The UNFCCC secretariat has invited ClimateGains.org to run a series of events in their COP28 Pavilion, Resilience Frontiers.
We teamed up with Agence Française de Développement for parts of this program (see below).
A series of talks and interactive sessions to open the space of alternate green economies and financial systems
Every day, you walk the streets and try to find logic in what you see. Need in the midst of glut. Relentless destruction of the global natural resources that keep us alive. Hot money slashes around the world’s financial markets, creating wealth without sustainable benefits. Clinging to outdated technologies, protected by powerful economic and political interests. Everywhere, that unwillingness to face the facts.
You have been told that, yes, there are imbalances and market failures, but There Is No Alternative. Mature capitalism is the only game in town. But you cannot quite bring yourself to believe it. We are ClimateGains, and we feel like that, too. You are in the right place.
At COP28 We organize a meeting of minds to learn from each other what future, resilient, economies might look like. And maybe even how we can help bring them into the world. Inspired by science fiction, we nurture and support new, radical ways to think about the economy, finance and economic policy.
It draws inspiration from the work of the Science Fiction Economics Lab, a sister project born out of a 2-year process involving economists, scientists, sci-fi authors and artists. We imagine and experiment with new, radical ways to think about how and why we symbolically trace our exchanges of materials and values.
Financial institutions are key players so it made sense to cross-pollinate with a parallel sister track of conversations around the future of financial institutions run by the French Development Bank and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC).
Like ClimateGains, the partnership of 26 development banks is working to implement the Sustainable Development Goals & the Paris Climate Agreement agendas. We felt joint learning, thinking and exploring new alternatives for just and sustainable futures made sense.
So we will have one session in each program where the perspectives of one track feed into the other. NB: Neither organisations necessarily represent the views of the other - this is a collective conversation of many voices and perspectives.
ClimateGains Founders @Tim_Reutemann and I put together the program of events. Hugo Ortiz Dubon, Former Ambassador of El Salvador to the European Union and Luxembourg, has joined ClimateGains as Head of Global Affairs and Public Private Partnerships. He will be on location to help us build a “coalition of the willing” around driving forward the ideas coming out of this program.
As far as @Tim_Reutemann and I are concerned, critical systems aren’t coordinating in ways that enable healthy, authentic choices for individuals, choices that feel informed and impactful. Polluters can collude to their collective benefit but at a significant human cost.
As the threats of a planet in crisis hit home, we risk a world where many groups and individuals either already have different “solutions” for climate adaptation or mitigation imposed on them - or will experience this soon. This lack of choice is problematic.
Not only might it exacerbate inequalities, but it may also lead to failure to meet our climate goals. If the people in question do not find proposed interventions for climate mitigation or adaptation appropriate and desirable, they will either a) not be adopted, b) be poorly implemented and or c) result in adverse effects in other dimensions like the erosion of civil liberties or breakdown of social cohesion.
We believe creating options born from the public themselves is necessary and possible. For how they can effectively respond to the current and future challenges that impact them.
Because we have a unique opportunity and risk in implementing articles 6 and 9 of the Paris Accords. A massive amount of climate mitigation and adaptation funding is coming down the pipeline.
Right now, we see that we are at risk of that money having little effect or exacerbating global inequality. Instead, we want that money to be well spent on solutions people on the ground want in their communities. Science Fiction expands the set of imaginable options people can perceive as possible.
ClimateGains ambition is to explore visions for introducing and embedding choice architectures. And see if we can co-design finance mechanisms to facilitate their realization (climategains.org). This program of events is designed to move us closer to realising these goals.
We do this informed by our experience building projects that rely on co-creation and effective distributed collaboration at scale.
The program runs for three days, each with one thirty-minute provocative input in the morning with discussion followed by a sixty-minute interactive session in the afternoon.
During the interactive sessions, we welcome you to join us in Witness - an open-source fictional world where you can discuss even the most problematic political situation without reference to any real-world group. This imaginary world pays a lot of attention to its economies, some of which radically differ from the ones we live in today. The fictional events in the first two sessions will echo challenges inspired by the real-world experiences of climate youth activists.
