personalities and and people who are more on the Climate movement saying we need to find this.
This discussion we to at least organize the discussion and then the the idea of the idea was. We have to propose a real, very well informed discussion with citizen selected, randomly like the irish did on the uh same-sex marriage or abortion, or any western climate on top, or that experience that is is has been conducted in some other countries or or regions.
And so the government accepted that, but the condition was uh. If the exercise is probably done with enough time and resources, then the recommendation of the citizen should be presented and there will be no selection.
No sense, no, no sense to you, no censorship on this. They should be transmitted to the parliament and some field, meaning the decision of the citizen should be respected and should be considered very, very seriously, not accepted necessarily but seriously, and if they want, we could go to the referendum.
So this was the idea of thinking that citizens may have a shift their perception of problems and solution if they have the time to discuss and to be informed. Second, the solution they will propose will probably fit more with where the society is, and my and personal engagement in that, as i was sharing this exercise, is that i felt the french society was an ease, in my view, still the head of the government in his Understanding and even the desire of the social change that ecological transition implies, so that’s.
The reason the substantive reason was i was in and and probably because, of course, if you don’t have, if you don & # 39, t have trust between uh citizens and their representatives. You can’t engineer, social change and i don’t think by the way that social change comes from the top.
I don’t believe that i anyway, when i was talking about paris, agreement cannot be implemented by government. Only is that the same philosophy i don’t think this is the social change, come from really a variety of actors and because it feels at the moment, and they feel that they are able.
So the problem is really to give the the floor to to give the space for these actors to to express themselves, and the exercise was really incredibly fascinating. So we had 150 citizens selected randomly from every origin.
Every level of diploma 25 of them, didn’t, have any any diploma, even the first level of what you do that at secondary school, so something that normally these people, don’t have a voice. They never participate to meetings because that’s, only more more educated uh normally goes to the debate.
Elder older people with education and and normally men and not women, and this was we have the same level of women than in the french society. Young people that normally don’t come to these discussions and the result was stunning, meaning the first day when they were presented with the analysis of the climate problem and the impacts they they were shocked.
The truck to a level. I was even surprised myself and they said, but this this is so bad and it was purely what was happening already. What was probably happening, uh depending on, of course, the scenario, but the scenario, and, unfortunately, are every time worse.
They said why nobody has told us that was so bad, so that was the first reaction and then they began to work on all these topics, because the demand of the government was how we reduce the 40 emissions from france by 2030 and they proposed 101 proposals.
Finally, working like man, they work nine months, uh, not only eight weeks, seven weekends, but more than eight weekends. In reality, plus session in between they worked on groups, the investment and the intellectual and the work.
Investment of people was really really impressive, and and when you look at their plan, what they propose, of course, it’s. Very. There are many many aspects because they, finally their analysis, was.
We cannot solve this issue with one issue with one mother with one policy: there is no silver bullet, it is about a range of changes that has to be brought in the society, and now we are at the moment, of course, with the government has to respond.
We will have a the last session to where the citizen will in a way formulate their judgment on the finally on the government’s, performance on vis-a-vis their proposal and, of course it’s, still not clear.
But what is important, in my view is we should not. We should pay tribute to the quality of the investment of citizens and their active agency, and you know everything in the south interchange we have to engineer in the society comes from the urgency of citizens, but for a citizen to have agency, you have to give them The space you can prevent them to have agencies that’s very easy communication, spinning constraint and then that’s.
All and people cannot then move and take responsibility. But if you leave the space for agencies, then you reconstitute the chain of trust that is lacking now between the citizens and energy and the political institution or the representative institution or in the society.
Let’s, be the union, the the government, the members of parliament et cetera, et cetera and and even the justice. So this is, for me a very so beyond their recommendation, which many are interesting and original and doesn’t seem for experts like the geeky people from climate would not think that it is that important to control into advertisement, but for them it was Super important and they were, i think they are right, and so this is for me uh an enormous lesson of uh the.
When you give space to people they they are clever, they are responsible and busy, but basically the the response to them should be a deep respect for what they do as citizens, because they are taking their responsibility.
Thanks laurence, that’s, uh quite inspiring to hear you say that, and – and we also hear from you – that the process changed their the mindsets of the citizens even involved in in that process. The same way that the process of the paris agreement changed mindsets of of government leaders and – and we have a question coming in from uh from one a member of our audience, anthony john, which is like okay.
We heard about the change of mindsets for government leaders from citizens. What about economic actors? What is being done now to change that mindset with business leaders? We have a lot of them in the audience now of that conversation.
