6 April 2022

New IPCC report we have solutions to mitigate climate change

After intense negotiations and a 48-hour delay, representatives from 195 states approved the summary of the work of group III of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report, on climate change mitigation.

The report looks at what we can do to limit emissions and provides insights into how the decisions we make now and in the next decades will shape the future of our planet.

Recent developments and current trends

In 2010-2019, average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest level in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed.

We are now clearly not on the right trajectory, without immediate and deep emission reductions in all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is out of reach. However, the evidence for climate action is mounting. The cost of low-carbon technologies has fallen, making them more accessible. There is a steady increase in policies and legislation to improve energy efficiency, reduce deforestation rates and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.

Nevertheless, contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions continue to be extremely unbalanced. The wealthiest 10% of households contribute disproportionately to global emissions.

emissions of greenhouse gases present day and cumulatively Ipcc
Fossil Fuels

The summary explains very clearly the need to stop fossil fuel production: If we do not stop coal, gas and oil production soon, we will exceed a warming of +1.5°C Not only must we not create new infrastructure or projects, but existing infrastructure must be closed prematurely.

In his poignant speech, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres insists“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels. Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness.”

Take Action Now

“In the event that we act immediately to limit warming, global GHG emissions are expected to peak no later than 2025.”

The date of 2025, three years from now, should be an incentive to act now, as Julia Steinberger, one of the authors of the report remind us: “either we are heading for disaster or we take the necessary steps now”.

Different scenarios

This report assesses a wide range of modelled global emissions trajectories and scenarios. These scenarios are not predictions, the different pathways are based on a set of assumptions about future socio-economic conditions and mitigation measures. The IPCC does not recommend anything, but synthesises the scientific evidence.

Details of the scenarios with this link

There are solutions in all sectors


Reducing GHG emissions across the energy sector requires major transitions, including substantial reductions in overall fossil fuel use, deployment of low-emission energy sources, widespread electrification and improved energy efficiency.


Carbon neutrality in the industrial sector is a challenge, but feasible. Reducing emissions from industry will require coordinated action along the value chains to promote all mitigation options, including demand management, energy efficiency, use of more efficient materials, reuse, recycling, waste reduction…

Cities and urban areas

Cities can only achieve carbon neutrality through deep decarbonisation and systemic transformation. As above, better urban planning is needed as well as sustainable production and consumption of goods and services, electrification, and improved carbon absorption and storage.


For buildings yet to be built or renovated, ambitious measures must be taken in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy. For developed countries, the highest mitigation potential is linked to the retrofitting of existing buildings, (e.g.: re-purposing existing unused buildings to avoid using additional land).


Demand reduction and low-carbon technologies are key to reducing emissions: Investing in public transport and active transport infrastructure (cycling and pedestrian paths) and changing the urban form (density, land use, connectivity and accessibility) combined with programmes to encourage changes in consumer behaviour (like cycle-to-work campaigns, free travel passes, parking charges or removal of car benefits)

The report states that electric vehicles powered by low-emission electricity offer the greatest decarbonisation potential for land transport on a life-cycle basis; but there is also a need to reduce the environmental impact of battery production. Alternative fuels (low-emission hydrogen and biofuels) will be needed for aviation and maritime transport.

“Many mitigation strategies in the transport sector would have a variety of co-benefits, including improvements in air quality, health benefits, equitable access to transport services, reduced congestion and reduced demand for materials.”

land use ipcc report
AFOLU Agriculture, forestry and other land uses, and food systems

Most of the economic mitigation potential comes from conservation, improved management and restoration of forests and other ecosystems (wetlands, coastal areas, peatlands, savannahs, and grasslands), as well as reduced deforestation.

Continued loss of biodiversity makes ecosystems less resilient to the extremes of climate change. Improved and sustainable crop and livestock management and carbon sequestration in agriculture (such as agroforestry) can contribute to a significant reduction.

23-42% of global GHG emissions are associated with food systems, while food insecurity and malnutrition are still widespread.

Shifting to diets with a higher share of plant protein, moderate consumption of animal-based foods and reduced consumption of saturated fats could lead to substantial reductions in GHG emissions. Benefits would also include reduced land use and nutrient losses to the surrounding environment, while providing health benefits and reducing mortality from diet-related diseases

ipcc demand and services
Demand and services: behaviour change

This is the first IPCC report to provide an in-depth assessment of how individual behaviour, choices and consumption can contribute to climate change mitigation.

Lifestyle change requires systemic changes throughout society. Of the 60 actions identified that could change consumption, individual mobility choices have the greatest potential to reduce the carbon footprint. Priority is given to car-free mobility through walking and cycling and to the adoption of electric mobility. Other options include reducing air travel, reducing the use of household appliances, switching to public transport, reducing food waste, making heating and cooling choices appropriate for comfort, and shifting food consumption to a plant-based diet.

The concept of the circular economy is also presented as an increasingly important mitigation approach: focusing on product longevity, reuse, refurbishment, recycling and material efficiency, thereby reducing energy, resources and emissions.

The report points out that the potential for demand mitigation differs between and within regions. Part of the world’s population still faces deficiencies in housing, mobility and nutrition. The wealthy contribute disproportionately to emissions and have the greatest potential to reduce emissions while maintaining a decent standard of living and well-being.

Individual behavioural change is insufficient to mitigate climate change if it is not embedded in structural and cultural change. With political support, socio-cultural options and behavioural changes can significantly reduce global emissions.

The containment measures implemented in many countries in response to the covid-19 pandemic have demonstrated that behaviour change is possible on a large scale and in a short time.

