Insurance and Climate Change column

Climate Change in 2015 Could be Bigger Than Religion – or Selfie

By | December 31, 2014

The phrase “climate change” yields roughly 108 million results in a Google search – in the ballpark in terms of numbers of results with “Jesus Christ,” “Mohamed” and “selfie” – and you can expect the phrase to become an even more popular topic in the coming year.

Climate change is now on Pope Francis’ agenda. It’s certain to be a topic pressed hard by the president of the United States and many national leaders, who are unlikely to take their foot off the gas pedal in their push to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

In fact the year that is now passing will itself likely bolster the climate change topic in 2015. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014 is on track to be the warmest year on record.

This was also a year of progress on climate change for President Obama, including what some call a “landmark deal” with China to reduce carbon emissions.

With Obama entering his final two years in office he seems poised to push this agenda further to see how much he can get done before he exits the White House .

If there was any uncertainty over whether Obama will go all-in on climate change over the next two years it was eliminated in the last few months. Shortly after the China deal he announced in November the U.S. will contribute $3 billion to an international fund to help the world’s poorest countries address the impacts of climate change.

“The two announcements, both unveiled at prominent global meetings with world leaders, highlight Mr. Obama’s intention to use the last two years of his administration to push forward on climate change policy, which he sees as a cornerstone of his legacy,” states an article in the New York Times.

Just about every nation on the planet will be involved in some way on a new global climate change agreement set to unfold in late 2015 in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, referred to as COP21 or CMP11 – COP21 stands for Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; CMP11 refers to the 11th Meeting of the Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The year is full of meetings and events to tackle or address climate change. Here are a few big meetings to keep an eye on next year as listed by the Climate Action Network.

  • World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from Jan. 21-24. Titled “The New Global Context,” the meeting is a stage for “strategic dialogues which map the key transformations reshaping the world.”
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change intercessional meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from Feb. 8-13. This is a continuation of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Nairobi, Kenya from Feb. 24-27. The panel is working on the ongoing Fifth Assessment Report, which provides an up-to-date view of the state of scientific knowledge relative to climate change.
  • World Conference on Disaster Reduction 2015 in Sendai, Japan from March 14-18. This United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction event will work on the Hyogo Framework for Action, a 10-year plan to make the world safer from natural hazards.
  • 2nd Annual Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum in New York, N.Y. from May 18-22. This is the Second United Nations Sustainable Energy For All Forum at the U.N. headquarters.
  • 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru on Oct. 1. Climate change and green bonds will likely take center stage.

This list is far from conclusive, and of course, more events are being planned.

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