JLL’s Dan Probst and Sarah Nicholls are joining world leaders and experts from the private and public sectors at the United Nations climate conference – known as COP21 – in Paris. Check back daily for Dan and Sarah’s live updates throughout the conference.
Our first full day in Paris for COP21 has been a beautiful one. The morning was a bit hectic as we navigated the logistics of getting to the site and through security. But even that couldn’t dampen the clear mood of optimism in the air knowing that a draft agreement has been reached. Now, the focus has shifted to gaining agreement from developing countries to help finance the initiatives necessary to affect change.
Sarah and I are attending various business events surrounding the official UN climate talks. We began by touring The Gallery, a showcase for new technology and products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the real estate, industrial and transportation sectors. One interesting product we saw was a packaged unit that maintains a continuous supply of electricity from intermittent renewable sources (such as wind and solar) though a combination of batteries and a hydrogen fuel cell. Apparently, this award-winning product caught the attention of Sir Richard Branson yesterday. Overall, the displays reinforced my belief that new technology will be a big part of the solution.
We also attended a panel discussion titled “Energy Efficiency: The Game Changer,” where energy efficiency in buildings, transportation and manufacturing was acknowledged as a key area of opportunity to have a substantial impact on carbon emissions. With so much focus on how our power is produced it is good to get acknowledgement that how it is consumed also needs to be part of the solution. Clearly this is an area we can influence by helping our clients reduce the energy and environmental impact of their real estate.
I also had the opportunity to sit in on a breakout session of the Caring for Climate conference organized by the UN Global Compact. The topic was “The Business Case for Investment in Climate Change Adaptation.” Representatives from Mars Inc., Novartis, and Munich Re discussed their corporate investments to mitigate the future impacts of climate change on their business. According to the UN Environmental Program, the annual corporate cost of climate adaptation will be in the range of $150-300 billion by 2030.
This evening, the conversations continue at a dinner that will be attended by representatives from a number of leading companies, including Autodesk, Best Buy, Eaton, Microsoft, Philips, Schneider, St. Gibson and others. I’m sure the topic of the evening will be how our businesses can support and advance the agenda. Stay tuned for more.
Dan Probst is Global Chairman of Energy and Sustainability Services at JLL. In this role, Dan is responsible for developing and delivering products and services that help clients reduce energy costs and their real estate related environmental footprint through innovative portfolio and occupancy strategies, workplace standards, and operating practices. Dan is also a founding and current member of JLL’s Global Environmental Sustainability Board. For Dan’s full bio, please click here.