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Interview with Virginia Bagnoli, Senior Manager at the Climate Group

Our column dedicated to crucial interviews continues 🙂 Today we interview Virginia Bagnoli, Senior Manager at Climate Group, an international non-profit specialising in public policy consultancy for the reduction of greenhouse gases. 

conocer gente sevilla chat 1. The Climate Group’s mission is “Driving Climate Action. Fast”. Knowing the lengthy timescales of participatory policy-making processes, such as those related to Climate Change, how much time do we really have left to tackle the climate crisis? 

We are living the first crucial years of what many call the “climate decade”: the choices we make today will determine whether or not we will succeed in achieving a zero net emissions economy in about 30 years’ time and thus significantly slow down the most devastating effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures or ocean acidification. In 2015, the Paris Agreement was in effect a revolution, and in my opinion one of the most important features of that text is the concept, and obligation, to review fixed-term targets every five years, to update and improve them. We have this decade to create the right infrastructure of policies, laws and investments to put us on the road to zero net emissions. Doing it later will be much more dangerous, and expensive.

https://mimetrica.com/2992-dts38816-conocer-chicas-vegas-del-genil.html 2. Climate policies are increasingly cross-cutting and systemic. A particularly interesting front is that of environmental justice, which links the negative impacts of climate change to issues of social inclusion. In your opinion, how can this issue of unequal distribution of negative climate impacts be further brought to the forefront of government policy agendas? 

In the first week of June, with my new project Net Zero Futures, we will organise a training session for the governments in our network on how to put the principles of equity and a just energy transition at the heart of long-term climate plans. Often governments closest to the citizens, such as cities and regions, are the first to act, to integrate just transition principles into their policies. International cooperation under the “peer-to-peer” model (i.e. exchanges between public policy experts in the governments themselves) helps a lot in this respect: firstly, it creates a certain kind of “peer pressure” and incentive not to make the same mistakes, then it gives more confidence to policy-makers not to feel alone and to apply solutions that have already worked elsewhere, with modifications of course. 

remolinos mujer soltera 3. The issue of greenwashing is particularly important when it comes to for-profit sector environmental engagement. Similarly, many NGOs and think tanks have been accused of collaborating with major polluters in communication and awareness-raising activities. What is the real boundary between greenwashing and the need to develop solutions that are a synthesis of profit/non-profit and public actors? 

When it comes to greenwashing, particularly on actions to mitigate climate change, companies now have a new strategy: since it is completely impossible to dispute the scientific data and evidence that the effects of the climate crisis are right in front of our eyes, the concept of “Delay is the new Denial” has taken hold. Whereas in the 1990s oil and gas companies denied the seriousness of the climate crisis, today they simply delay solutions with small actions that have nothing to do with cutting emissions (e.g. planting trees). The solutions actually exist for companies, which must embark on a path to reduce their climate impact in a transparent manner. For example, the Science Based Targets (SBTi) initiative provides standards that companies, both multinationals and SMEs, must follow to outline an emissions reduction plan that is in line with science and monitors them over time. 

http://costacontemporanea.es/?torakalniy=chicas-de-alcobendas&858=dd 4. Climate commitments are also supported by more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Do you think that in this respect the growth model of many developing countries is maturing towards a greener sensibility or is it still a typical issue for more mature economies? 

Mary Heglar, an American climate expert and activist, said “The thing about climate is that you can either be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem, or fall in love with the creativity of its solutions“, which I find a wonderful phrase and so true. I’m not sure if I can talk about ‘green sensibility’ in other countries, but I’m certainly convinced that clean solutions already exist and cost less (such as electricity from wind or sun combined with batteries) than fossil fuels in most parts of the world. It is imperative that industrialised countries increase their funding to support this energy transition in emerging countries and stop investing in fossil fuels at home. I am talking about the energy sector because it is the one most responsible for greenhouse gases in absolute terms, and the new communiqué from the G7 in recent days commits the seven nations to immediately stop investing abroad in new coal-fired plants. This is good news, but it would have been better if they had also added oil and gas fossil fuels immediately. China has announced that it wants to become carbon neutral by 2060: clearly a move dictated by the economic opportunity to become a world leader in green technologies such as electric cars, batteries, wind turbines and solar panels, and certainly not to save polar bears (pass me a hint of cynicism). On the other hand, all indications are that large state-owned oil companies in Indonesia or Saudi Arabia plan to spend more than $400 billion to expand oil & gas infrastructure and exploration, completely incompatible with any zero net emissions plan by mid-century. 

5. If you had to identify two promising global environmental policy processes/phenomena/initiatives, what would they be? 

I am a big fan of long-term decarbonisation plans, both at state and regional level. They are an essential element in sending a certain and clear message to investors, companies and citizens that the journey to net zero emissions has begun, and that there is a plan to get there sector by sector, depending on the economic and social infrastructure of each country. In the end, if you think about it, this is how the oil, gas and coal giants have won for decades: because they define long-term development and investment plans like no other sector, even of 10 or 20 years. Not like in politics, where at best every 5 years with elections and a new government everything starts all over again. 

The other process, which is a little more specific, is the great revolution in road transport. Thirteen countries have so far introduced a stop to the sale of internal combustion cars between 2025 and 2040. And while I can still understand those who don’t trust the durability of batteries for long journeys, it’s completely incomprehensible to me how in a country like Italy all mopeds aren’t electric to cover short distances. I believe that will be the next revolution, 100% electric transport on two wheels, reducing noise, air and climate pollution. 

See you the next interview!

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