Citizens alone cannot mitigate climate change. But it cannot be mitigated without citizens either. In addition to countries, cities, companies and other organizations, citizens have a major role in mitigating climate change. The event takes place at the New Nordic Climate Solutions Pavilion - Section DEL2, Blue Zone, COP22.
Syke - the Finnish Environment Institute studied the material flows within Finland and concluded that household consumption added up to 68% of the carbon footprint in our country (2009). According to a study done this year by Gaia Consulting, with just nine reasonable consumer actions Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced with an amount equivalent roughly to one third of our emission reduction targets by 2030.
Among the most efficient actions are purchasing more certified CO2-free electricity, installing air and geothermal heat pumps and solar panels, using electric or biofuel based cars and using LED lights. In addition there are many other ways citizens could reduce their carbon footprint; for example in starting to prefer food that causes lower GHG emissions. In the future the climate mitigation will be more scattered and transformation to low carbon society will largely depend on consumer choices.
For the commitments to take root, we have to create innovative approaches. One such approach was created in Finland when Citizens Climate Pledge initiative was launched by Stormwarning association in 2015. Citizens Climate Pledge aims to bring the citizens into the center of the societal transition to low-carbon development. In Citizens Climate Pledge individual citizens can announce their personal commitment to cut half their carbon footprint within ten years. Today the initiative has more than 2000 signatories, the present and two former Presidents of Finland, leaders of our largest corporations, musicians, artists and top athletes amongst them.
Citizens Climate Pledge recently grew global. Together with the UNFCCC the Finnish initiators launched the international version of the platform for individual climate contributions in New York on September 8th. Now it is possible for any global citizen to commit to join a global movement of action on climate change. People are encouraged to measure their current individual carbon footprint, to reduce what they can and offset the rest. The thinking is the same than in the UNFCCC’s Carbon Neutral Now initiative.
“The climate talks in Paris last December highlighted the urgent role that individuals are playing in addressing climate change. When we take hands-on action to reduce our personal climate footprint, we join a global movement of action on climate change.” Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC’s Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa.
18.15 Opening, Minister KimmoTiilikainen, Finland
18.20 Citizens role in climate mitigation, Mr. Daniele Violetti, Chief of Staff, UNFCCC Executive Office
18.30 Citizens activation in Finland; results of a new study, Mari Pantsar, Director, Sitra
18.40 Panel discussion and best practice sharing: Experiences and opportunities in activating citizens; results, planned actions, proposals.
- Ms. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
- Ms Yvon SLINGENBERG, Director 'International and Mainstreaming', DG Climate Action, EC
- Ministers of the Environment from Nordic countries, Kenya, Canada and Morocco (TBC)
19.40 Citizens Climate Pledge, Jouni Keronen, Executive Director, Climate Leadership Council
19.45 Opportunity to sign Citizens Climate Pledge in Nordic Pavilion.
Watch the streaming from the event: