INSIDE COP21: WATERFALLS

COP21 Ivo Banek’s reflections from Paris today include writing waterfalls, a panel debate, innovation initiatives with youngsters and a changing Vattenfall.

India has a writing waterfall: A magic mechanism is holding back parts of the falling water in a way that the holes form words, like "India", "Paris" and "COP21".
Installed at the Indian booth in the climate conference centre, the writing waterfall is a popular attraction among delegates and visitors. I am pretty sure that everybody in Le Bourget has a film of it on his or her smartphone.

Working for Vattenfall, which is the Swedish word for waterfall, I am particularly interested and stay quite a while to watch. After having completed my film, I try to catch single words on photos and succeed eventually with the term "Energy".

 

“Energy” by Ivo Banek

Energy is one of the key questions at the COP21 meeting, how we produce and use energy has a significant impact on the climate. This insight has pushed our industry into a radical transformation, from carbon-heavy fossil-based production towards renewables.

"The future of our economies is set on the low-carbon pathway," says Achim Steiner from the United Nations Environment Program which organises the "Sustainable Innovation Forum" at the Stade de France in Paris, two train stops from the climate negotiations in Le Bourget.

"We embrace this change," says Ingrid Bonde, Vattenfall's Chief Financial Officer and Deputy CEO, in a panel debate on "Carbon Pricing and Markets" at the Forum. "What we need in order to get there is commitment from both the political and the financial sector." Politics needed to provide a clear framework that gives economic signals through market mechanisms, she says.

Ingrid Bonde interviewed

The European Emission Trading System (ETS) should be further improved and internationally connected to generate an adequate price level for CO2 emissions. Ingrid Bonde: "The carbon price will be the tipping point for the financial sector to invest heavily in new technologies." Vattenfall is already today cooperating with financial investors like funds to develop new wind power production. "We want to do much more of this."

The debate is portrayed in a "graphic recording", the cartoonist Chris Shipton is illustrating live what is said on stage. When Ingrid Bonde speaks, he paints a windmill and writes: "The energy industry cannot do it alone."
 

Graphic recording

Ingrid Bonde is a member of the "Global Commission on the Economy and Climate" that explores "a new path" to bring together sustainability and economy: "Better growth, better climate". Needed for this: "investment and innovation".

Innovation needs young entrepreneurs who come up with new ideas. Vattenfall has therefore started a cooperation with schools in Sweden and asked more than five hundred pupils to develop energy solutions for the future. The outcome is presented at the Sustainability Innovation Forum.

After the terror attacks on November 13, the planned trip of the youngsters to Paris had to be cancelled. Instead, I have the honour to report on behalf of the project "Gnistan", Swedish for "spark", and show the three winning ideas: how to use electricity from lightnings, with a magnetic field and from space. The audience at the Sustainability Innovation Forum in Paris is excited, especially about the short film from the project - check it out: 


Innovation often means to try the impossible. Which makes me think of the Indian booth at COP21 and gives me the encouraging thought that we will be able to act upon climate change: If a waterfall can write, Vattenfall can change.

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.
Follow him on Twitter for live coverage
All about COP21 and Vattenfall at the climate meeting

 

Related content