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR)

Carbon dioxide removal is needed to counteract emissions that are difficult to remove, including biological methods: reforestation and soil carbon sequestration, improved forest management, peatland restoration, blue carbon management (mangroves…).

New technologies require more research, initial investment and larger scale proof of concept.

Finance and investissement

There is a climate finance gap that reflects a persistent misallocation of global capital. The report states that there is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close the investment gap. However, this depends on a clear signal from governments and the international community, including better alignment of public sector finance and policies.

Policy, regulatory and economic instruments

The best way to achieve deep emission reductions in the long term is to build institutions and governance that support new mitigation policies. Regulatory and economic instruments have already proven effective in reducing emissions. This requires coordination between governments and society.

Innovation and Technology

Innovation in climate change mitigation technologies has seen enormous activity and significant progress in recent years. But there are downsides, such as increased environmental pollution, social inequalities, and increased energy demand.

Digital devices, including servers, increase the pressure on the environment due to the demand for rare metals and their disposal at the end of their life The lack of adequate governance in many countries can lead to difficult working conditions and unregulated disposal of e-waste. The existing digital divide, especially in developing countries, and the lack of proper governance of the digital revolution can hamper the role that digitalisation could play in achieving stringent mitigation targets.

Digital technologies have significant potential to contribute to decarbonisation because of their ability to increase energy and material efficiency, make transport and building systems less wasteful and improve access to services for consumers and citizens. Effective decision-making requires an assessment of the potential benefits, barriers, and risks.

Links between mitigation, adaptation, and sustainable development

There are increasingly strong links between climate change mitigation and the pursuit of sustainable development goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can serve as a basis for assessing climate action.

Without urgent, effective and equitable mitigation measures, climate change increasingly threatens the health and livelihoods of people around the world, the health of ecosystems and biodiversity. Inequalities in the distribution of emissions and in the impacts of mitigation policies within countries affect social cohesion and the acceptability of mitigation and other environmental policies.

Climate change mitigation measures that are framed in the context of sustainable development, equity and poverty eradication will be more acceptable, sustainable and effective. Equity and just transitions can enable deeper ambitions for accelerated mitigation.

Strengthening the response, taking action now

There are climate change mitigation options that can be deployed on a large scale and in the short term. Action can be taken now to change development trajectories, with enhanced international cooperation.

Hoesung Lee, Chairman of the IPCC states: “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”

The time to act is NOW.

climate is our future

More info

Summary for Policymakers

IPCC Full Report

IPCC report: ‘now or never’ if world is to stave off climate disaster

UNEP Half measures will not halve emissions

Words: Alice de Chilly

21 March 2022

What is Fast Fashion?

Fashion dates back to when people first started wrapping, draping or tying leaves, grass or animal skins around their bodies. Fast forward to the early 1800s and the world’s first fashion designer, Charles Worth, emerged in Paris. Another century later and fashion magazines began to use photographs with models wearing designer items. After World War Two a booming new generation with buying power brought about huge demand for ready-to-wear, off the peg garments.

Nowadays, we have social media influencers, celebrities, fashion capital runways, billboards and fashion bloggers all around us. Just fingering through the labels in most wardrobes shows us that huge percentages of today’s clothing is produced in China, Bangladesh, India and Vietnâm. Low labour costs, vast workforces and hi-tech machinery allowing mass production have been enablers in the making of what we call ‘fast fashion’. 

We are constantly surrounded by marketing encouraging us to buy the trend of ‘this season’. Today’s top fashion accessory is tomorrow’s unwanted castaway. Much of this fast fashion is sold at extremely low prices – only achievable by using modern slave labour in sweatshops and hard to recycle, synthetic materials. Pesticides are used to help industrial cotton growth to feed our demand for ever more clothes.

Many companies use a technique called ‘planned obsolescence’, a policy of deliberately creating an artificially limited lifespan or frail design so that the consumer has to go out and spend more money on a replacement. ‘Green washing’ is also increasingly prominent. This is where companies make unsubstantiated claims and create misleading impressions to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are more environmentally sound that they actually are. This can mislead consumers into acting unsustainably while at the same time thinking that they are making a positive, eco-friendly purchase.

So where does this leave us? What is the future of fashion? Luckily we have innovation on our side. Think sustainable, 3-D printed clothing using truly eco-friendly inks. Think micro-algae, which is being tapped as a new, sustainable resource to make fibres and dyes for the textile industry (check out Checkerspot and Beyond Surface Technologies). Think lab-grown leather… millions of handbags made from a single, harmless biopsy from one single cow; allowing Daisy to remain grazing in the field and every Tom, Dick and Harry to have as many man bags as their hearts desire (check out Vitrolabs Inc). 

And what about garms that already exist? Fall in love with vintage clothing. Get crafty by repurposing old clothing… Make a tote bag out of an old shirt or a draft excluder out of those old jeans which you can’t quite squeeze into anymore.


Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just because you no longer love an item, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. These days charity shops such as Montagne Verte don’t just take (often nearly new) items to stock their own rails, they also filter them out to other organisations too. They support initiatives such as Monsieur Cravate, which helps provide clothing for people attending job interviews. Some items will be passed on to the homeless or migrant families, and even imperfect items can be restored by our thrifty volunteers. More and more clothing rental schemes are popping up, for those looking to stay up to date with trends or attend that glitzy event without filling up their wardrobes with items they’ll only use once or twice. And of course, online platforms such as Vinted and Depop also make it really easy to buy secondhand clothes with specific criteria. It’s even really easy to sell your own!

Let’s help fashion get out of the fast lane and live life a little slower.

Author: Tiny Travel Rebel

18 January 2022



Climate change will be and is already one of the greatest challenges for humanity. The increase in greenhouse gases, one of the main ones being CO2, emitted in particular as a result of human activities, is warming the earth and causing climate disruption.

