On 22 September, the United Nations (UN) launched a new initiative in New York, Climate Neutral Now, calling on businesses and individuals to reduce their climate footprints. The world is currently on track to exceed the two degree average warming limit needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. As well as action by governments, voluntary action by business and individuals is needed to ensure we get on track to avoid the worst of climate change and transition to climate neutrality by the second-half of the 21st century.
The UN initiative, Climate Neutral Now, aims to make it easy for everyone to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas emissions. Business needs to play its part in meeting this challenge. From the start, IPC supports the initiative, which is also backed by large companies including Microsoft, Sony, the adidas Group and Marks & Spencer
The Climate Neutral Now initiative urges individuals, companies and governments to:
1. Measure their climate footprint
2. Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible
3. Offset what they cannot reduce using UN-certified emissions reductions
Climate Neutral Now provides a simple UN certified method for acting, as well as ways to support that action through an online portal.
At the occasion of the launch in New York, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said:
“Climate neutrality is a long term vision of the world we want this century and backed by science. The new universal agreement to be inked in Paris this December at COP21 needs to be a springboard to that future. It is going to require action today and tomorrow and everyone needs to get on board-- from governments and corporations to cities, regions and individuals”.
“I've already pledged to personally become Climate Neutral Now and invite you to join me in measuring, reducing and offsetting your emissions. Over time the need for offsets is going to decline as energy systems become ever more low carbon, healthy ecosystems like forests expand and we arrive at a climate neutral world in the second half of the century. Climate change will affect everyone, yet everyone can effect positive change starting today and beginning now,” she added.
The initiative includes a new online platform that anyone can use which makes it easy to quickly select from a range of UN verified emissions reductions for offsetting. It also links to organisations that can provide businesses with climate footprint measurement and reduction advice and support. All of the projects providing offsets through the new online platform contribute to sustainable development in the developing world as well as reducing global emissions.
Offsetting is a positive way of reducing global emissions while also benefiting the developing world that complements direct emission reductions. Climate Neutral Now offers Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) which are drawn from the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The offsets generate revenue for existing projects, of which the CDM has more than 7,600 in 125 developing countries.
The verification system that the UN has now put in place ensures that all offsets sold represent genuine emission reductions. Indeed, recent research conducted by Imperial College London shows that every tonne of CO2 offset via the CDM not only funds GHG reductions, but can deliver up to $664 in additional economic, social and environmental benefits. Through the CDM more than 1.6 billion tons of carbon emissions have been avoided globally through carbon offsetting, whilst simultaneously benefiting the developing world.
The role of businesses in tackling climate change has never been more important. As one of the major contributors of carbon emissions, responsible businesses and organisations need to measure, reduce and offset their emissions.
About Climate Neutral Now
Climate Neutral Now is part of the UNFCCC and is intended to help more individuals and organisations measure, reduce and offset their climate footprints.
For more information visit: http://climateneutralnow.org/
For further information please contact:
David Abbass, Public Information Officer, UNFCCC at: CDM-Press@unfccc.int, +49 (0) 228-815-1511
Nick Nuttall, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach, UNFCCC at: NNuttall@unfccc.int, +49 (0) 228-815-1400