The Art of Waste Management (2)

Key Benchmarks for Assessment

There are a number of concepts about waste management which vary in their usage between countries or regions. Some of the most general, widely-used concepts include:

1. Waste Hierarchy: The waste hierarchy refers to the “3 Rs” reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste management strategies according to their desirability in terms of waste minimization. The waste hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste (Wikipedia 2008).

2. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): This is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 1999).Extended producer responsibility imposes accountability over the entire life cycle of products and packaging introduced on the market. This means that firms, which manufacture, import and/or sell products and packaging, are required to be financially or physically responsible for such products after their useful life. They must either take back spent products and manage them through reuse, recycling or in energy production, or delegate this responsibility to a third party, a so-called Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), which is paid by the producer for spent-product management. In this way, EPR shifts responsibility for waste from government to private industry, obliging producers, importers and/or sellers to internalise waste management costs in their product prices (Hanisch 2000). A life-cycle perspective is also taken in Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) frameworks: “Producers of products should bear a significant degree of responsibility (physical and/or financial) not only for the environmental impacts of their products downstream from the treatment and disposal of their product, but also for their upstream activities inherent in the selection of materials and in the design of products” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2001). “The major impetus for EPR came from northern European countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as they were facing severe landfill shortages. EPR is generally applied to post-consumer wastes which place increasing physical and financial demands on municipal waste management” (Environment Protection Authority New South Wales 2003).

3. Polluter Pays Principle:  In environmental law, the polluter pays principle is the principle that the party responsible for producing pollution should also be responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment. With respect to waste management, this generally refers to the requirement for a waste generator to pay for appropriate disposal of the waste. Polluter pays is also known as extended polluter responsibility (EPR). This is a concept that was probably first described by the Swedish government in 1975. EPR seeks to shift the responsibility dealing with waste from governments (and thus, taxpayers and society at large) to the entities producing it. In effect, it internalises the cost of waste disposal into the cost of the product, theoretically meaning that the producers will improve the waste profile of their products, thus decreasing waste and increasing possibilities for reuse and recycling (Wikepedia 2008). Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development defines extended polluter responsibility as:
A concept where manufacturers and importers of products should bear a significant
degree of responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products throughout the product life-cycle, including upstream impacts inherent in the selection of materials for the products, impacts from manufacturers’ production process itself, and downstream impacts from the use and disposal of the products. Producers accept their responsibility when designing their products to minimise life-cycle environmental impacts, and when accepting legal, physical or socio-economic responsibility for environmental impacts that cannot be eliminated by design (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2001).

4. Zero Waste: This is a philosophy that aims to guide people in the redesign of their resourceuse system with the aim of reducing waste to zero. Put simply, zero waste is an idea to extend the current ideas of recycling to form a circular system where as much waste as possible is reused, similar to the way it is in nature (Wikepedia 2008). Zero waste requires that we maximize our existing recycling and reuse efforts, while ensuring that products are designed for the environment and having the potential to be repaired, reused, or recycled (“What is Zero Waste? 2004). The zero-waste strategy is to turn the outputs from every resource-use into the input for another use, or in other words outputs become inputs. An example of this might be the cycle of a glass milk bottle. The primary input (or resource) is silica-sand, which is formed into glass and formed into a bottle. The bottle is filled with milk and distributed to the consumer. At this point normal waste methods would see the bottle disposed in a landfill or similar, but with a zerowaste method the bottle can be saddled with a deposit, at the time of sale, which is redeemed to the bearer upon return. The bottle is then washed, refilled, and re-sold. The only material waste is the wash-water, and energy loss has been minimized. Zero Waste is a goal, a process, a way of thinking that profoundly changes our approach to resources and production. Not only is Zero Waste about recycling and diversion from landfills, it also restructures production and distribution systems to prevent waste from being manufactured in the first place. In addition, the materials that are still required in these re-designed, resource-efficient systems will be recycled back into production (Roper 2006: p. 326).
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References