Climate crisis is already very real (melting ice, floods, rising waters, loss of biodiversity, drought, climate refugees, heat waves, fires, climate famines…) The Alps are also warming at a rate almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet and the change is less dramatic but already visible (melting glaciers, reduced snow cover, warming, melting permafrost, etc.) 

To limit the effects of climate change, it is crucial to tackle the causes by reducing net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly CO2. And to know how to reduce them, it is important to understand where they come from, which is why carbon footprints and carbon audits are carried out.


In France, transport accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions; the leading source of emissions ahead of buildings, agriculture and industry.

For the tourism sector, the figure is even higher. In the latest GHG emissions report for the tourism sector in 2021, 77% of the emissions come from tourist mobility. (and air transport represents 40% of the total) According to a carbon assessment of several ski resorts, carried out by in the Alps, the majority of emissions in ski resorts come from transport (57%).

All this proves that acting on mobility must be a priority. Changing our mode of transport is essential to limit our emissions.

source: ADEME, Balance of the tourism sector in France, 2021 – GHG emissions

source: ADEME, Balance of the tourism sector in France, 2021 – GHG emissions

So how can we calculate the impact of our transport? You can find various calculators that compare emissions depending of the mode of travel (with options to add passenger etc…) such as the one from the SNCF or ecopassenger, myclimate, or french ADEME . They give a real idea of the difference in emissions and environmental impact between trains and planes.

The results are always clear: train emissions are much lower than those of planes and cars. The train is unbeatable. Regardless of the type of train or the routes taken, the train wins hands down and also eclipses car travel.

For example, a trip from Paris to Lyon by plane emits 66 times more CO2 than by train. 

Going from London to Edinburgh by train emits 87% less and London to Paris 91% less. We can thus cut our emissions by taking the train by up to 90% ! read article from SEAT61 

A round trip from London to Geneva emits 360kg of CO2eq, 80kg by car for 3 people (or 280kg by car for one person!) and 7kg by TGV…! (or less depending on the comparators) 

Even taking into account infrastructure and maintenance in the calculations, the train still has a clear advantage in France. (study in France see article)

In addition to the CO2 emitted by the production and combustion of fuel, aircraft can affect the climate through other emissions, pollutants, and atmospheric processes such as the condensation trails that can form as they pass. The French ADEME carbon base estimates that this would double the radiative forcing of aviation. 

To remain on a global trajectory of +2°C maximum, the individual carbon footprint person must be divided by 5 or 6 in France and aim at 2 tonnes of CO2eq per person. Well… a return trip to New York corresponds already to the yearly budget… (knowing that we also have to eat, heat and move around on a daily basis…) Knowing that carbon offsetting is not a long-term solution to climate change, and that it is imperative to reduce emissions ; a reduction in air traffic is thus necessary to be in line with climate objectives.


Today, more and more of us are concerned about our environmental impact. In Scandinavia, Flygskam, or the shame of flying for environmental reasons, has been growing for some years. Read Why Flight shame is making people swap planes for trains or The Guardian view on ‘flight shame’: face it – life must change

We all want to be respectful visitors to the fragile and beautiful environment that we love so much. We want to continue to enjoy our mountains, but in a different way. It is time to act and taking the train is already the first important step towards sustainable tourism. We must also recall that we, inhabitants of the valley, are responsible for a part of greenhouse gases linked to transport. It is up to us to do everything we can to walk more, take our bikes, use shuttles and public transport, carpool…

For businesses, it is also important to act on tourism demand to support behavioural changes and accompany our visitors towards sustainable tourism in a systemic way. 

If a significant carbon tax is introduced (based on a scenario of +1.5°C), some people may find it difficult to come to the resort by car or flight. It is therefore necessary to think upstream about decarbonised transport and sustainable mobility.

Encouraging people to take the train or use soft mobility is therefore an important step and we are working in this direction (see our AlpinExpress campaign).

Words: Alice de Chilly

22 December 2021

Digital technology and E-Waste


Digital technology currently emits 4% of the world’s greenhouse gases, and this figure is growing at 9% per year. At the current rate, its share will more than double by 2025.

This sector allows for multiple positive evolutions and improvements in our daily lives, but it is essential to consider its environmental impact. We talk about “dematerialization” and “cloud”, but digital technology, although it may seem invisible and virtual, is first and foremost material with a real physical reality.

  • If the Internet was a country, it would be the 3rd largest consumer of electricity in the world and it would have a carbon footprint 2 to 3 times larger than France
  • 32 kilos of materials are needed to manufacture a 2 grams electronic chip (not to mention water resources)
  • A computer requires 240kg of fossil fuel, 22kg of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water
  • The manufacture of a 47-inch television emits 479 kg of greenhouse gases and requires 26,000 liters of water
  • In 2019, there will be 34 billion digital devices for 4.1 billion users in the world
  • 15,000 km is the average distance of a digital data (email, web request, video…)
  • Sending an email with a document attached = leaving a light bulb on for 1 hour
  • Every minute spent on Instagram consumes about 175 Wh and emits about 90 g of CO2
Baotou mine, China’s largest rare earth mining site, called cancer town

No less than 70 different materials, including 50 metals (including rare metals) are needed to make a smartphone. Extraction from the earth’s crust and exploitation requires huge volumes of land and water and leads to the destruction of ecosystems.

