After one week at COP21, I see references to the climate conference everywhere in Paris. The bookshops are displaying titles on climate change. A housewares store has put a soft toy polar bear in the window, between the kitchen stuff. And even at the Rodin Museum, which I visit on Sunday, there is one sculpture of a kissing couple called "Eternal springtime" - a subtle comment on global warming?
Rather proof that my mind is going round and round in circles, with the climate question in the centre. Maybe it is because of this circular thinking that many of the delegates at the climate conference in Le Bourget are swapped after one intensive week. Now the politicians are taking over. The countries have sent their ministers for environment, energy and sustainability for the last round of the negotiations.
From Sweden, Climate and Environment Minister Åsa Romson has come to Paris. She uses the "Action Day" of the COP21 meeting to launch the "fossil-free Sweden" initiative. Sweden has the ambition to be one of the first fossil-free welfare nations in the world, Romson says at the Nordic pavilion. For this, all "actors in society" shall help: municipalities, companies, organisations.
Vattenfall is supporting the initiative; we want to drive the energy transition faster and further towards decarbonisation. That goes beyond our traditional business model and includes, for example, efforts in e-mobility and partnerships with cities.
"Cities stand for 70 per cent of carbon emissions in the world", says Katarina Luhr from the City of Stockholm at the "fossil-free Sweden" event. "We have an important role to play." Transport is a central question for all cities.
Gothenburg runs a bus line with electric busses from Volvo who wants to be a leader in that field. "This is not about being a good citizen", says Volvo's Niklas Gustafsson. "It's about business." I understand: Sustainability has become a prerequisite for future profitability. No sustainability, no business.
Katarina Maaskant from Ikea says that the company, since three months ago, is selling only energy efficient LED lamps. And the whole production of furniture worldwide shall be based on renewable energy until 2020. Maaskant: "We have asked our customers. They want us to help them to live more sustainably." Just as much as they want nice and affordable furniture.
This is confirmed by "World Wide Views", a global citizen consultation initiative whose results are presented at the COP meeting. 10.000 citizens from 76 countries around the globe have participated this summer and shared their views on climate and energy. A clear majority from all countries (78%) feels very concerned about climate change. 71% want the Paris Agreement to include legally binding targets for all countries. And two of three citizens (66%) see measures to fight climate change as an opportunity to improve their life quality.
Paris is a good place to enjoy the quality of life. The newly renovated and reopened Rodin Museum offers a beautiful garden in the middle of the city. Even if the flowering roses in December remind me, once more, of our topic.
Or is it the special climate of Paris?
Vattenfall’s coverage of the COP21 climate change talks in Paris
Vattenfall's Head of Communications Ivo Banek is attending the climate conference COP21 in Paris as an observer. Here, he writes about his personal impressions.
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