· Ackerman F 1997. Why Do We Recycle?: Markets, Values, and Public Policy. Washington: Island Press.
· Alan B 2007. The Self-Sufficiency Handbook: A Complete Guide to Greener Living. New York: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.
· Castell A, Clift R, Francae C 2004. Extended Producer Responsibility Policy in the European Union: A Horse or a Camel? Journal of Industrial Ecology, 8: 4 – 7.
· Hanisch C 2000. Is Extended Producer Responsibility Effective? Environ Sci. Technol, 34: 170 -175.
· Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2001. Extended Producer Responsibility: A Guidance Manual for Governments. Paris, France. From Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development fact sheet about EPR:<http://www.oecd.org/document&gt;
· Roper W 2006. Strategies for building material reuses and recycle. International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, 6: 313 – 345.
· The Economist, Weekly, June 7, 2007 “The truth about recycling” <http://www.economist.com&gt;
· The League of Women Voters 1993. The Garbage Primer. New York: Lyons & Burford, pp. 35-72.
· Tierney J 1996. Recycling Is Garbage. New York Times, Daily, June 30, 1996, P. 3.
· Tong X., Lifset R, Lindhqvist T 2004. Extended Producer Responsibility in China: Where is Best Practice? Journal of Industrial Ecology, 8: 6-9.
· Wikipedia 2008. Recycling. Website 2008 <http:// http://www.wikipedia.org>;
· Winter J 2007. A world without waste-The ‘zero waste’ movement imagines a future where everything is a renewable resource. The Boston Globe, pp. 1-3. From LexisNexis database: Website 2008 <https:// http://www.lexisnexis.com>;
· Zero Waste California Fact Sheet 2004. What is Zero Waste California?  From Website 2008 <http:// http://www.zerowaste.ca. gov/WhatIs.htm>

The Art of Waste Management (1)

Pigou, the economist who wanted to tax the smog

Cecil Arthur Pigou (1877-1959)

Cecil Arthur Pigou (1877-1959)

Founder of the Polluter Pays Principle, the English economist Arthur Cecil Pigou comes out of the shadows.

British Petroleum assumed responsibility for the oil disaster occurred in April 21 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion of the floating platform released tons of oil and threatened the entire U.S. Gulf Coast. BP noted that the Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) did not suffer further discussion. This principle is based on measures adopted since forty years to prevent the damage inflicted on nature by the producers, repair them in case of accident or punish them for violations.

This principle of polluter pays arouse as such in the work of an English liberal economist Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-1959). As a supporter of regulation by the markets, the founder of the Economics School of Cambridge noted that, left to themselves, these markets suffer from imperfections. For example, they do not take into account the “external” costs of products, such as pollution. In The Economics of Welfare (1920), he developed the idea that an economic agent whose activities generate negative externalities makes the community to support a cost higher than it supports as a private agent. Rather than banning the activity, it was necessary to discourage putting a price on its negative effects. This was to be paid in the form of taxes that would eliminate the gap between the private cost and the social cost of this activity. Pigou proposed e.g. to introduce such a tax on emissions from London smokestacks to fight against smog.

This same reasoning led him to advocate a compulsory health insurance: what one pays to stay healthy, for example, by vaccinating, has positive externalities on the environment which yet does not participate in the expenses. This positive externality therefore deserved to be distributed equitably.

By the time they were issued, these ideas have not been successful. A proposed tax could frighten the economic establishment, yet close to Pigou for his views on the flexibility of labor markets and hostility to regulation of wages. Regarding left-winger economists and thinkers, they excluded that pollution — considered a crime — could be any bargain, as if a polluter stopped being left when becoming a payer. Having also objected to John Maynard Keynes, whom he was professor, Pigou found himself in the shadow of the glory ousted by his prestigious student and friend.

The increase of environmental risks and environmental accidents in the second half of the twentieth century, however, brought his reflections on the front of the stage. Faced with threats to ban their dangerous activities, or a highly restrictive state control, farmers have gradually agreed to take responsibility in this area and consider the management of adverse consequences of their productions. In 1972, the OECD erected the polluter-pays basis for the protection of the environment. In 2003, the European Parliament did the same, following what several countries did before — Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, a derived concept, the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), stated that « producers of products should bear a significant degree of responsibility (physical and/or financial) not only for the environmental impacts of their products downstream from the treatment and disposal of their product, but also for their upstream activities inherent in the selection of materials and in the design of products ».