The mining and metallurgical industries are among the most polluting human activities: destruction of natural sites, energy and water consumption, discharge of heavy and harmful metals into nature, use of harmful chemicals, polluted water etc… It therefore leads to the depletion of resources, not to mention human exploitation, child labour, health conditions, armed conflicts. (read human cost of our smartphones)

Most of the components come from China (and its electricity comes mainly from coal…) and their transport (usually by plane) adds to the problem.

These resources are not infinite and to satisfy the growing demand, we dig deeper and deeper (which requires more and more energy).

As we change our phones on average every 2 years, electronic waste is increasing and it is one of the most complicated to deal with. Most of the waste is not sorted and ends up in incinerators or landfills, polluting soils and rivers. The recycling rate is extremely low (about 15% of smartphones, for example) and is illegally sent to landfills in Africa or Asia. The pollution generated by our electrical and electronic waste is increasingly worrying. For example, one of the most polluted places in the world is an electronic waste dump in Ghana at Agbogbloshie, which piles up 40,000 tonnes of material from our developed countries.

Machines behind our devices: to extract rare metals and to install submarine cables

Although manufacturing has the greatest environmental impact, using our devices is not neutral. Our use requires resources and a high consumption of energy and 80% of the flow comes from online video.

Our use is not “dematerialised” but works solely with equipment (computers, cables, boxes, etc.) and with networks and infrastructures.

We often feel that all our connections are virtual, wireless, seamless. Our equipment doesn’t smell bad, doesn’t belch big black smoke, so we don’t feel that using it has an environmental cost, everything seems invisible. However, the reality is quite different, it is not “dematerialised” but all our connections work solely with devices and equipment and require a real network and infrastructures.

You probably heard of data centers: although the electricity used in these data centers is fortunately becoming increasingly carbon-free, they are very energy-intensive: data storage generates heat, which requires air-conditioning and therefore consumes a lot of water.

We also tend to immediately think of satellites in space, they are indeed becoming more and more numerous but play a fairly minor role in the transmission of internet data.

Most of the internet traffic is carried by submarine cables. Today, more than 1.2 million kilometres of cable cross the globe, or 32 times around the Earth. These cables are buried in the seabed by cable ships and subsea machines, they have a theoretical life span of 25 years but are sometimes replaced before this time when they are considered technologically obsolete and their capacity needs to be increased.

Submarine cable Network

As manufacturing represent more than ¾ of the environmental impact, acting on our equipment is the first important step.

  1. Reduce the number of our equipment, keep a critical mindset, and always question a purchase: are these devices or connected objects indispensable to my daily life?
  2. Extend the life of our equipment is one of the most effective actions: take care of it as much as possible: shells and protective glasses, and if possible repair them (tutorials fixit, or save.co). Maintain our devices (breakdown, antivirus, etc.) with software like ccleaner
  3. If our device really does not work anymore and cannot be repaired, it is imperative not to throw it in the bin but to recycle or send it to this platform for smartphone.
  4. For a (necessary) purchase, favour reconditioned or second-hand products (even if this should not be an excuse to change more often!), we can go for products with environmental labels (EPEAT and TCO Certified, Der Blaue Angel) like Fairphone
  5. Online video represents 80% of digital data flows and generates 306 million tons of CO2 per year worldwide: try to reduce online video consumption, use a lower resolution when watching videos, and disable automatic playback on social networks.
    Check out: The unsustainable use of online video
  6. Reduce the size of our TV screens: consumption increases with the square of the diagonal
  7. A whatsapp message consumes 4g and a text message 0.014g : for short text, why not go back to good old text message… (see internet habits not as clean as you think)
  8. Manage our mailbox better: delete mails (don’t archive them) and lighten our sending (prefer transfer platforms such as filevert to attachments)
  9. On our smartphones, we can deactivate unnecessary notifications and limit the addition of applications
  10. Switch off and unplug our devices when we are not using them (computer, printer, box: a box consumes as much energy as a refrigerator)
  11. When possible, prefer the Wi-Fi network than the 4G network (which is 20 times more impactful)
  12. Limit our use of search engines and try using direct website address (and choose a more responsible search engine like ecosia)
  13. Sort out what we store on the cloud (photos, videos, etc.): favouring local data storage is more eco-responsible
  14. It’s a well-known and true adage that we should avoid printing our emails. (even if time spent reading on screen will have a greater impact, so paper will remain the most suitable medium for prolonged reading)
  15. Carry out daily tasks without your smartphone: (use an alarm clock, a diary) and enjoy your activities without connected objects. Not to mention, be out in nature only with our smartphone at the bottom of the backpack in case of emergency.

We do not question the positive impacts of digital technology, which is an indispensable part of today’s world.  As an association, we do have a website, are on social networks, send newsletters and share blog posts like this one!

However, digital is neither renewable nor sustainable, and its share of GHG emissions is such that if we continue in the same increase, we will not be able to achieve the necessary reduction in our emissions to stay below +2°C.

We invite you to become aware of the issues at stake, of the materiality of digital technology which is often underestimated, to question your needs, your practices and to think about a more responsible use.


Climate Impact of Internet Navigation (download Carbonalyser)

Digital Sobriety

This video is bad for climate, thanks for watching

2 November 2021

The Challenges of COP26


The COP, or Conference of Parties, is an annual summit that brings together the signatory countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The COP 26 is thus the 26th since the treaty of 21st of March 1994.

After being postponed for a year due to the health crisis, more than 190 world leaders and civil society actors (companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples, scientists…) will take part in a two-week meeting in Glasgow, from October 31st to November 12th.

This conference is being prepared well in advance with diplomatic meetings and negotiations.

The absence of the Chinese, Russian and Brazilian presidents is to be regretted. As well as the under-representation of the most vulnerable countries at this conference, notably because of vaccination and the particularly high cost of travel and accommodation on site.