So what is being done, and what do you think, what what does look the most promising? From your point of view, when we come to business leaders, i think on the business community um well, the in paris, i i managed to give them to have a preparation of the meeting with business.
Only we have a conference on the business to say what kind of paris agreement you need to go. If you consider that climate change is important, so that’s, what the first steps and then we we in a way we tried with many actors from the business community, in particular the world economic forum, which have been very active business association like, of Course, the ones who have been created to be more sort of active into the business community like as um the the world business council for sustainable development, or we mean business, which is this coalition of some or the b team.
So there was already and because of that movement around yes, companies have to have a seat at the table of the discussions, a number of organizations that have produced these coalitions. We tried by the way, to organize before paris.
I was involved in some exercise to try to organize sectoral agreement to get some targets for cement, for example, for for steel or for electricity. It didn’t work well at that time, because you see that what is needed is this interaction between the public policy, the finance and the business, and we need these three and i would say now, the citizen and both on the consumer side.
As a but as a citizen side as well so now what the the way it is working is we have this uh, which is interesting. You have a discussion that is very, very very across the board between business and, i would say, between business and financial institutions, for example, there are now a number of pension funds that are asking the companies, as you know, around the disclosure on on the carbon footprint Of this uh of these companies uh that nexus that have been started by michael bloomberg, uh a year before paris to ensure transparency, uh on the assets that companies were holding and how much they were dependent on fossil fuel activities and that the banks and the pension Funds and the institutional investors could measure their risk if they were very exposed to this type of activities.
Given the fact that, at one point in time, climate policy would oblige these companies to in a way to change, occurs and uh that so that is a that is the first package of discussion between companies and financial and investors on uh.
But what are the plans of this company? So the companies now have because of these demands of the financial community to present their net zero plans? And you see this flowering and you see now many companies are committing for zero and now, of course, the next step is so okay, that’s, nice very nice objective, how you do it.
So what is the plan now? So i think this is a movement that has been generated in in part by the well the demand how you implement paris agreement in your own, with many many channels and now reinforced by the question of the investors, and you may have seen, for example, a very Important pension fund, like the japanese one, which i think is the public, so it’s, a bigger upward level, saying uh.
For the moment, our portfolio is pointing to uh an increase of temperature in 3d of c degrees compared to pre-industrial level. We have to really go back to two or under two, so that’s, the risk we are taking and that’s.
Where we put pressure on the companies, some others uh trying to use the shareholders of companies to present and to defend pro climate choices in the strategy uh, there is now the even the institution of in the u.
n process, which is is important. Of course. Nothing. You un for companies is totally central, but it’s important that so a climate champion has been designed that every for two years um somebody will be in charge with a team to collect engagement, to encourage companies to move forward and that that, for Example in uk citizen now, nigel topping, who is doing it, uh and and um, so the the this is a way that, for example, now for the glasgow cup in 2021 in november, uh has been organized this notion that everyone has to present the plans to vote In zero, which the name is raised to zero and i’m sure many companies have heard about that, and then sorry can you give us a? Can you give us illustrations about some companies you find inspiring in really pushing that development of plans towards that zero um? Still, of course, a little shaky, but you see uh.
You see. Companies like the. I just forget the name of the steel company in in sweden, which has introduced this hydrogen pilot company, who has now a clear plan. Uh you we have um. We have some companies like arcelormittal, who wants to be net zero, to produce steel, not in india, but outside um.
We have, of course, companies that are always being the leader like unilever, who has a very comprehensive net zero plan, in particular, insisting on deforestation, combating deforestation, uh. Of course, there are oil companies like bp, who was proposed to be net zero met, switching in particular to production of renewables uh.
We have other companies like uh. We have some electricity company uh. We are now, i think, very, very more serious about that and um. So there are a number of, but we we are in um, that’s, a moment where we have a number of companies that have said they will be net zero or they are net zero.
But now it’s, a delicate moment where they explain how they do that and that’s. The credibility of this plan, which is, and i don’t, think i have a total view of. Yes, there is a champion there, because that’s uh.
The phase was until now to say to compile in a way the commitments, and now this phase is how we make these companies accountable and who is making the companies accountable and who is the third party checking, and we are in full mode of that.
I’ll. Take a another question from the audience uh roman was asking about. You know the the way our economies function today we have a culture of growth right. So how do we achieve those targets uh without shifting that cultural growth and uh, when all the you know, the kpi that business uh corporations are are are following, you know: is there any uh alternative targets, alternative kps that we should uh look at in order to Achieve those targets that’s, a of course a very central question, because you you see that if we don & # 39, t change the way people make their judgment on what is profitable.