In the third interactive session, we use those experiences to explore together with officials and activists how different strategies can build islands of resilience and spark hope in an otherwise dark future. And how financial systems and resources can be appropriately revamped and mobilized to support this development.
Concept Notes summarizing the discourse and main insights from each session. And a series of follow up activities for participants after the conclusion of COP28.
Nadia Alter CEO and Cofounder, ClimateGains.org & Scifi Economics Lab
As an engineer and user experience designer, she specializes in building collective intelligence tools for businesses, policymakers and activists. Over the past decade she has designed and delivered online community platforms for participatory sense making and distributed collaboration around social and environmental challenges. Most recently for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.
Previously to ClimateGains, Nadia served as interim CEO of Quad9, a Swiss-based, non-profit organization which operates a privacy-and-security focused, open DNS recursive service used by an estimated tens of millions of devices worldwide. Prior to that she co-founded Edgeryders- a non-profit organisation that develops tools using computational social science to to order avoid and detect errors in insights generated by ai. Edgeryders’ work has spun off the Science Fiction Economics Lab. Their work has been featured in l’Echo, Bruzz, La Repubblica, The Nation, Nesta, Dazed & Confused, The Guardian, Wired …
Tim Reutemann has evaluated hundreds of climate project applications and helped with writing dozens himself during his years at South Pole Carbon, UNEP, UNDP and the Swiss Federal Office for Environment and Nature. Tim continues to draw inspiration from the young generation of climate activists globally and is dedicated to re-directing financial support to make the common call for “Climate Justice Now” a tangible reality. Having grown up online, Tim is seeking to transform the paper-based utopia of rules into a functional digital-first mechanism build on smart heuristics that can fund and report on climate action globally, accessible to anyone independent of their documentation status or access to paperwork.
After regular interactions through the Science Fiction Economics Lab over the years, Nadia and Tim co-founded the company ClimateGains as an applied experimental addition to the Lab in 2022.
Alexis Bonnel, Strategy, Foresight and institutional Relations Department, French Development Agency (AFD)
Alexis Bonnel has worked for many years in the fields of climate finance and sustainable development. He began his career in the United States, working on migration issues with Mexico at the Carnegie Foundation, before joining the World Bank as a financial analyst. At Agence Française de Développement (AFD), he was in charge of the infrastructure and environment unit. He later joined the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help design the Green Climate Fund. He also coordinated the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), a global network of development banks. He is currently in charge of foresight at AFD. Alexi is a graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in France.
Areas of interest: gender equality, equality and equity, asylum and labour migration, democracy, rule of law, persons with disabilities rights. Achievements: wrote the new EU labour migration law, advocated for women’s rights in Iran, several initiatives on making Parliament more accessible, criminalising purchasing of sex, defending right to safe and legal abortion in the EU among other things
Former Ambassador, Embassy of El Salvador to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the EU. Under his tenure, Hugo led El Salvador’s strategic engagement with the EU, amplifying the country’s role in EU global initiatives. He fostered vital relations with EU institutions, focusing on Digital and Green Agendas, Democracy Building, and Capacity Building for sustainable growth. Additionally, Ortiz enhanced commercial ties with Belgium and Luxembourg, attracting investments to El Salvador.
Founder of the Rise Up climate movement and the Vash Green Schools Project, which aims to install solar panels on all of Uganda’s 24,000 schools. She has spearheaded the Save Congo Rainforest campaign. The United Nations named her a Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, and Time magazine named her to its Time100 Next list in 2021. Nakate and her work have been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, Yes!, Vox, Vogue, the Huffington Post, World Economic Forum, the International Women’s Forum, and the Global Landscapes Forum, and on globalcitizen.org, greenpeace.org, CNN, the BBC, PBS, and the United Nations media. She lives in Kampala, Uganda.
In a country like DRC, already traumatized by security and food crisis, the population spends most of its time looking for food. Additionally, Congo is a Francopohone, while the world of climate change is virtually Anglophone. These two problems prompted Mr. Kalonji to commit himself full-time to help Congolese communities to become aware of the existence of the climate crisis through awareness raising activities that culminate in concrete actions such as tree-planting, construction of efficient stoves and disaster relief work. 25 years old, Gillaume lives between the capital state, Kinshasa and Bukavu city in eastern Congo.