This COP comes in a unique context, a few months after the IPCC Group 1 report. The report confirms the extent of climate change, which is unequivocally linked to human activities, and that the next decade is crucial to act and reduce our GHG emissions.

This summer’s extreme weather events can testify to this. Heat waves, floods, climate migrants, fires, climate famines, droughts are already indicative of global warming. Degrees or tenths of a degree will have dramatic consequences.

Degrees of Global Warming: the solid line show 5-year average of global land and ocean temperature anomalies (NOAA). Dotted lines show different percentiles of warming predictions according to Raftery et.al, 2017. Graphique Gregor Aisch

In 2015, COP21 took place in Paris, resulting in climate agreements to curb global warming. Countries set targets to reduce their GHG emissions, the so-called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)

Today, the carbon footprint of a French person is 11 tonnes of CO2 per year. To respect the Paris agreements, this footprint must be reduced to 2 tons of CO2 per year in 2050, i.e. a reduction of 80%. We invite you to calculate your carbon footprint with the ADEME calculator.

We know that individual change is required and that it is important for everyone to do their part, but in order to tackle the climate emergency, change must be systemic. Businesses, governments and states must undergo a major transformation.

The UN recalled this autumn that current commitments are leading the planet towards a “catastrophic” global warming of 2.7°C, far from the 1.5°C targets of the Paris Agreements. “It is time for leaders to stand and deliver or people in all countries will pay a tragic price” warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

To reverse this trend, it is vital to halve global greenhouse gas emissions over the next ten years. During the COP26, countries are expected to announce new targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


The four targets presented by the French government are the following:

1. Raising climate ambition. States that have not yet made a commitment must announce their new climate ambition, by updating their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and publishing long-term strategies for 2050.

2. Finalise the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides mechanisms for countries to trade emission reductions to achieve their NDCs. A decision by the international community is needed to make these mechanisms operational.

3. Mobilise climate finance. Developed countries have pledged to mobilise $100 billion for developing countries for each year from 2020 to 2025. However, this is not enough and there are still differences of opinion on climate finance.

4. Strengthen the Action Agenda. The Paris Agreement encourages states to cooperate with non-state actors within an Action Agenda that brings together multiple initiatives by major sectors, such as the International Solar Alliance


Similar objectives can be found on the official COP26 website (see above)

The countries of the South are the first victims of climate change and suffer the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions for which they are not in the majority of cases responsible. It is therefore necessary to really finance developing countries to the tune of 100 billion per year, as was planned in 2009, but which has still not been met. Climate justice is therefore a major issue.

There is a need to get real commitment from states by closing the gap between words and deeds. The problem is that the promises made by states to achieve carbon neutrality are often vague and not reflected in medium-term commitments. Some measures are vital: stop the exploitation of fossil fuels (in particular the use of coal), encourage investment in renewables, switch to electric vehicules, curtail deforestation, reduce other greenhouse gas emissions such as methane.

They also need to focus on finance as a lever for the ecological transition. Today, too many banks finance fossil fuel investments that are totally at odds with climate ambitions. You can check the Divest the Dirt campaign from our friends from POW UK

Finally, climate and biodiversity are inseparable. Today, 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. There can be no fight against climate change without taking our ecosystems into account. We must address these two crises together and protect biodiversity to fight against global warming.

So far, the COPs have not prevented greenhouse gas emissions from continuing to rise. Whether one is pessimistic or sceptical about the outcome of this COP that we shouldn’t overestimate, this summit remains crucial. International cooperation, though imperfect and laborious, is absolutely necessary. Each state cannot only deal with its own carbon emissions and the atmosphere above it, climate change is a global problem that needs to be addressed at the international level. The COP also serves to mobilise civil society and raise public awareness.

We try to stay positive because we can still do something about it. Climate change is real, very real and will continue irreversibly. But every tenth of a degree counts, every tonne of CO2 counts. It is still possible to act, because the level of global warming we experience in the future will depend largely on our current emissions.

If our younger generations believe and fight (see Youth4Climate manifesto), we must join their voices and demand with them to face the climate emergency urgently, “not next year, not next month but now”.

We invite you to follow the issues of the COP, while remaining measured and attentive to the greenwashing and announcement effects.

COP 26 explained

COP 26 Jargon

David Attenborough Speech

Climate Action Nework Cop 26 Agenda

Climate Justice Movement

Words: Alice de Chilly

8 August 2021

Impacts of climate change on alpine wildlife


When Montagne Verte was created just two years ago, we alerted you to the fact that climate change in the Alps has led to an increase in temperature of almost twice the global average.

Steep cliffs, flowering alpine meadows, snowy coombes: the diverse and wild beauty of our mountains depends on all these microclimates and different ecosystems. In the Alps, the climate varies with altitude and along the slopes: we lose about 0.6° per 100m of altitude.

Change now becomes visible. Who hasn’t seen photos of our glaciers, true sentinels of global warming, which are retreating at a rapid pace?

Temperatures are rising, and in the Northern Alps, over the last 40 years, the duration of snow cover between 1100 m and 2500 m has been reduced by 5 weeks. The degradation of the permafrost, real cement of the mountains, is weakening mountain walls. More than 700 collapses were recorded in the Mont Blanc massif between 2007 and 2017.

The upheaval for flora and fauna is certainly less visible and less impressive than glacial retreat or rock falls but is just as durable and profound.


We are all inevitably worried about warmer winters and lack of snow. What about wildlife of our mountain? A milder winter and a reduction in snow cover can be beneficial for some species.

But others are affected because they simply do not adapt. For plants, if the snow melts early in the spring, there is a significant risk of late frost.

