Activities report 2015

Letter of the President

Was 2015 a year that saw an evolution in the sensitivity to global warming? Have elected representatives become more aware of the major impact that their decisions will have on the climate? Even if one asks these questions to Noé21, regardless of what the opinions are in the matter, the objective of our work remains unchanged: to make progress in this matter, in both the personal and the political agenda.

From residents to policy makers who create positive or negative incentives, everyone must fight against climate change. The real decrease of greenhouse gas emissions will not happen by simply spending time thinking a lot about it and communicating on social media. We need to deal with the thorny problem by putting our hands in the sludge! The 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Paris (COP21) continues the self-persuasion work of nation’s representatives, from acknowledgement to eventual mandatory measures leading to implementation by all the countries at their respective levels and financial capabilities. However, whatever the result of negotiations is internationally, at a local level, whether city or canton, rich countries still have to radically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite an international comparison which honours Switzerland, our region needs to catch up massively to make up for lost time, especially if we compare our results and objectives to the recommendations made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

To bridge this gap, Noé21 worked at the cantonal level on several items: Geneva Airport; Cantonal Climate Plan; deep retrofit of buildings; climate action court case; divestment; …
Noé21 is glad that the future of the airport is finally a subject of public discussion and other organizations joined to work on this subject. It took a few years to get to this point, yet it is not the time to rest because the airport continues to represent a third of the canton’s GHG emissions.

On the cantonal level, Noé21 greeted the local Cantonal Climate Plan formulated by the Geneva Cantonal government (State government). This official plan follows the work of the association on a draft law and a first cantonal climate plan that Noé21 carried out at its own expenses in 2009 and subsequently updated in 2010. We also contributed some constructive remarks to the Cantonal Climate Plan.
On the federal level, Noé21 participated in the federal consultation on the replacement of subsidies by tax incentives, which we have been promoting since the beginning of Noe21 in the form of the ecological tax reform. We are currently preparing a legal action case with partner organizations in order to force the Confederation to align its national GHG mitigation objectives with UNFCCC’s COP21 engagements.

Noé21 co-directs the Fairconditioning programme in India thanks to the support from the Bureau of International Solidarity of Canton of Geneva; the Oak Foundation and Shakti India. The timing of this project is crucial since it ensures that the new generation of architects and engineers in India knows how to conceive and build energy efficient buildings during the current construction boom. Because similar actions had not been taken when the Canton of Geneva experienced its own real estate boom, Geneva finds itself now with buildings un-adapted to local climate conditions. Currently new buildings follow a strict energy efficiency standard but retrofits for existing buildings have a very long ROI period.
Noé21 is also an association who raises awareness amongst the unspecialised audiences. We offer schools a course on climate change; we organize “World cafés” to debate; and we organized discussions during the Alternatiba days.

Noé21 had a difficult year in 2015. Good ideas fuse, action-based projects too, and several persons contribute with their time, ideas and energy. However, in order to bring our plans to fruition, funding is required. We have more ideas and projects that excite us than our current resources can finance. Despite this difficulty, the projects progress, albeit slowly and we get better at raising funds. So we heartily thank all individuals, foundations and administrations that helped us in our work and allowed us to act on their behalf!

Magali Origa
President of the Association Noé21