Game-Changing Initiatives… the Top 10 Awards of 2016 UNFCCC Momentum for Change…

10 game-changing initiatives from around the world were announced today as winners of the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change climate change award.

Winning activities include:

  • A Google-led project that could catalyse the rooftop solar market for millions of people across the United States
  • An ingenious net that harvests fog from the air to provide drinking water for people on the edge of Morocco’s Sahara Desert
  • North America’s first revenue-neutral tax that puts a price on carbon pollution
  • A project that has established the first women-specific standard to measure and monetize women’s empowerment benefits of climate action

Other winners include the EU’s largest crowdfunding platform for community solar projects and a project in Malaysia initiated by Ericsson that uses sensors to provide near real-time information to restore dwindling mangrove plantations.

Read on to learn about these 13 game-changing activities:

1. Gothenburg Green Bonds | Sweden

In 2013, the City of Gothenburg became the first city in the world to issue green bonds, which enable it to borrow money for investments that benefit the environment. More than 75% of proceeds from green bonds issued between 2013 and 2015 are used by the city to fund climate change projects that promote the transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.

2. Crowdfunding for Community Solar Projects | The Netherlands

ZonnepanelenDelen is working to ensure everyone in The Netherlands has access to solar power, even if they don’t have a roof. The largest crowdfunding platform in the EU for community solar projects, WeShareSolar connects site owners who have a suitable roof (but are not able to invest in solar themselves) with consumers that want to buy a solar panel but do not have a suitable roof. The project makes it easier for third parties to develop and operate a community solar project.

3. Off Grid Electric | U.S.A. & Tanzania

Off Grid Electric (OGE) is a ground-breaking company based in San Francisco and Arusha, Tanzania, with the ambitious aim of powering off-grid homes across Africa with affordable, renewable energy. OGE currently provides solar systems to homes and businesses in rural communities through an innovative financial solution. It offers “solar as a service” to customers who suffer from an expensive grid, an unreliable grid, or have no grid access at all.

4. Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax | Canada 

In 2008, the Canadian province of British Columbia introduced North America’s first revenue-neutral carbon tax applied to the purchase or use of fuel in British Columbia. The carbon tax has been hailed as the most comprehensive of its kind, covering approximately 70% of provincial emissions. Since the tax is revenue neutral, every dollar generated is returned to British Columbians in the form of personal and business tax measures.

5. Connected Mangroves | Malaysia

Ericsson’s Connected Mangroves project, the first of its kind in the world, combines cloud, machine-to-machine and mobile broadband to help the local community in Selangor, Malaysia, to better manage the growth of new mangrove saplings. The project uses sensors to provide near real-time information to restore dwindling mangrove plantations.

6. Mapping for Rights | Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Peru 

This initiative of the Rainforest Foundation UK supports forest peoples to counter harmful extractive industry and advocate for legal reforms by equipping them with low-cost technologies to map and monitor their lands, and making this data available on an online platform.

7. SOLshare | Bangladesh 

SOLshare has successfully piloted the world’s first ICT-enabled peer-to-peer electricity trading network for rural households with and without solar home systems in Shariatpur, Bangladesh. Along with its implementation partner, the NGO UBOMUS, its financing partner IDCOL and research partner United International Universit-Centre for Energy Research, SOLshare combines solar home systems and centralized mini-grids to enable more rural households to access renewable electricity at a lower cost.

8. Project Sunroof | U.S.A

Last year, Google introduced Project Sunroof to enable tens of millions of potential solar customers from across the U.S. to evaluate if their home is suitable for solar and how much they could save on electricity. Project Sunroof works by using high-resolution aerial imagery from Google Earth to help calculate a roof’s solar energy potential.

9. Climate Right | Sweden

The Climate Right project in Uppsala, Sweden,makes it possible for people to measure and reduce their climate impact. Using a free app developed for the project, participants were able to track their climate impact through their choice of food, mode of transport and way of living, encouraging them to live in a climate friendly way.

10. Women’s Empowerment for Resilience and Adaptation Against Climate Change | Uganda

Women’s Empowerment for Resilience and Adaptation Against Climate Change has formed an association of women-led groups that collect individual-savings of at least USD 1 once a week to generate a pool of funds, from which women borrow and invest into income-generating activities that address climate change. This initiative also empowers women undertake land planning, agro-forestry and soil conservation practices and use energy saving stoves.