The same applies to ptarmigan, mountain hare and stoats. They change clothing in winter to blend in with the white of winter; once the snow has melted, their camouflage is no longer effective against predators. The timing of the moult depends on the length of the day, not on the temperature or the snow.

A good snow cover also maintains a ground temperature of almost 0°. Snow is one of the best possible insulators for flora and for certain animals that take shelter in it. For marmots, the lack of snow no longer insulates their burrows. They consume more energy to warm up, which reduces their weight in spring. It has been found that the survival of young marmots decreases after a winter with less snow.

lack of snow no longer insulates their burrows

If the snow melts too early, some slopes are deprived of the gradual melting of snow that ensures water availability even in the height of summer.

Most of our mountain lakes are losing oxygen, due to higher temperatures in winter. As for Geneva Lake, the deepest waters of the lake have not been stirred for 9 consecutive years, which has consequences for aquatic biodiversity.


A major response to climate change is the general trend for species to move upwards to find their optimal habitat conditions. Plants and trees move upwards by an average of 30m per decade, insects by 45m and snails by 17m. When you know their top speed, you realise that this change can be considerable!

Because of the pyramid shape of the mountains, the space available is reduced at higher altitudes and offers less and less room for everyone in the future.

One of the best examples is the rock ptarmigan. A relic of the Ice Ages, with its feathered legs, which took its name Lagopus “hare’s feet”, it needs cold to reproduce and is too hot from 21°. In the eastern Swiss Alps, ptarmigan have been observed at increasingly higher altitudes, from 6 to 9 meters more per year. Its habitat is necessarily shrinking and is becoming a conservation concern.

when an ibex meet a rock ptarmigan, do you think they talk about climate change?

The forest is also growing, the Alps are greening, which is also a double-edged sword. Abundance of trees is always welcomed, but the alpine grasslands and meadows are necessary for many species.


Another forced adaptation is the shifting of the dates of seasonal cycles.

Insects, reptiles and butterflies, which do not regulate their body temperature, are today advancing their seasonal cycle. This is not the case for birds and mammals, as their cycle is dictated by the length of the day rather than by temperature.

When we study mountain herbivores, we become aware of the perfect harmony of the animals with their environment. The calving date of chamois and ibex is in perfect symbiosis with the peak production of vegetation.

At high temperatures in spring, vegetation starts early but the plants lose nutrients quickly after flowering. The birth dates remain unchanged even though peak flowering and vegetation is increasingly advanced in the season. The perfect timing is then disrupted.

For chamois, spring is a crucial period because the females need to have plenty of food, but also quality to have optimal lactation and to start building up fat reserves. A female chamois weighs almost 25kg in spring and must gain almost 10kg during the summer.

Male ibexes born in a warm spring will have smaller horns throughout their lives than their counterparts born in a cooler spring. Cooler springs provide good quality, highly nutritious food and favourable body condition for the mother at the end of gestation, so good quality milk and plant for the young ibex to ingest during its first summer.

Summer temperatures that are too hot will also stop the growth of plants and therefore limit the possible resources for wildlife before winter. Studies have shown that fewer ibexes were born in years following hot summers. This shows that female ibexes do not build up sufficient reserves during hot summers to ensure a successful pregnancy the following year.


As we wonder about the adaptation of these species, familiar inhabitants of our mountains, and sadly observe that this well-tuned score is being disrupted, how can we not ask ourselves how we too should adapt to the future of our singular environment?

Be discreet inhabitants, preserve our cultural, economic, and emotional habitats and make room for the extraordinary biodiversity of our landscapes.

Take care of our valleys and summits, so that our visitors will still have wild spaces to dream and escape.

Slow down, anchor nature in our thoughts and in our future decisions.

Sources: Atlas du Mont-Blanc par le CREA, OFB, CNRS, Magazine Salamandre, CIPEL, Nature losing its bearings by Crea, Vogelwarte, Wsl.ch

Words: Alice de Chilly

7 March 2021

What is Circular Economy


You might have heard of the term ‘circular economy’ thrown around a lot recently, especially in blogs like ours. But to many of us, it is not clear what a circular economy actually is, and what one might look like. Rest assured the term is far from just another buzzword for recycling and it may well hold some of the key ideas needed to help us create a more environmentally equitable and resilient future.


Overall a ‘circular economy’ refers to a fundamental change in the way in which we use our planet’s resources to make things and generate value in our economy. Conventional ‘value generating’ activities in the economy include the extraction of resources from the earth, the manufacturing of physical goods and the provision of services.

The starting point for a circular economy is accepting that materials and resources are finite on our planet and that extracting them, using them, and disposing of them comes at an environmental cost. The ‘circular’ part comes from the recognition that activities in our economy should mirror the cyclical flows and processes found in the natural world. These natural flows, from the carbon cycle to the nitrogen cycle, are regenerative ‘closed loop’ systems that ensure the precious building blocks of our living world are recycled over and over again.

So, by striving for a ‘closed loop’ model a circular economy demands that we minimize waste, disrepair, pollution, and the significant environmental (and economic) costs of disposing of precious finite materials. Crucially this means finding technological, social, and political means of turning what are now considered ‘waste streams’ into inputs for future productive activities. By doing this we are making the most of the resources that already exist within our economy and ensuring that newly obtained resources follow a cyclical path with their use maximized and waste minimized.


Take – Make – Waste!

If you think about the typical life cycle of a product, you can see how today’s economy works. A new phone bought for Christmas may be used for a handful of years (2.5 average) and might even see multiple owners if it is lucky (137 million phones were second hand refurbished phones in 2020) yet within 3 years it is likely this phone will be thrown away and replaced with a newer model. Consequently, very few of the precious metals, polymers and other complex materials used in the making of the phone are able to be reclaimed or reused.