These words, which seem commonplace today, took almost sixty years to be heard.

The CO2 tax, introduced in countries such as Sweden and Switzerland in 2008 and 2009, is the quintessential example of a « Pigouvian » tax. It is not about an income tax because the entire collection is redistributed to citizens (through medical insurance). It is rather a save incentive as it rises fuel prices. Without any ideological opponent confessed, the carbon tax has many practical issues however: as it makes consumer to bear the responsibility for pollution, it faces strong political obstacles. Many countries prefer CO2 emission quotas instead, allowing trading on an international market for quotas established by the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 — signed and ratified by 187 states to date.

If the concept of responsibility was installed in people’s minds, and if the economic explanatory of externalities proposed by Pigou found an echo within the political left, there is yet no international system that institutionalizes the application form as to guarantee the neutrality and impartiality. The concept occupies many researchers — as many skeptics who are ready to set off the alarms at the slightest attempt.

A Pigou Club, founded in 2006 by the American Republican economist Gregory Mankiw, ensure the sustainability of pigouvism in its various interpretations. It includes, among its sixty members, well-known economists like Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, Ralph Nader or Jeffrey Sachs; politicians like Michael Bloomberg and Al Gore; and even the actor William Baldwin. They all support the principle of a gas and/or a CO2 tax, and any form of eco-tax to internalize the same social and environmental costs of energy. Some of them, not all, call for offsetting tax cuts on income or sales.

From where he is, Arthur Cecil Pigou watches his new friends with an ironic satisfaction. We guess, behind his mustache, the pleasure of victory.

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References:

· Cecil Arthur Pigou, The Economics of Welfare, Library of Congress (U.S.), 2009
· Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2001. Extended Producer Responsibility: A Guidance Manual for Governments. Paris, France. From Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development fact sheet about EPR:<http://www.oecd.org/document> (Retrieved February 2010).

Lima Climate Talks should deliver first draft for 2015 climate deal

1922061_700198980057201_8218442381976835140_nUN summit to steer the course for a binding global commitment on carbon emissions in Paris

The meeting of nearly 200 governments in Peru in mid-December this year for a major UN climate change summit must produce the first draft of a global deal to cut emissions.

But one must be aware that slow progress at the last round of talks in Warsaw, Poland, meant significant progress is needed in key areas including climate financing and how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

The meeting in Lima in December is a staging point towards a crunch summit in Paris in 2015 when it is hoped world leaders will agree, for the first time, a global deal on cutting emissions that includes both rich and poor countries.

A solid working draft is mandatory

Significant progress would also need to be made in Lima on the Green Climate Fund (a mechanism to transfer money from the developed to the developing world), the issue of “loss and damage” (whether rich countries should pay poor ones for damage caused by climate change) and a UN scheme to tackle emissions caused by forests being cleared.

Not easy to be optimistic but realistic about the meeting since its success would depend on the political will of the heads of state who attended the preceding UN climate summit in New York in September.

The UN secretary general’s idea is precisely that the presidents bring the political will to give the COP the momentum it needs to be sufficiently successful and to count on the political support to make a decision. Would the Lima summit leave a legacy in Peru’s fast-developing and industrialising pace by fixing its sights on green growth with clean technologies and low emissions…

Peru has a lot to lose from climate change. People in the Amazon region, the Andes Mountains and on its arid coast are already feeling the impact, and the country is one of the most biodiverse on Earth.

It has the world’s largest concentration of tropical glaciers, but has already lost 39% of them due to a 0.7C temperature rise in the Andes between 1939 and 2006. Peru has the world’s fourth largest area of rainforest and deforestation accounts for more than 40% of the country’s carbon emissions. Approximately 20% of emissions are generated by ranching and farming, the Peru environment minister Mr Pulgar-Vidal said.

Peru’s climate authorities priority is obviously the forest and they are working out the state of the forest –they are working with the Carnegie Institution for Science to use state-of-the art technology to map the country’s extensive tropical forest and scientifically measure its carbon stocks.

“People must understand that the standing forest has value and rewarding ecosystem services can lead to a change in behaviour, the issues are complex but we have clear strategies to tackle them,” says Mr Manuel Pulgar-Vidal. He pointed out recently of schemes including financial compensation for indigenous communities who conserve the rainforest and attempts to involve the private sector in forest preservation.

