COP21: LET THERE BE LIGHT IN PARIS

COP21 As the climate negotiations go into overtime, our reporter is back in Sweden and celebrating the bearer of light, Saint Lucia, and reflecting on a world that has taken a “major step forward” to mitigate climate change.

With her crown of light, Lucia is leading the candlelit procession, followed by the handmaidens and the star boys. They are entering the stage, singing songs about how the light comes into the dark.

I am back from Paris in Sweden which celebrates the traditional Saint Lucia day this weekend. Employees at Vattenfall's headquarter in Solna, Stockholm, enjoy the performance of kids from the music school Täby Musikklasser this Friday morning, 11 December.

Enlightenment is needed in Paris as well, where the COP21 climate conference is going into overtime. The negotiations are extended into the weekend to get the international agreement on how to combat climate change finalised.

Having been in Paris for ten days to observe the meeting, I have no doubt that there will be an agreement. Everywhere at the conference centre in Le Bourget I have noticed a spirit of high ambition, driven by a sincere sense of urgency.

"The time for 'should' is over, it's a 'must' that we change now," said for example Peter Schwarzenbauer from BMW when he talked in Paris about the challenges for the car industry and how BMW is working to reduce their carbon footprint.

And Vattenfall's CEO Magnus Hall urged politicians to make a difference. "We support a strong agreement in Paris, with clear and binding targets," he said. "That will provide the pressure needed for change."

Finding the right direction

As it looks now, with the latest draft for a Paris Agreement on the table, the world could agree to work together in order to limit global warming to "well below two degrees". The world would acknowledge that rich countries have a higher responsibility and must do more than poor countries. And that developed countries have to pay for damage already done by climate change as well as they must help developing countries to build up own capacities to be able to help themselves in the future.

To me, that sounds like a major step forward. No matter, how the exact formulations will be: If the countries gathered in Paris can agree on such a joint responsibility, the chances of the world to mitigate climate change will have improved substantially.

Hakima El Haite, the energy minister of Morocco, who will host the COP22 meeting next year, has pointed out what it takes to get there: "courage and solidarity".

What a perfect timing that it is Lucia day this weekend, I think. Let there be light in Paris!

Vattenfall’s coverage of the COP21 climate change talks in Paris
Vattenfall's Head of Communications Ivo Banek has been attending the climate conference COP21 in Paris as an observer and has written about his personal impressions from the summit.
All updates from Paris
All about COP21 and Vattenfall at the climate meeting

 

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