Adding to this, today’s world economy is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, ancient stores of carbon-based energy which are extracted, and spent once with costly consequences for the composition of our atmosphere. Observing this system, we see that materials and resources move from extraction → production → consumption →  waste. This is the linear system of the world’s economy today, it is shockingly wasteful and a fundamentally unsustainable way to design our society, both from an environmental and from a value-generation perspective.

How can we move from a linear to a circular economy – how can we close the loop?

‘Closing the loop’ sounds a bit like the recent mantra ‘flatten the curve’ but, looking beyond the immediate challenges we face with the pandemic, closing the loop should be our utmost priority if we are to safeguard our future environment and prosperity. The challenge of making linear processes circular may seem daunting, but there are many stages and points of focus which are already in full flow in various places around the world. Let’s take a look at some of these…

Renewable Energy transition: For most of you, it may not be surprising that the first large component is the transition of our energy systems. Clearly, it is vital for us to move away from fossil fuel dependency, but this is not something that will happen overnight or without a determined effort from everyone with a voice, a vote, and a wallet. Let us support and encourage the journey to renewable energy that many communities and countries, including France, have started in some form or another. This will ensure that the energy we use is part of a regenerative system that is built to last.

Regenerative food systems: As many of our readers are aware, the majority of today’s mass agricultural practices are both unsustainable and unsuitable for the challenges of tomorrow. Not only does heavy rotation mono-crop farming lead to long term soil degradation that will make vast swathes of arable land non-viable for food production in the coming decades, but up to 30% of food is thrown away in its journey from farm to fork. This colossal amount of food waste is estimated to account for ¼ of commercial water usage and to 8% of total greenhouse emissions. Many innovative agro-economists are finding ways to push more efficient and environmentally compatible systems. To name a few, these include biodiverse agricultural practices, permaculture, and ai/machine learning supply chain analysis to minimize food waste. The short documentary below highlights some great examples, and is also beautifully shot

Return and renew, changing ideas of ownership: Whilst we are already so used to subscription-based models for digital products, like Netflix and Spotify, the subscription platform allows for huge circular potential in the use of physical goods. Just like how we rely upon our rental shops to help people access the mountains on quality equipment without the cost or burden of full ownership, we can extend this notion of subscription to a whole host of goods and services. These are products that many of us want to access but do not need to own outright. By expanding subscription-based services we can limit the resources that are locked up, either sitting idle or occupying landfill, and increase accessibility and affordability. Used correctly, today’s technology ensures that effective systems of subscription can work. Just check out companies like Grover, a subscription-based business specializing in consumer electronics.

Refurbish, repair and reuse: One of the most proactive ways to ‘close the loop’ is to refurbish and repair rather than throw away. Touched upon in our article discussing how we can make things last longer, reusing products that have been repaired and refurbished is the most effective way to achieve circularity within key product areas from clothes to electronics. In addition, learning, and taking the time to repair products on a community level not only decreases our demand upon new resources, but it can enable us to become more self-sufficient and independent by developing important practical skills. An example of such a space is the Montagne Verte and One Tree Fix It shop in Morzine and Bozel. Not only are they selling second-hand clothes which would otherwise end up in landfill or at the back of wardrobes, they are a place to get clothes repaired and repurposed. By employing seamstresses to cover up the company logos, jobs are being created for local people and a new product is created from what would otherwise become waste.

Re-designing the productive economy: From updating our approaches in product design to exploring business models that normalize the circular use of raw materials, there is lots to be done in the manufacturing sector to help close the loop. Many companies are making huge strides in this area, from zero waste textile companies to circular heavy machinery plants. Fundamentally, it’s important that businesses that produce goods consider that the circular use of materials, components and technologies allows for a huge increased value opportunity. 

Re-thinking finance: For some, it is easy to be dismissive of the global financial system but robust financial practices with environmental priorities are essential to creating a circular economy. The need for green finance becomes more apparent every day, such a system should ensure that the power of credit creation should be focused upon making the expensive projects and technologies of a circular economy financially viable.

Refining recycling: Whilst recycling has quickly become the new norm, the currently recycling system is in trouble. Sadly, much of our recycling ends up being exported without being properly processed. Most of what we recycle ends up polluting developing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. Increasingly, staggering amounts of this ‘recycling’ aggregate is being returned to sender and is especially true for mixed products that include plastic. We need to be more ambitious and demand a highly effective recycling system that attempts to solve some of the key problems with recycling today. Whilst recycling is key to a circular economy, it must be seen as backstop, reduction and reuse is much more sustainable than recycling which always comes at an environmental cost. 

This list only scratches the surface on what a circular economy could look like. In order to help ‘flesh out’ some of these ideas, we will be taking a closer look in subsequent blog posts, further explaining circular systems, and exploring examples – sit tight!

One thing is clear, the traditional political narrative suggests that we can have either prosperity or environmentalism, not both. However, the circular economy model shows that achieving both is not only very possible, but a fundamentally better way to run the world that safeguards everyone’s future.

Author: Seb Zuninga

24 January 2021

Make it last longer

Christmas is just around the corner, and although this year it is looking to be an unusual one by any standards, many of you will be in the throes of shopping for presents for loved ones and friends. With an environmental conscience, this can be a challenging task (see why we recommend that you buy local). Of course, there are many options that boast eco materials, sustainable design and a carbon-neutral manufacturing process however the fact remains that any manufactured product comes at a cost to our environment.

