Pipeline projects merely 'temporary setback' in global climate movement, UN advisor says

A UN climate advisor says despite the recent approval of pipeline projects here in North America, the global conversation around climate change is moving towards less dependence on fossil fuels.

Satya Tripathi is a senior advisor for the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and has been leading tsunami recovery projects in Indonesia since 2011.

He told guest host Stephen Quinn on CBC's The Early Edition, overall the global conversation was "moving in the right direction" despite recent approval of pipeline projects.

"There are events and conversations that you could possibly characterize as temporary setbacks," he said.

"But in terms of the broader global conversation, it is certainly moving towards sustainability, looking for alternative sources of energy."

Tripathi said he was also heartened by the Paris Agreement — the world's first comprehensive universal climate agreement — which has already been ratified by a record 133 countries.

Challenges remain

He concedes major challenges remain for the movement.

"I think the biggest challenge is where the money comes from because ultimately there's a lot of ideas that countries have, institutions have, stakeholders have. To move the needle, however, requires a lot of resources."

Tripathi said a key area is to involve private corporations in the environmental movement — particularly around small-scale investments.

In Indonesia, for example, Tripathi has worked with small-scale farmers. By increasing the efficiency of the farmers outputs with private investment and education, he explained, the project was able to increase profits for individual farmers and protect nearby forests from being clear cut for agricultural land.

"It's a win-win model for everybody — for people, planet, and profit."

Tripathi speaks about his work at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia at noon today.

With files from The Early Edition

To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled Pipelines merely 'temporary setback' in global climate movement, UN advisor says