UN Climate Change News, 2 December 2018 – A team of cyclists on electric bikes arrived at the UN Climate Change Conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland (2 to 14 December) today, having cycled more than 600 kilometers from Vienna to demonstrate the value of cycling and e-mobility to reduce emissions.
The purpose of the initiative, sponsored by the UN Global Compact Network Spain and energy company Iberdrola, is to raise awareness on the importance of uniting efforts and taking ambitious measures to implement the Paris Agreement. Under the agreement, countries have committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the global average rise in temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Carlos Sallé, Energy Policies and Climate Change Director at Iberdrola, said: “We need to change the narrative and explain to citizens that decarbonizing the economy is less costly than non-decarbonizing it, because we are already dealing with the costly problems derived from burning fossil fuels through governments’ health and infrastructure budgets”.
“The fight against climate change is a must, we have to turn risks into business opportunities and we must increase ambition and urgency,” he added.
The cycling team, dubbed “Moving for Climate NOW”, is a multi-disciplinary group made up of about 40 people from different institutions and countries. The expedition includes participants from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency, the Spanish Office of Climate Change, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), among other organizations.
The cyclists were welcomed by the UN Climate Change Deputy Executive Secretary, Ovais Sarmad, and Jakub Gibek, Head of the Climate Policy Unit of the Ministry of Environment of Poland.
“I commend the cyclists involved in this bike tour for inspiring the world to move in the right direction to fulfil the promise of the Paris Agreement", said Mr. Sarmad. "This is the most important COP since the signing of the agreement, and we need initiatives like yours to testify that governments, the private sector and individuals can work together to tackle climate change by committing to multilateralism.”
The cycling team brought a “Moving for Climate NOW Manifesto” to Katowice as its contribution to the Talanoa Dialogue, in which the organizations involved commit to building up forces all around the world and mobilizing society to tackle climate change.
To ensure that the cycling expedition was 100% carbon neutral, all unavoidable emissions were compensated through the platforms Climate Neutral Now and Spanish CeroCO2. Both Climate Neutral Now and CeroCO2 support projects in developing countries which contribute to climate action and sustainable community development.
Victor Viñuales, deputy chairman at the UN Global Compact Network Spain, said:
“Climate is one of the pillars of the Development Agenda for 2030 and it is a challenge that cannot be tackled individually. Collective action through partnerships enhances our chances of success, so this initiative’s aim is to broaden the level of engagement, reaching as many stakeholders as possible.”
“To contribute to Sustainable Development Goals we need: collective action, government commitment, private sector becoming a force for good, awareness and measurement,” he added.
Other organizations with participants involved in the cycling expedition were the Spanish Biodiversity Foundation, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), IIDMA, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, P4G (Partnerships for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030), African Development Bank, Peace Boat, Ayuda en Acción, Spanish National Rugby team, Comillas Pontifical University, Africa Greenco, Neoenergia, Bloomberg NEF, the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) and The Climate Reality Project.
In addition to the bike trip, the initiative seeks to create a space for reflection and participatory dialogue inspired by the Talanoa Dialogue. To this end, over the week-long tour, participants took part in daily debates on topics such as just transition, the role of nature in climate action and corporate and private measures to reduce carbon emissions.
As one of the organizers of Moving for Climate NOW, Iberdrola will take part in events and activities at COP24 to share its expertise as the world’s number one producer of wind energy and discuss climate change as an opportunity for growth in the renewable energy sector.
About UN Global Compact Network Spain
The United Nations Global Compact is the largest voluntary business sustainability initiative in the world. It has two central objectives: To implement ten universally accepted principles to promote sustainable development in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment and the fight against corruption in the activities and strategy of companies. And to get the private sector to contribute to the objectives of the United Nations, currently the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the international level, it is made up of more than 13,000 signatory entities. In Spain, more than 2,600, making it the country with the greatest weight of the initiative.
The Global Compact works for sustainable development through multi-stakeholder and public-private partnerships. As an initiative of the United Nations, it pursues its own development objectives, one of which is the fight against climate change, which is essential for the development of people, societies, the planet, prosperity and justice.
Iberdrola is a global energy leader, the number one producer of wind power and one of the world’s biggest electric utilities by market capitalization. The group is present in numerous countries and supplies power to around 100 million people, mainly in Spain, the UK (ScottishPower), the US (Avangrid), Brazil (Neoenergia) and Mexico. With a workforce of 34,000 and assets in excess of €110 billion, it posted revenues of €31.26 billion and net profit of €2.80 billion in 2017.
Iberdrola is a leader the energy transition towards a sustainable model through its investments in energy from renewable sources, smart grids, large-scale energy storage and digital transformation. Iberdrola is listed on numerous international sustainability indices, among them the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE 4Good, and it is considered one of the most sustainable electric utilities in the world.
About partnerships between UN Climate Change and non-Party stakeholders
The partnership with Iberdrola is part of a series of partnerships between UN Climate Change and relevant stakeholders to support climate action. The partnerships for COP24 promote increased involvement of non-Party stakeholders as foreseen in the Marrakesh Partnership for Global Climate Action (MPGCA).
The MPGCA was a launched at COP22 by the Conference of the Parties, explicitly welcoming climate action of all non-Party stakeholders, including the private sector, to help implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement. All entities of society and business are strongly encouraged to scale up their efforts and support actions to reduce emissions, as well as to build resilience and decrease vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.
More information on partnerships at COP24 is available here.