The Trillion Tonne Communique


Where does change happen? This is a very common question at Dickinson. The general answer is that it starts with yourself, spreads through your community, and then through the globe. For the purposes of what I want to discuss, change can happen with businesses too. In terms of climate change many look to business and the market as a significant factor to where GHG concentrations are currently. This is a large of debate and an entire separate discussion. What I am going to focus on is how businesses can make change happen by being vocal activists.

The Prince of Whales Climate Leadership Group (CLG) provides a forum for businesses around the world to come together and make their collective voices heard about the urgency of climate change issues. The CLG communiques are the outlet for this voice. Six have been released thus far, with the seventh not far from release. At first they followed significant COP decisions, but recently have been focused on broader issues. For instance, the most recent was in support of a global carbon price.

The next communique is nearly ready and firms have already begun to sign it. This seventh communique, the Trillion Tonne Communique, is for those who support the idea of a trillion tonne cap on carbon emitted. This is the number that was put, as a limit, to the 2 degrees Celsius maximum. It was brought to the attention of the mosaic a few weeks ago and immediately we acted on it. A letter was drafted to the President of the College and the Chair of the Board asking them to support Dickinson signing on to the Communique. The next day we had a meeting with the President, who then told us to pursue it through the chain of committees that would have been traditionally followed. It is now under review and we hope to have an answer in time for COP20.

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The TTC registration form.

Now, you may be thinking, Dickinson College is not a business. It is not, but it is a registered non-profit and therefore able to sign on. Why do this? For one, it is a simple gesture- as no real pledge needs to be made. On another level this could ignite an entirely new conversation and network. Imagine businesses and institutions of higher education collaborating and using their very different voices to demand action on climate change at an international level.

We will see what happens as we approach a meeting of the Dickinson Board and as we near COP20 in December. Let me know your thoughts on this below!


REEEPing the Benefits of Transnational Networks

REEEP Structure
REEEP Structure

The Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) is an international non-profit based in Vienna, Austria that’s aim is to “accelerate the global market for sustainable energy with a primary focus on developing countries and emerging markets.”[1] Launched in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development by the United Kingdom and several other partners, REEEP has developed into a wide reaching NGO that has implemented over 180 projects in 58 countries. Membership is comprised of national and sub-national governments, international organizations, businesses, and other NGOs. REEEP operates as a public-private governance structure off of donor money and serves their mission by providing funding, information, and connector for clean energy solutions. A critique of transnational governance structures and groups such as REEEP is the overall effectiveness. An evaluation of REEEP’s place in global climate change governance and clean energy markets finds that REEEP is indeed effective.

Changjiang Buildings with Solar Thermal
Changjiang Buildings with Solar Thermal

REEEP’s existence is intrinsically linked to climate change, but also goes beyond just the need for energy that is not derived from carbon-intensive sources. REEEP’s support of clean energy markets is focused on three problem areas: (1) the water-energy nexus, (2) sustainable urban transport, (3) energy efficiency and buildings. Through these three areas they are able to provide services to not only increase the amount of clean energy employed in operations, but also to change the market system in the area in question. One service in particular is the portfolio system. REEEP looks for ventures in the clean energy market that they think will significantly alter the market system. They then invest donor funding into the venture. Their claim is that they “measure ROI not in money, but in markets changed.”[2] A claim not backed up by readily available evidence, but implies that REEEP is looking beyond monetary growth and interested in changing the way the market functions.

REEEP is heavily project based and to go into even a wide breadth of them would be a very large analysis. Though one big project known as Reegle is a shining example of the work REEEP does. Reegle is an informational portal for those interested in clean energy. It receives over 220,000 visitors per month and provides information from nation’s energy profile to a clean energy and climate change glossary. They also claim that many of the visitors are from developing nations. 220,000 visitors in a month is a lot. The information gathered in this portal, just for the energy profile, would take hours of work to gather otherwise. For this reason solely Reegle is a great tool. Another successful project was one in which REEEP funded a roadmap for increased renewable energy in China’s Changjiang River Basin (CJR). This project provided over €160,000 in funding to researchers that prepared a report on global and then implemented two technologies in CJR. The project provided hot water for apartment buildings in the region, as well as another example of successful implementation of a clean energy technology.

The question then is, is REEEP effective? Given the breadth of successful and ongoing projects, as well as continued funding I would judge to say yes. Financially speaking REEEP is in good standing and operating within their prerogatives, as judged by a recent Auditor’s Report.[3] An outside assessment of REEEP was conducted during a National Research Council workshop on “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships.” The report, titled Assessing the Role and Relevance of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in Global Sustainability Governance found that REEEP is “indeed addressing the goals that it declares.” One criticism was that REEEP focuses attention on the most important emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency markets and neglects the poorer nations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. The final judgment though is that given REEEP’s current scale and ability to implement these large projects, it could have “considerable impact in the area of sustainable energy policy.” Given this assessment by those within the NRC and the successful projects that have been implemented thus far, as well as the market impact that can be attributed to REEEP, it is safe to say that this group can be judged as effective.



[1] REEEP Mission,

[2] REEEP Portfolios,

[3] Auditor’s Report 2012-2013, REEEP

Works Cited

“Annual Report 2012/13.” REEEP.


“Auditor’s Report 2013.” PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Pattberg, Philipp, Kacper Szulecki, Sander Chan, and Aysem Mert. “Abstract: Assessing the Role and

Relevance of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in Global

Sustainability Governance.” Enhancing the Effectiveness of Sustainability Partnerships (2009):



“Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership .” REEEP.