What will be, and, and even if we know that the judgement are informed by very partial type of indicators or and and we can have many examples of that – and the problem of the growth in general is, of course, the acceptance that we have a limited quantity Of natural resources we can use, and still our growth is based on the extraction of these natural resources.
So i think this is needing a very deep discussion and for the moment this discussion has stayed in academic circles. We have uh many economies, even very bright ones. Nobel prize that have been thinking, we should now look gross differently and we should totally change the indicator of what we call growth uh, because the quantitative expansion based on natural resources is just an impossibility, at least for nine billion people.
At what level it’s, just an impossibility uh, but it’s very difficult to get out of this uh, because how we, we know only a linear thing. We we don’t measure the success by uh more depth into i don’t, know the achievements it’s about expanding physical expansion and so um.
I think it i i don’t know how, but it’s, a condition. If not you totally right, we cannot uh. So one response is, we should grow some activities and be growth and diminish someone. So we grow the activity who are not, of course, have an impact on the extraction of natural resources, who use a full recycle of this, which we can make an enormous progress on that.
Evidently, and maybe energy is not a limiting factor, but at the same time, even if you feel that energy, because we can have clean energy, is not a limiting factor, it needs space. No, it needs space.
Solar panel needs space uh when farms need space uh, even nuclear power needs space. Well, you need space. The nuclear depend a little bit, of course, on extraction of a limited resources, but um. So we need to understand what do we want to grow as element of the well-being of the societies, and i i know that it’s super difficult.
Well, i think we can have the academic discussion. I think we we can have a number of elements that we are not more happy, because there are more cars in the street with more air pollution. Even classically the gdp will increase if the pollution increase, because that just means that we will burn more oil and that does in terms of well-being is, is negative.
But then how we we don’t price, clean air and we don & # 39. T price the silence in cities uh, even if we know that in terms of public health, we & # 39, ll, see the negative numbers piling, and so it’s, really a reshaping of the thinking.
And but i look pessimistic. But i’m, not because i think this is happening, and this is while this discussion is happening. I i recognize that it’s, easy for government to dismiss a discussion say just it’s ridiculous.
You want to go back to las de cavern or something where you didn’t have electricity in your home. Of course it’s. This is not that, but what we consider that very important good. Certainly, we see that with a pandemic, that health is an enormous, strategically important, vitally important good for everyone, but we may feel that other goods are important like clean air silence, relation to nature, education, um, immaterial consumption once, of course, the basic needs, and maybe the basic Needs are not to change your iphone every two years or running around so, but that’s, a conception we have to correct and companies.
So let’s meet imaginative to what they want. Yeah. Let me pick up on that uh. You know what you can do. You know not change your iphone and i mean not in in a jokingly way. There is a debate that’s, going on now in the chat yeah it’s hated on the chat right now, where, basically, you know some are um are just um calling and asking for uh a big global wave of citizens committing Themselves to to really reducing their own emissions and making that the key push towards that and not leaving it in the hands of positions.
On the other hand, we have others saying yes, this is all good, but we know that um. The sum of this individual action will not keep in mind global goal and systematic systemic risk and opportunities, and actually we’ve.
Had that debate on a number of conversations we’ve organized so bottom top, i mean so what’s, your? What’s? Your take on that? How do you uh? How do you respond to that uh to that debate and try to bring people together around something like that? I think it’s very uh.
We have to be sophisticated, intellectually uh, that’s very dialectical. We know that and change doesn’t happen like this revolution comes come in the in the broad sense can come from many resources and this accumulation or small event that makes a big change.
It’s, never one! So no leader, enlightened leader, will will make the channel – hopefully not. I i’m, not in this, of course, conception um, but so um. I do think that the citizen movement is central.
I can take a very concrete example. The citizen movement in germany has changed totally the relations that the german, the german government is very. As you know, conscious of the value of the industry and sensitive to the arguments of the industry and until the youth movement, that was the only voice.
And then there were two aspects have changed: that one: that some of the sons and daughters of the of the leaders of this german industry went to the street and asked their parents what they were doing.
What what was they doing on one side and then the you know young are voters as well and you can’t say as a government. I don’t, consider youth young people, it’s, just like you say i’m, not consider what i pray.
What i say every day that i’m looking for the future of my country and then you have the future with saying you are not doing the job and that has changed totally even conservative, guys uh. I would not fight names in the german government, but we were really reluctant to everything on climate and then the shift of was supported by the chancellor and the feeling for the from the business that they have to shift as well.