But illicit logging and an exponential increase in illegal gold mining in the Amazon since the 2008 global economic crisis present the biggest threats to Peru’s forest cover.

Spotlight on murders of activists as Peru prepares for Lima climate talks

Peru Government is regularly accused of neglecting people defending their land and forests against mining and illegal logging.

Two weeks before Peru hosts a key global climate conference, the country has come under fire for failing to protect activists who were murdered trying to defend the country’s rapidly diminishing rainforest and other ecosystems.

The South American nation has become the fourth most dangerous state in the world for environmental and land defenders, according to the NGO Global Witness, which accused the government of putting a dangerous emphasis on exploitation rather than conservation of natural resources.

When it comes to vegetarianism

When I attend endless debates on human physiology to determine our primary feeding method, see what happens…

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Because the question no longer is: « Are we made to eat meat / plants / rocks / light », it is about something very simple:  « Can we do otherwise? »

Hear: « Can we eat without killing a hungry child on the continent next door, hurting anyone, tap into our resources to the very dregs, and run deeper into the ecological disaster that we started? »

And « Can we improve our health and the management of access to food in the world? »

Or « Are we still able to move towards a world where inequalities are actually tackled? »

Finally: « Are we to that point intellectually limited to commit suicide against our own life place? »

The answers to most of these questions already exist: yes, we can do otherwise.

So what are you waiting for? Consuming means choosing the world we want to live and that is predestined for future generations. What will you choose?

 

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At nature’s mighty feast there is no vacant cover for everyone

Population7billion(Click to enlarge)

On the one hand, these three numbers: 3 billion people in 1960, 7 billion in 2014, whose half, 3’5 billion, are living in cities. On the other, the obvious: major climate change shook the world during this period.

For many demographers, the comparison is not relevant. But not for everyone. In France, Jacques Véron, a researcher at the National Institute of Demographic Studies, is working to cross population factors, lifestyle and technical progress. He explains that one way to link digitally the population to the environment is to estimate the « carrying capacity ». We are talking, for example, of the capacity of a sheep herd, that is to say, its size limited to and fro which it can no longer live in the area it has chosen without devastate and therefore suffer. Applied to humanity, what is the capacity of the latter on the Earth, to and fro which, life is no longer possible? At what point there will be too many people chasing too few resources? Fear of overflow and its implications for the future of mankind on Earth is not new. What does say Malthus in 1803 of « A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labour »? He is simply in the way, unwelcome. The formula is famous. It is lapidary: « At nature’s mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. »

And what happens, says Malthus, if, on the contrary, « these guests get up and make room for him»? Well, in that case, « the happiness of the guests is destroyed by the spectacle of misery and dependence in every part of the hall. »

Jacques Veron seizes this parable of the feast that defends the legitimacy of the populations to consume regardless of the following, to overthrow it. And he contrasts his definition of sustainable development that encourages, instead, to consider the rights of future generations. The overflow –let us remember— the great fear of the mid-twentieth century, « 700 millions de Chinois. Et moi ? Et moi ? Et moi ? »(*). The planet is then in and extensive demographic explosion. Specialists made therefore some calculations and projections that are downright frightening. In 1972 a report by the MIT, on behalf of the Club of Rome, warned about the population growth, a threat to the future of humankind, and as it could ultimately lead to a depletion of resources. It is urgent to stop it.

Fifteen years later, in 1987, the famous Brundtland Report came into the light, in preparation for the Earth Summit. It also called for stabilizing the population at 6,000,000,000. But despite political birth control (especially in China), despite the ongoing demographic transition, that number will be exceeded by 7 billion in 2014, and is expected to reach nearly 10 billion in 2050 and this time … carrying capacity could reach its limit.

One has the feeling that in spite of all these data, the reports are not obvious.
In the 1960s, biologist Paul R. Ehrlich published « The Population Bomb ». It refocuses the environmental question on the issue of population pressure. It leads to conclusions that are not very humanistic, for example, sterilization. Since, in fact, demographers have not been much engaged in the environmental issue as a result of the discrediting of their « anti-humanism». Emmanuel Todd or Hervé Le Bras, only belatedly became interested in these issues, even though environment plays a fundamental role in demography.

