A Strategy to Accelerate Climate Action

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On Monday I participated in a “High-Level Chatham House Dialogue” organized by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) and facilitated by Joe Robertson, CCL’s Global Strategy Director. The group assembled for the dialogue included representatives from the energy sector, investment management, sustainable business, civil society and higher education, as well as myself. The purpose? To share perspectives on accelerating climate action. A variety of views were expressed. But one that was shared by all the participants, including those from the energy and private sectors, is that market prices for fossil energy do not reflect their full cost. Missing are the environmental, human health and climate change costs that result from extracting fossil energy, bringing it to market, and burning it. Catalyzing rapid climate action, it was agreed, requires individuals, firms, and public sector actors to shift their decision making, behaviors and investments in ways that reflect the full cost of fossil energy, which some participants estimate to be in the range of $40 to over $100 per ton of carbon in addition to the private costs of fossil energy production. Other views that seemed to have general acceptance among the participants include the importance of transparency and accountability of private and public sector actors, the need to engage a wide range of actors at multiple scales reaching from the individual to the global, the wisdom of a ‘bottom up’ approach that is made up of a patchwork of different actions by different actors (INDCs being just one example) to address the ‘wicked problem’ of climate change, and the importance of communicating the substantial progress represented by INDCs, despite recognition that they are not sufficiently ambitious. This event in Paris is the second in a series of dialogs that CCL is hosting. The first was held in October in Minneapolis, MN. You can read about it here.