Momentum for change shows best climate actions around the world

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27 October 2015

LONDON: Climate actions are increasingly spreading all over the world, lighting the hope for a fair climate deal in Paris next month. To celebrate these small but fundamental activities, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has announced this year’s winners of its Momentum for Change initiative.

As Climate Week NYC showcased last month, businesses and governments are implementing practical and scalable solutions to both tackle climate change and grasp the opportunities arising from the shift toward a low carbon economy – a movement also being highlighted by the UNFCCC’s initiative in the critical month before the global COP21 climate talks in Paris.

“The Momentum for Change initiative recognizes inspiring projects that can change a community and, in turn, the world, thereby demonstrating that promoting development and fighting climate change go hand-in-hand” says Mark KenberCEOThe Climate Group and deputy Chair of the 24-member international advisory panel.

“With the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, projects like those showcased by Momentum for Change should give confidence to governments around the world that agreeing the most ambitious action possible at COP21 can unleash a new wave of growth, climate smart development and low carbon innovation."


The prize awards four specific areas where climate actions are most useful and evident: Urban Poor, Women for Results, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment and ICT Solutions.

The first area spotlights the best actions focused on improving the lives of the poorest people in urban areas. A stark example of that is the Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heater, which is both a water treatment and solar water heating system that is saving emissions and improving lives in Kenya.

Using the energy of the sun to harness power, the system then treats and heats water – reducing the need for burning coal. To date, the system has saved 22,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in Nairobi alone, and is used daily by more than 200,000 people around the world.

Momentum for change

Image: One of the many users of the Solvatten system in Nairobi, courtesy UNFCCC

The prize also focuses on innovative climate-smart activities, such as Azuri PayGo Energy. The system uses both solar and mobile phone technology to enable Sub-Saharan people accessing clean energy. With this mechanism, customers don’t have to pay large sums up front, but rather pay small and regular amounts through their mobile phone – saving money and emissions.

Another very innovative project focused on mobile phones is Fairphone, awarded in the ICT section of the prize for creating a smartphone built from conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo from workers paid the right amount of money. It is also built to assure durability, so that the different parts can easily be replaced – then reducing land waste.

“With less than 35 days to go until the climate change conference in Paris, the Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities are further compelling proof that climate action is building worldwide and in countries, communities, companies and cities everywhere,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres concluded.

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