In no area of consumption is this more true than in electronics. Globally we produce over 50 million tons of e-waste per year, a scale that our planet simply cannot sustain. With the tough social circumstances of the current pandemic, there is predicted to be an unparalleled hike in demand for consumer electronics this Christmas, as people seek to connect with others at a distance. This increase in sales will of course lead to an avalanche of outdated and often discarded electronic goods in 2021. Although many communities, including our own, are expanding their e-waste recycling, it is a very costly process and only a small percentage of the refuse is ever recycled effectively.

While sustainability and recyclability are both important elements of new products, it is essential to consider the durability and reparability of a good if we are to curb the environmentally-catastrophic consequences of mass consumerism. Products with these characteristics are key in the move towards a more sustainable economic model that will enable us to live comfortably within the natural boundaries of our environment. Yet with world-leading consumer product companies like Apple knowingly utilizing strategies to reduce the lifespan of core products in order to increase future sales, it seems we face an uphill battle. This is the battle against an intentional manufacturing strategy known as planned obsolescence. 


Planned obsolescence can be understood as the way that companies deliberately design and manufacture a product to ensure it degrades and ceases to function earlier than it would otherwise do so. This is done to increase the product’s replacement rate, the future demand for subsequent units and, in turn, the company’s profits. From an environmental perspective, a higher replacement rate leads to an increased demand for the extraction of raw materials, greater manufacturing, transport and refuse emissions and further expansion of land use accompanied by environmental contamination.

Companies like Apple did not invent planned obsolescence, in fact, the origins of the practice can be traced back to the commercialization of the lightbulb. In 1925 an international agreement between incandescent lightbulb producers was signed in nearby Geneva, resulting in the creation of an international supply “cartel” in the lightbulb market. Despite the technology of ultra-long-lasting lightbulbs existing at that time, bulb manufacturers knew that in order to maximise sales, they needed to degrade the lifespan of their lightbulbs. They even created lightbulb testing rooms to ensure members of the cartel were all producing equally (dys)functional bulbs so as to not out-compete one another. Standing testament to the fact that even incandescent lightbulb filaments can last considerably longer than the industry suggests, one bulb in particular, known as the Centennial lightbulb, can be found in an old fire station in California where it continues to glow after 119 years!

With our brief history lesson over, let’s fast forward to today where there is still no widespread international legislation to combat this practice. On top of this, planned obsolescence has crept into more discrete and manipulative forms, including both aesthetic obsolescence, playing out in our consumer psyche, and obsolescence via software alterations. Apple are experts at both of these strategies, not only do they withhold already acquired technological advancements in order to sell future models down the line, but they have also long been known to release software updates for products like the iPhone which intentionally reduce the speed of older devices to the point of dysfunction.


The fight against planned obsolescence faces many challenges, not the least being the fact that proving in court that a company intentionally practices planned obsolescence is extremely difficult. Fortunately, this has not stopped people from trying. Here in France the government boldly laid out preliminary legislation in 2015 to criminalize manufacturers employing this technique. Two years later, the law was put to test with cases being brought against both Epson and Apple. As a consequence, in January 2020 Apple was fined €25 million and, although this is equivalent to a meagre 3 hours of profits for the tech giant, such a landmark case has set a huge precedent. In fact the momentum created by this outcome has led to a resolution within the EU, authored by French MEP Pascal Durand. This resolution has strongly passed within the European Parliament, demonstrating that there is an international appetite for legislation fighting the perils of over-consumption. While this is great news in an age of seeming corporate dominance and climatic emergency, there is still more that can be done to help fight planned obsolescence. 


Given that the market involves both producers and consumers, there is plenty that can be done on the consumer side. Part of this can simply be achieved through greater information. Currently, it’s not that easy to assess information on the durability and reparability of a product as there is no standardized rating system. This is all about to change in the near future and France is once again leading the charge with the Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP) consumer index. The index will necessitate that certain products show their score out of 10 calculated on several key criteria, including:

  • ease of disassembly
  • price and availability of spare parts
  • access to repair information 
  • contents and purpose of software updates

Not only will this system arm consumers with the power to choose better products that are built to last, but it will also stimulate healthy competition between producers who must now consider durability and reparability in their business models. 

Set to appear sometime in 2021 this initial index will not be perfect and will only cover certain household appliances and electronics to start with. Nonetheless, it is a promising beginning and will likely lead to more informative and thorough systems in the future. Such information will undoubtedly have a huge impact upon the way we make choices as consumers. 

The push for this index has largely been driven by the campaign for the “right-to-repair”, which continues to gain traction across the globe. Advocates of this movement feel strongly about our inherent right as consumers to be able to repair a product whenever necessary. This requires having well-designed products which support ease of disassembly, and fair and affordable access to repair resources, including spare parts, informative manuals and community repair assistance.

With the rise of “repair cafés”, other community repair spaces and a large political movement, it is clear that people feel passionately about this issue. This has even caught the attention of some companies, with large outdoor brands like Patagonia emphasizing and facilitating repair of their products. 

For those of us lucky enough to enjoy a life in the mountains, these issues take on even greater significance. When you depend upon gear to get you out into the mountains and back home safely at the end of the day, it is crucial that it functions well, is durable and can be repaired when the time comes. When things break it should not be necessary to drive down the valley or post them further afield to get them diagnosed or repaired. Our small yet resourceful mountain communities are the perfect places to promote thoughtful consumption of quality products and exchange the skills and know-how required to maintain and fix them when they inevitably get tired.

These key changes to the way we think about and exercise our expectations and practices as consumers are not only of paramount importance to the future of the environment, but they should also chime with some of the characteristics instilled in us by the very mountains we live in: resilience, resourcefulness and respect.

Want to find out more?

Support the right-to-repair movement

Words: Seb Zuniga