Fresh Energy at the Global Climate Summit in Madrid

December 9, 2019 | Breaking news: 80 CEOs, so far, have signed Joint Labor Union and CEO Statement on the Paris Agreement

CEOs, Labor Unions and Investors stand united during COP25

This afternoon I was at the official, unprecedented publicity of the Joint Labor Union and CEO Statement on the Paris Agreement, live from four of the CEO signers.

The letter is short and very clear, including: “The promise of the Paris Agreement is one of a just and prosperous world. We urge the United States to join us in staying in.” Andrew Liveris was in Madrid, and is the former chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company; he said from the podium, “The unions are with us, and businesses are with the unions in the U.S. in support of the Paris Agreement.” Please read this path-breaking leadership below.


Joint Labor Union and CEO Statement on the Paris Agreement
Click here for the full statement and list of signers.

In addition to the AFL-CIO, the U.S. national union federation that represents more than 12.5 million working Americans, CEOs of two companies with important Minnesota presence also signed: The chairman and CEO of Trane-Thermo King-Ingersoll Rand, and the chairman and CEO of Cargill, the Minnesota company that has considerable influence in the world’s food system.

Cargill boosts global climate commitment

“Climate change left unchecked will destabilize the food system, as well as the farmers and ranchers at the heart of it,” David MacLennan, Cargill’s chief executive said. “We are determined to innovate, scale and implement solutions together with producers, our customers and governments worldwide.”

Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. committed last week to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its entire supply chain by 30 percent per ton of product in the next decade. The new target is known as a Scope 3 goal, encompassing emissions from Cargill’s suppliers and customers, which are both numerous and geographically diverse.

“Cargill doesn’t exactly know how it will achieve its 30 percent per ton reduction goal for its entire supply chain, but a large chunk will come in its North American beef business and new pilot programs for regenerative agriculture practices for farmers.”

A review of Cargill’s supply chain determined that a 30% emissions reduction would align with the Paris Agreement commitment for keeping global warming to “well below” 2 degrees C from preindustrial levels.

U.S. Delegation meets with 50 American observers (including Fresh Energy) this afternoon

On Friday, the United States Department of State offered to meet with many nongovernmental organizations based in the U.S. who are observing COP25 on the Monday of this, the second (and ending) week of the climate summit. We were hosting this meeting with 50 badged observers to the COP25 work, and welcomed six professional negotiators and other staff to take our questions. I was selected from the American group to speak to the negotiators about the leadership of Minnesota’s legislature and governor in leading to cheap, fast, clean energy transformation so far, and poised to take more bold action.

The Department of State also agreed to find a time for the U.S. head of delegation, Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, to have an open meeting later this week with the observers from the United States. I will report out fully on both of these meetings in my post-COP25 webinar, to be held during lunchtime in Minnesota early in January; people can join the webinar for free.

I’ve also tweeted about some of today’s statements of import; please follow me @jdrakehamilton to stay connected.

More insights posted daily on Tuesday through COP25 ends on Friday, December 13. Enjoy!


December 5, 2019 | J. Drake Hamilton represents Fresh Energy the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid

COP25 to Be the Launchpad for Significantly More Climate Ambition

From the morning of December 7 I will be at the climate negotiations in Madrid, reporting back to you on the crucial commitments needed: bold, ambitious, and scalable climate actions from the nations. I will track how we’re operationalizing the scientific climate action consensus.  You’ll hear from me most days for the next week. Expect me to report on committed actions at the scale of the climate change emergency. Early in January, Fresh Energy will host a free webinar to answer the frequent questions I’ve been getting.

This is my first benchmarking communication to you, to make sure you know what we need.

As the global climate emergency intensifies and greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow, governments have gathered now in Madrid for the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 (concluding on 13 December 2019) to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process.

The conference takes place under the Presidency of the Government of Chile and will be held with logistical support from the Government of Spain.

Progress I’ll Track by the Subnational U.S. Delegation in Madrid

Two years ago, US cities, states, tribes, cultural organizations, businesses, faith groups, and universities asserted their power as American climate leaders. Stepping in for the federal government, their presence at the UN Climate Summit has been key to their mission to maintain and achieve bolder American progress in its national climate goals. The U.S. Department of State sent a small team of negotiators to Madrid this year, but the American public’s voice on climate action will be best represented by US subnational and non-state actors.

Minnesota’s delegation to Madrid includes people representing 3M, Cargill, Fresh Energy, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the State of Minnesota, Target, and the University of Minnesota. I will focus on those vital voices with you in these communications. Expect live tweets from me @jdrakehamilton and daily updates posted at the top of this blog.

With my Minnesota colleagues, we will meet with foreign governments and international counterparts to build connections, strengthen partnerships, and find opportunities to advance American interests and collaborate to tackle the climate emergency.