As for environmentalists, are they being taken sufficiently into account the concern on population growth? Is there a population problem? If you look at the history of mankind as a trajectory, the last two millennia, people have just about doubled; when in the space of a century, the twentieth, it was multiplied by 6, a sudden acceleration peak in the pace … but then what is the figure of a « normal » population? This calculation depends on scholar lifestyles, available technology, populations’ dispersals, social innovations, wealth sharing, and many other phenomena, well … that give rise to the most fanciful figures on the future. Most likely, it seems, is that around 10 billion. For the moment at least…

But the population is not evenly distributed across the Planet territory. There is a difference here between overcrowding in urban areas and the overall volume of people on Earth.
Urban crowding is a reality: there are local problems of overpopulation, but at the same time this does not imply the existence of a global problem of population growth. The problem is the way of life (we pollute too much, we are consuming too much energy), not the number. This is a « cultural » problem —the well-known « ecological footprint »— that should be fixed. Taking as an example the problem of global warming, and therefore a problem that is not « local », the British environmentalist James Lovelock believes that overpopulation and climate change are two sides of a same coin. However, the most populated regions are not those that emit the most greenhouse gas emissions, but the richest and/or in high-growth regions. The United States has plenty of space for little people —and it is among the largest emitters.

The problem is not how many we are, but how we live. This is a question of social organization, and again, of management and usage of land and resources.

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(*) A well know French song by Jacques Dutronc

Livestock, Meat and human health

LIVESTOCK is itself a risk factor for our health. Industrial production systems have long been the norm in developed countries and are becoming more prevalent in developing countries. The huge number of animals kept in confinement, with a very low genetic variability, and subject to rapid growth in appalling conditions, creates ideal conditions for the emergence and spread of new pathogens.

Not to mention the scandals in the food industry: BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), growth hormones, bird flu, foot and mouth disease…

Some scenes from the movie Samsara on factory farming became the norm in so-called advanced countries

Thus, modern livestock production systems are incubators for viruses, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and other proponents of “flu” of all kinds. As one FAO survey reports: “It is not surprising that three-quarters of new pathogens affecting humans in the last decade come from animals or animal products.”

Consumption of red meat damages health

The consumption of meat has the effect of increasing the prevalence of the following diseases: cancers (colon, prostate, bowel, rectum), cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, type 2 [10] diabetes, impaired cognitive functions, gallstones, rheumatoid arthritis.

“Various factors seem to pose a problem in red meat. Including Iron plays an oxidizing role, promoting inflammatory diseases and aging when present in excessive amounts, especially in men or postmenopausal women. Fats present in red meat, saturated majority or omega-6, may also play a role, “says the website La Nutrition.fr.

The meat is carcinogenic

The Global Fund for Cancer Research presented in 2010 a detailed 7000 clinical studies on the links between diet and cancer examination. It shows that processed meats may be hazardous to human consumption and are strongly linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Processed meats (ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, salami, and almost all meat present in dishes such as pizza, lasagna or ravioli) are usually manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient sodium nitrate. Sodium nitrate is used primarily as a coloring that makes us believe that the meat is fresh. However, sodium nitrate (saltpeter or Chile) combines with the meat proteins to give nitrosamines, highly carcinogenic.

A study conducted by the University of Hawaii in 2005 found that eating processed meat increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%, while another study showed it increased the risk of colorectal cancer 50 %!

Other food additive added monosodium glutamate or MSG (E621). Present in virtually all processed meat products, it would be linked to neurological disorders such as migraine, Alzheimer’s disease, loss of appetite control, obesity …

Eating meat is not essential

Contrary to popular belief, the products of animal origin are not essential to human health. The joint position of American and Canadian dietitians, released in 2003, made a good summary of this reality. These two organizations, which include 70,000 dietitians, endorsed that “vegetarian diets (including vegan) conducted properly, are good for health, nutritionally adequate and beneficial for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. ” This position of the American Dietetic Association was reaffirmed in 2009.

