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BSR COP21 Daily Dispatches

December 1 / Day 2

Editor’s Note

Following Sunday’s global climate marches—including a symbolic march of 11,000 pairs of shoes at the Place de République in Paris, where public demonstrations were cancelled—COP21 officially kicked off yesterday with nearly 150 world leaders taking the first step in creating a thriving, clean economy.

At Le Bourget, there was a distinct sense of optimism, with leaders making ambitious calls to action. Chinese President Xi Jinping called COP21 “a new starting line,” while French President François Hollande urged negotiators to be ambitious: “The greatest danger is not that we aim too high and that we miss,” he said. “The greatest danger is that we aim too low and hit it.” U.S. President Barack Obama, who far exceeded his allotted speaking time, said, plainly, “We mean business this time."

An informational meeting during COP21. Photo: Arnaud Bouissou-MEDDE/SG COP21

An informational meeting during COP21. Photo: Arnaud Bouissou-MEDDE/SG COP21

These calls for action were complemented by announcements of new climate commitments from both government and business. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new international solar alliance with 120 other countries to expand clean energy globally, with a goal for India to reach capacity of 100 gigawatts by 2022. Meanwhile, 20 governments announced the launch of “Mission Innovation” to make clean energy widely affordable. Tech industry leaders—including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and others—will encourage investments in this initiative through their newly formed Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Outside of the public addresses, important bilateral meetings took place today among negotiators from the United States, China, and India. These conversations are building on the climate commitments already announced by 184 countries covering 95 percent of global emissions.

We are pleased with the start of COP21, and we hope this momentum continues over the coming two weeks. The atmosphere on day one, coupled with tangible contributions from government, already suggest that the Paris Agreement will offer the private sector the catalytic instrument it needs to lead on emissions reductions and mobilize finance at scale for a clean economy.

Edward Cameron

What's Important Now

With the momentum for climate action building, we must focus on how to realize the vision of a low-emission, climate-resilient world. Here are four things we need to form an ambitious Paris Agreement:

  1. A clear, long-term goal, such as net zero emissions well before the end of the century.
  2. A sign that countries will strengthen their commitments every five years.
  3. An increase in climate finance to shift the trillions needed to build the low-carbon economy.
  4. A robust transparency system that gives business confidence that governments are fulfilling their commitments and that allows companies and investors to detect high-carbon risks and low-carbon opportunities.

BSR's Climate Insights

Below are links to BSR’s latest climate blogs and articles related to COP21. And for real-time insights, follow us on Twitter @BSRnews.

  • Leaders Take First Step in Creating a Thriving, Clean Economy: Read more
  • Walking the Walk: How Food and Agriculture Businesses Take Action on Climate: Read more

Previously, in case you missed it:

  • Business Asks COP21 Negotiators for Specific Text in Paris Agreement to Ensure Ambition: Read more
  • How Business Can Participate in COP21: Read more
  • Where BSR Will Be at COP21: Read more
  • To Catalyze Business Action, the Paris Climate Agreement Must Signal a Low-Carbon Economy: Read more
  • Climate Panel Explores Low-Carbon Future at the BSR Conference 2015: Read more
  • Business Has Three Priorities for Climate Negotiators in Bonn: Read more

What We're Reading

  • Climate: The Big Picture | UNFCCC | November 2015: Read more
  • Paris Conference Could Be Climate Turning Point, Says Obama | BBC | November 30, 2015: Read more
  • COP21 Liveblog Heads of State Speeches | World Resources Institute | November 30, 2015: Read more
  • The Rich World Must Take Greater Responsibility for Climate Change | Narendra Modi | Financial Times | November 29, 2015: Read more
  • Tech Billionaires Team Up to Take On Climate Change | Wired | November 30, 2015: Read more


With so many events and activities taking place in Paris throughout COP21, here’s a short list of events BSR is hosting and where we will have speakers:

  • December 1, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the Climate Generations Area (Green Zone) at Le Bourget

    BSR’s Managing Director of Partnership Development and Research Edward Cameron will speak at "Built to Last: A Functional Agreement to Meet Global Needs," hosted by the World Resources Institute.

  • December 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Galerie des Solutions at Le Bourget

    BSR and Field to Market will host “From Field to Market: Leadership and Collaboration in U.S. and Global Agriculture,” an event sponsored by PepsiCo. For more information, visit www.bsr.org/en/events/view/from-field-to-market-leadership-and-collaboration.

  • December 3, 3-4:30 p.m., in the Conference Center (Blue Zone) at Le Bourget, Observer Room 3

    BSR’s Managing Director of Partnership Development and Research Edward Cameron will speak at “Scaling Up Private-Sector Financing for Adaptation Projects,” hosted by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance, the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Partnership, and the International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer.

  • December 4, 3-6:15 p.m., in the Conference Center (Blue Zone) at Le Bourget

    BSR will host “Short-Lived Climate Pollutants” as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. BSR President and CEO Aron Cramer will provide an address and showcase companies that have pledged to reduce emissions from short-lived climate pollutants, as well as private-sector initiatives led by the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition. BSR will also preview reports written on the topic with the UNEP-Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which will be released in early 2016. For more information, visit newsroom.unfccc.int/lpaa/events/#COP21.


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BSR’s “Business in a Climate-Constrained World” strategy catalyzes private-sector action on climate resilience in two ways: by helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with holding global mean temperature rises to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels and by enhancing adaptive capacity in the face of inevitable climate impacts.


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About BSR

BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. Visit www.bsr.org for more information about BSR’s more than 20 years of leadership in sustainability.

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