That’s. Why this is this cumulative movement? Where uh you may have business resisting because of the the representation they have or the profit etc. The citizen movement makes them change their vision or maybe destabilize the condition they have, and then there is a positive loop on the government.
So i believe on the loops and that’s, why we need, and that’s. Why i do that job now that i’m no more in government? If we have to act on every every place, because i don’t know and again it will be opportunity.
It will be you don’t know. Something will happen that combined. That creates this positive loop and we have at the same time, to combat the negative one, because there are very negative ones: isolation, isolationism, nationalism in some cases, uh.
Well, you know you look at the u.s situation and you are afraid climate now is a polarization political issue, polarized totally uh. Now you to, if you are anti-climate and anti-mass it’s, an identity issue, so we have to combat these things.
This misinformation. I think we should spend millions and billions of dollars of resources on misinformation because people they are isolating well, that i’m, saying something which is so trivial isolating their verbal.
They say they look for conspiracy theories, uh, it’s. Still a minority, but it’s, a strong minority and it creates conflicts and so uh. So we have one to use a positive loops and at the same time we we really have to be very careful about the negative ones which are sometimes at the same time manipulated.
Look at the discussion for pre-brexit uh. Everything was used in a way that identity was to be against everything: europe, climate policy, everything so that’s. My so i don’t think there is any contradiction where you are.
You have to do the job where you are as a citizen anyway, and we are all citizens if we have the agency to move from consumer to citizen uh, but then you are in some place in society and do your job. No.
I think we are all responsible and it’s, not about countries or uh you we are, and if we are, you know the the the individual action cannot deliver much huh. There are many studies you can do if you are really really very sensitive to climate change.
At least you can maybe reduce your emission by 15 or 20 percent with an enormous discipline, but the rest you can’t. So what do you do? You can do that, but for what, for the sake of asking the other segment of the society, to be consistent because you are making the effort, so i’m, not a recipe, but anyway it’s like pascal.
We don’t, have the choice. We don’t have the choice and we have to continue whatever we will succeed or not. I don’t know, but we don’t have the choice. I can, i think so. Could you give us a few examples of countries that managed to establish that positive loop? You were you were talking about germany uh, who else in your opinion, is he’s, leading uh healing in that film uh, with all the political contradiction actually for the moment uk in this in this direction? Even if it’s super complicated because of the covet crisis, the management from the government.
But you see that the the civil society movement, which was very strong in uk, combined to the scientific structure which advise the government and the fact that even the conservative party has bet that if you want to get the young voters, he has to have a climate Program we see now that really uk is doing well under on the um on this direction of climate policy and achievement because they now, of course, i know that they are discussing about opening a new coal mine.
I hope they will renounce that, but they have shifts really for a coal base. Electricity to a renewable electricity – mostly so i think uk is a – is again contradictory, difficult, but it’s an example of a positive loop uh.
I see ireland in in that direction as well, where the citizens are really actively pressing, um and again, of course, sweden and denmark, where of course, the citizen has always had a huge pressure on companies and on the government and with, i think, a lot of success.
What we have to see if this happened only in western europe or uh or elsewhere, which is of course, what kind of positive loop you have. I see good elements, for example in kenya or some well. Kenya is a good example where citizens have fought against some coal installation to get more clean energy and they won through litigation by the way um.
I see uh really uh ngo fighting in india on having clean air in cities. So we see that but of course, depending on the political regime, the capacity of citizens who have agency it’s changing. But for the moment i think again.
The green deal is a product of citizen mobilization, which was indirect or direct, and that’s. Why it? It has stayed like this. It’s, not a top-down element, exactly it was really a bottom-up one. We, even though we we’d, like to stay here forever, we’re gonna have to wrap up, and so my final uh question before kevin wraps up my final question for you uh laurence, i mean you’ve, Been you’ve, been in this for for a long time, and you’re still in the thick of it, and pushing all the efforts and bringing your energy.
What what is making you? The most hopeful today um really to achieve progress towards the paris agreement, and i think the fact that it’s, no more an isolated thing in the u.n conference and that’s. A discussion is everywhere that my first element of optimism – and i see that now people are linking a number of issues – biodiversity, protection of nature, social justice, everything with climate.
It’s, not something in a bubble. It’s, something that can connect us all, and i think that that’s. What makes me feel that we may be able to change. We may fail, but we may be able to change, because we see that it is a something where everyone can act upon or have an idea or push for something.
Thank you. Thank you. Laurence. It was a really uh such a pleasure, to be uh to be hosting you today, um, i think now it’s, the time to wrap up uh. I’m trying to reflect on what i’ve heard today.