In addition, the service sector of our society and our way of life increasingly sedentary no longer justifies the consumption of meat.

It is in the rich countries as consumption of animal products is strongest, a situation which does not meet any nutritional need and cause catastrophic environmental damage. But farming is supported there by significant public funding …

UN climate talks Get-up-and-go!

summit-banner-668-enAmbition and transformation needed

The one-day United Nations Climate Summit wrapped up in New York. They were held to lead up to meetings in Lima and Paris. What for? What needs to happen next?

• The results of the summit.

The climate summit in New York on Tuesday (23.09.2014), was supposed to prepare climate negotiations scheduled for later this year in Lima, Peru, and then in Paris next year.

Some of the top-line initiatives that were launched and discussed were a mayor’s compact to reduce emissions by up to 16 percent. We heard about forests, improving supply chains, reducing deforestation, helping half a billion farmers.

We heard oil and gas companies committing to curb methane. We heard the finance sector talking about investing $200 billion in low-carbon economies. We heard about an inspiring, Africa green clean energy corridor.

So what we saw is countries of the world coming together, putting their commitments on the table and saying: In some ways, these are things we have to do anyway, but we want to show our willingness and our commitment to fight climate change together.

Every region, every country is coming with tailored country-specific or region-specific solutions for those sets of particular climate challenges – but everybody is coming with something. There’s a great recognition, like the secretary general said, « all hands on deck. » Everything that we have is needed.

It was inspiring, but it’s not enough, from a scientific perspective. The kinds of commitments that were put on the table on Tuesday [23.09.2014] were not binding. They are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ambition needed. They certainly set the trajectory in a positive direction. We need much, much more ambitious commitment moving forward in order to maintain a safe operating space for humanity.

• Pledges aren’t binding yet.

There have been a few pledges, and world leaders said they would dedicate some $5 billion to make the world more sustainable.

What you see at the climate summit is countries, companies – the power players of the world – coming together and voluntarily putting things on the table. This is not a negotiation, it’s not binding. The purpose of the summit is to create public awareness and to create a public space where countries aren’t negotiating, so it’s a little bit more of a safe space for countries to come and have a positive showcase for the good they are doing.

• Later negotiations, in Lima

The purpose of the climate summit is to create an open space where countries can come, put their own voluntary commitments to fight climate change on the table, let the media talk about it, raise ambition, and then go into the negotiation space in the UNFCCC starting in couple of weeks in Bonn, leading to Lima, leading to Paris, where we hope to have a legally binding, international climate agreement in 2015.

• Remodeling main polluters policies

After years of avoiding commitments, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters – the United States and China – seem to be ready to change their policies. Obama spoke of a « special responsibility to lead » and China vowed to stop the rise of carbon dioxide emissions as soon as possible. These are rather condescending statements. Will this translate to binding commitments in the future?

The role of US and China leadership can’t be underscored enough – it is so important. There is a difference between statements that are made to the media in a public space like the climate summit, and what will become hopefully a legally binding agreement.

But the comments by Obama and the top climate leader in China are really important in setting the trajectory. It’s not clear how that’s going to translate into a climate agreement next year in Paris, but it’s a really, really important signal. The mood was definitely upbeat after the US and China made their speeches.

• Say the UN climate summit in New York was indeed successful?

It was a success in terms of bringing world leaders together – it was an unprecedented number of world leaders, 120 coming together around climate change, and we’re talking prime minister, presidents, the very top country leadership – so in that way it was a big success. Also the involvement of other key players – cities, companies – it was very positive in that way.

• After the many climate negotiations, is there a new global momentum to fight climate change now?

The climate negotiations have been going on for more than 20 years, but particularly over the last few years, public awareness and government engagement around climate has grown significantly, and that’s a positive thing. One of the dangers we face is, however, that climate change becomes the new normal, and that we get into a cycle of managing crises. What we need now is systematic, ambitious, transformation of our energy systems, our lifestyles. We need to be making a very fundamental kind of shift.

There is momentum, but we need to see new ways of doing, new ways of thinking about things – doing things at a different scale, definitely with a new scale of finance. We are not there yet. What we really have to do is get out of « business as usual » and see some very ambitious leadership in the direction of transformation.