Thursday, December 16, 2010

Governments Have Reached a Deal -- Now It's Our Turn

After two weeks of negotiations in Cancun, governments of the world have reached a global climate deal. More than 190 nations made collective decisions on adaptation, forestry, technology transfer, climate finance, and other issues. And although the "Cancun Agreements" fall far short of what is needed, they provide a road forward. Governments have reached a deal.

Now, it is our turn.

Announcing "Climate Deal Day," a day for businesses and individuals to make deals that fight climate change and improve our lives. Mark your calendar: on January 26th, six weeks after COP16, we will make deals with the goal of eventually reducing pollution by one gigaton of carbon dioxide. (This goal is audacious and probably won't be reached on the first Climate Deal Day, but we prefer to think big.)

The idea for Climate Deal Day was born during COP16, where Hub Culture, the organization I work with, spent the two weeks speaking with business leaders, learning about the opportunities to solve climate change. We spoke to Sir Richard Branson, who is investing a hundred million dollars into new energy sources, hoping to make a profit. We met with members of the Carbon War Room, who explained that there are gigatons of carbon savings that can be achieved at a profit if the right barriers are broken down. We met the leader of the energy and environment team at Phillips Lighting, who told us that his company was pressuring governments around the world to phase out incandescent light bulbs, thus forcing his company to innovate. And we spoke with Lord Nicholas Stern, who explained that we are on the cusp of a new industrial revolution.

What we saw is that many of the solutions to climate change are deals: win-win collaborations between people and organizations. From an even bigger standpoint, solving climate change is an enormous deal -- investing in new technology will pay off several-fold by creating a new economy and avoiding climate change.

All are encouraged to join this event, which is being coordinated by the social network Hub Culture and Christensen Global Strategies. All we ask is that you or your company do a climate deal by January 26th. The deal can be with another person, with an organization, or with yourself. The only rule is that it has to be both good for the planet and good for our standard of living.

Events held in Davos, London, and New Orleans during the World Economic Forum -- all hosted by Hub Culture -- will announce deals reached by businesses. These deals will be posted on the website, where we will also document deals reached by individuals. To share your commitments and agreements, send an email to cdd@hubculture.com or fill out our webform here. (Note that the website is still under construction -- a full update will take place on January 1).

To give you an idea of what we are talking about, the following climate deals were announced during COP16: Muhtar Kent, The Coca-Cola Company's CEO, revealed that the consumer goods forum would achieve no net deforestation by 2020 and begin to phase out HFCs from refrigeration by 2015, reducing pollution and increasing efficiency; The Carbon War Room announced the first ever universal energy index for the shipping industry, allowing companies to more easily choose more efficient boats; and OPIC announced that it will provide at least $300 million in financing for new private equity investment funds that could ultimately invest more than $1 billion in renewable resources projects in emerging markets.

For individuals, deals could include performing an energy retrofit of your house, an action that almost always saves money. It could involve buying a more fuel-efficient car or eating food that is both better for you and lighter on the environment. Be creative -- send us your ideas.

Climate Deal Day is a statement of hope: a belief that we can collaborate and improve our lives as we solve one of the greatest challenges of this century.

What is your deal?

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