You’ll get the inside scoop directly from midwestern farmers, and from state officials, businesses, and organizations headquartered in Minnesota.

What Needs to Be Scaled Up Immediately

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change said:

“This year, we have seen accelerating climate change impacts, including increased droughts, storms and heat waves, with dire consequences for poverty eradication, human health, migration and inequality.”

“The world’s small window of opportunity to address climate change is closing rapidly. We must urgently deploy all the tools of multilateral cooperation to make COP25 the launchpad for more climate ambition to put the world on a transformational path towards low carbon and resilience.”

A key objective of COP25 is to raise overall ambition also by completing several key aspects with respect to the full operationalization of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

 “While we have seen some progress with respect to climate-related financing for developing countries, we will continue to urge developed nations to fulfil their pledge of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020,” Ms. Espinosa said. “We also must see overall global finance flows reflect the deep transformation throughout society that we need: away from carbon-heavy investment and towards more sustainable and resilient growth. Drops in the bucket are not enough: we need a sea change.”

COP25 to Set the Stage for Enhanced NDCs

In 2020, nations are to submit new or updated national climate action plans, referred to as Nationally-Determined Contributions, or “NDCs”.

According to the UN Environment Programme’s 2019 Emission Gap Report published this week, unless global greenhouse gas emissions fall by 7.6 percent each year between 2020 and 2030, the world will miss the opportunity to get on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

This means collective ambition would need to increase more than fivefold over current levels to deliver the cuts needed over the next decade for the 1.5°C goal.

The scientific community knows that is “achievable, but to stabilize global temperature rise by 1.5 Celsius by the end of this century, we need to reduce emissions 45 per cent by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It’s an extremely difficult challenge, but meeting it is absolutely necessary to the health, safety and security of everyone on this planet—both in the short- and long-term.”

With regard to raising ambition, COP25 will be informed by the outcomes of the Climate Summit in New York in September co-organized by UN Climate Change this year. We saw a groundswell of new action in the United States, including from states, cities, businesses, and American investors. Those new contributions are critical to embolden the climate and energy transformation we need. I will report to you by live-tweeting and in these blogs: what are the action commitments that are new at this crucial focus time?

Remember: The UN calls on nations to upscale their climate action by 2020, and work together towards achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

The UN Chief said he expected all governments to commit to review their national climate action plans – Nationally Determined Contributions or “NDCs” – with the necessary ambition to tackle the climate emergency in the course of the coming 12 months up to COP26, the date by which governments need to submit updated and enhanced plans. The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Hoesung Lee, pointed to the economic benefits of more ambitious climate action, which could generate opportunities for investment in innovation.

“These investments would generate powerful benefits spilling over to all sectors of society and the economy, making them cleaner, healthier and more resilient,” said Lee.

This week, Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Environment Minister, was formally elected President of the COP. She reminded delegates that work needed to be taken forward at COP25 which can then be captured in improved national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement next year.

“We need to make new and more ambitious commitments which include all of the aspects of climate action: mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. The main vehicle to stimulate more ambition are the Nationally Determined Contributions,” said Schmidt.

Fresh Energy will be especially interested in solid new commitments from the largest emitters; China, India, the EU and Japan are viewed with varying degrees of optimism during the second week of COP25 – it’s the conventional timing for making deeper emissions cuts.

In his speech at opening the climate summit, Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, underlined the importance of women in climate action. Mr. Sanchez celebrated the memory of an American woman scientist who back in 1856 was the first to identify CO2 warming effect.

“I wanted to start by evoking the memory of Eunice Foote for two reasons: first, to rescue her memory, and the memory of so many other women scientists, from the injustice of oblivion,” said Mr. Sanchez. “Second, to remind everyone that it has been a long time since science started warning us about climate change.”

About the UNFCCC

With 197 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. The main aim of the Paris Agreement is to keep a global average temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The ultimate objective of the Paris Agreement and the 1992 UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enables sustainable development.


November 18, 2019 | Preparing for COP25

COP25 Logo

This December, Fresh Energy’s science policy director, J. Drake Hamilton, will travel to Madrid, Spain, to participate in the United Nations 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25). The COP25 summit will bring together an estimated 35,000 people from almost 200 countries with the goal of accelerating joint climate action in all nations to meet the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions needed to avoid the worst damages of climate change.

This is J.’s fifth time attending this summit, which is part of the ongoing United Nations negotiations that created the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Although President Trump has initiated the process to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, Minnesota and other states in an American majority remains committed to climate action, including meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Hamilton will be posting daily updates from the summit beginning on December 2. She anticipates giving readers timely news on the most impactful parts of the negotiations.

If you are interested in receiving updates about what will be happening at this global summit, please fill out the form below. J. will be hosting a post-event reflection webinar on the results of the negotiations the week of January 6, 2020, stay tuned for details.

Follow J. on Twitter and Fresh Energy on Facebook for all the latest news.

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