16 game-changing climate action initiatives announced

Need some inspiration? Take a look at these sixteen game-changing climate action initiatives from around the world.

These initiatives were announced on Tuesday as winners of the prestigious United Nations’ Momentum for Change climate change award.

Winning activities include Fairphone, which is a seriously cool smartphone that puts social values first, and the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative, which is enabling 40 Latin American cities to take concrete climate action.

Others inspiring projects include Microsoft’s Internal Carbon Fee, which holds its business units financially responsible for reducing their carbon emissions.

The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. The announcement is part of wider efforts to mobilise action and ambition as national governments work toward adopting a new universal climate agreement in Paris.

“With less than 35 days to go until the climate change conference in Paris, the Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities are further compelling proof that climate action is building worldwide and in countries, communities, companies and cities everywhere,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said.

“By showcasing these remarkable solutions and the people behind them we can strengthen efforts toward that new agreement, accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon, highly resilient development path and mark a turning point in the sustainable management of planet Earth for the seven billion alive today and the ten billion by 2050.”

The 2014 Lighthouse Activities were selected by a 24-member international advisory panel. Momentum for Change is implemented with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation, and operates in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

Read on to learn about these 16 game-changing activities: 

1. Azuri PayGo Energy

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Innovating pay-as-you-go energy systems for rural homes. Azuri PayGo Energy has combines solar and mobile phone technology to bring clean energy to people living in Sub‐Saharan Africa. The pay‐as‐you‐go solar home system provides eight hours of emission‐free lighting each day and enough power to charge mobile phones. Read more about this initiative here.  

2. ChargePoint electric vehicle charging corridors 

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Building a network of electric vehicle express charging stations. ChargePoint’s Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors, the world’s largest EV charging network, is transforming the transportation industry by providing the charging stations, mobile app and the network that allow people to charge their cars everywhere they go. Read more about this initiative here.  

3. Deforestation-free cocoa

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Using a carbon-asset-backed loan to protect forests and produce cocoa. The Deforestation-free Cocoa project follows a ‘payment for performance’ model: farmers receive financing on the condition that they won’t deforest further, will restore 4,000 hectares of degraded land in the buffer zone with cocoa‐based agroforestry systems, and that a share of revenues from cocoa sales will go to investors. Read more about this initiative here

4. Emerging and sustainable cities initiative 

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Supporting sustainable growth in emerging cities. The Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative is tackling climate change by creating planning tools and action plans to put Latin American cities on a low-carbon, highly resilient pathway. Read more about this initiative here.  

5. Enabling farmers to adapt to climate change 

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Using ICT solutions to build resilience. The Enabling Farmers to Adapt to Climate Change project uses a set of ICT tools to collect, analyze and send out agricultural advisories, crop and livestock market information and weather data to Ugandan farmers, who are among the most affected by the impacts of climate change. Read more about this initiative here

6. E-waste: From toxic to green 

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Creating jobs to keep e-waste out of landfills. The E‐waste: From Toxic to Green initiative trains waste pickers in India to collect electronic waste, such as computers and mobile phones, for safe disposal and recycling. Read more about this initiative here

7. Fairphone 

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Producing a phone that improves lives and the environment. Fairphone is a Dutch social enterprise that is working to build sustainable and conflict‐free smartphones. Read more about this initiative here

8. Fostering cleaner production

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Reducing emissions in manufacturing. Fostering Cleaner Production is an all‐women leadership alliance helping transform Colombia’s highly polluting construction industry into a cleaner, greener business. Read more about this initiative here

9. Harvesting geothermal energy 

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Generating income with geothermal waste-heat. Women from rural communities in El Salvador are increasing their incomes and tackling climate change through a unique project called Harvesting Geothermal Energy that uses waste heat and steam condensates from nearby geothermal plants. Read more about this initiative here

10. Lifelink water solutions

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Developing an online water management platform. Grundfos Lifelink Water Solutions helps build resilience to the effects of climate change by providing access to safe, sustainable and affordable water to people in developing countries. Read more about this initiative here

11. Mapping exposure to sea level rise

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Preparing for risk with online spatial tools. Mapping Exposure to Sea Level Rise is an innovative ICT solution helping Pacific Island countries prepare for and adapt to sea level rise brought about by climate change. Read more about this initiative here

12. Microsoft global carbon fee

undefinedTransforming corporate culture by putting a price on carbon. Microsoft’s internal carbon fee holds its business units financially accountable for their carbon emissions. It’s a financial model that puts an incremental fee on carbon emissions associated with the company’s global operations for data centers, offices, labs, manufacturing, and business air travel. Read more about this initiative here

13. Mobisol smart solar homes

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Powering homes with solar energy. Mobisol Smart Solar Homes is a rent-to-own service that lowers the barrier to buying solar home systems upfront by allowing customers to pay the system off in 36 monthly instalments. Read more about this initiative here

14. Planting trees to save the mangrove

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Establishing women-led groups that protect forests and generate income. The Planting Trees to Save the Mangrove initiative is run by women-led cooperatives in Guinea, who reduce the deforestation of mangrove wood and cut emissions by introducing solar driers to dry and smoke fish. Read more about this initiative here.  

15. SELF’s solar market gardens

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Using the sun to empower women farmers. SELF’s Solar Market Garden project combines solar-powered pumps with drip irrigation systems to provide for the reliable, year-round, production of high-value, nutritious produce. This allows girls and women to reallocate their time to educational and economic pursuits, rather than having to haul water long distances. Read more about this initiative here

16. Solvatten solar safe water heater

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Reducing emissions while securing access to safe drinking water. Solvatten Solar Safe Water Heater is a dual water treatment and solar water heating system that is tackling climate change and improving lives in Kenya’s urban slums. Read more about this initiative here

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