PARIS — Several thousand climate activists from across Europe and many from farther afield gathered peacefully near the Arc de Triomphe on Saturday to protest the outcome of the COP 21 climate conference about 12 miles away. The demonstration was an official exception to a ban on public gatherings across France after the Paris terrorist attacks in November.Even as the delegates at the official conference center reached a landmark accord and applauded their achievement, the crowds on the street made clear their belief that it would take much more than the measures in the deal to halt global climate change.
“We don’t like the COP 21,” said Joseph Purugganan, who came from the Philippines to participate in the demonstration with other activists from a coalition called Focus on the Global South. “The message here is that the real solution will come from the people,” he said. “After 20 years of COPs, look at where we are.”
He added that slowing the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, the goal set in the agreement, was not enough. In the Philippines, there have been record typhoons, and fishermen in Southeast Asia are being driven from their homes by rising oceans, he said.
Protesters Are in Agreement as Well: Pact Is Too Weak; By ALISSA J. RUBIN and ELIAN PELTIER, DEC. 12, 2015, New York Times
Some News Summaries of Paris Climate agreement Finalized and Accepted on December 12, 2015
What is in this Final Agreement?
Other Scientists See Weakness in Final of Climate Deal
“LE BOURGET, France; Dec. 11 – Scientists who are closely monitoring the climate negotiations said on Friday that the emerging agreement, and the national pledges incorporated into it, are still far too weak to ensure that humanity will avoid dangerous levels of climate change.
The pledges, even if put in place in full, would result in emissions reductions perhaps half as large as those needed to meet a global goal of limiting planetary warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
“Once you set that global planetary guardrail, everything else must be consistent with that target,” said Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Center, an environmental institute. “It means decarbonizing the world economy by 2050.”
from Scientists See Catastrophe in Latest Draft of Climate Deal; December 11, 2015, New York Times
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Paris Agreement Looking Weaker by the Moment
December 10, 2015: LE BOURGET, France
“In the closing hours of the Paris talks we have been presented with a draft deal that denies the world justice. By including a clause for no future claim of compensation and liability, the US has ensured people suffering from the disastrous impacts of climate change will never be able to seek the justice owed to them.) (by ActionAid a South African-based NGO)
The EU won’t be happy with this, but for the second time shipping aviation – responsible for around 5% of global emissions but growing rapidly – have been left out of the draft Paris deal. It seems unlikely at this stage that they will reappear.
Negotiators appear to have opted for the weakest language around a long-term goal for phasing out fossil fuels.
“The latest draft text has a lot of aspirational language, the real test will be what it means on the ground.” (By Green Group 350”
Tougher 1.5C warming ambition makes it into ‘clean’ text
There are some strong changes to the text that will increase finance from rich countries to poorer countries towards the $100bn target for 2020.
Human rights and gender equality stripped from agreement.
Al Gore said the high ambition coalition, which emerged this week, seemed to have had little impact on the text. He said the coalition had wanted to focus on the “ratchet mechanism”, which will make the agreement stronger over the coming years. “So far we can’t see much reflection of that in the text,” he said.
from The Guardian; Paris, live blog, Thursday 10 December 2015 16.09 EST. Anything not in quotes is by the Guardian Live Blog staff.
Once in A Lifetime Chance
December 10, 2015: “Climate change is not the only crisis we face. We also face a crisis of joblessness. Of inequality. Of racial and gender injustice. So when we talk about climate solutions in this context, it has to be about designing and then fighting for integrated solutions, ones that radically bring down emissions while simultaneously building more just economies and democracies based on true equality.”
The Climate Crisis Is a Once-in-a-Century Chance to Make Our World More Equitable; by Naomi Klein: Author, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, Huffington Post
Paris Climate Talks and World Forests
December 10, 2015: LE BOURGET, France — The climate deal being negotiated here is meant to begin a transformation of the world’s energy systems, but it has another goal that has received far less attention: a sweeping effort to save the world’s forests.
Dozens of countries put forests at the center of the plans they submitted ahead of the conference, near Paris. As the talks began, more than 60 heads of state emphasized their commitment to forest conservation.
If a deal is reached this week and the plans go into effect in 2020, these nations — particularly tropical countries that are home to the richest diversity of plant and animal life — will have committed themselves to sharp reductions in deforestation, and in some cases to ending it entirely.
The improper clearing of forests “is an environmental crime,” the Brazilian minister of the environment, Izabella Teixeira, said in an interview here. “If I have a crime, this is not acceptable.
Delegates at climate talks Focus on Saving the World’s Forests; By JUSTIN GILLIS, DEC. 10, 2015, New York Times
Only a Few Days to Go
12-10-2015: “It is crunch time at the UN climate talks in Paris. We had the diplomats wrangling last week but now the politicians have taken up the baton and with only the next day and a half to go, countries are going to have to make their mind up what they want and what they are prepared to sacrifice.
On Wednesday afternoon the French hosts published a draft of the final negotiating text. It’s a bit shorter, there are many fewer brackets (points of disagreement that are still unresolved), but all the core sticking points remain unresolved. Last night the countries met in plenary to give their reactions, and today there will have to be movement if there is to be a deal.
The good news, especially for poor countries, is that the new text now includes the figure of 1.5C as one of three options for a target rise in temperatures (this piece by my colleague Adam Vaughan explains what impacts are likely to be associated with each extra degree of rise). The other options of “2C” and “under 2” are still there but it does suggest that the pressure put on countries by development groups, churches, the media and others to be ambitious has paid off. Its another matter whether that is the final figure agreed.
Finance to help poorer countries to adapt to climate change will be a major issue and the text recognises the $100bn figure promised by 2020, but indicates that this is just a starting point. Although no ongoing figure is given.
Equally, the thorny issue of loss and damage (what some poor countries see as compensation for climate impacts) is in the text but with no new language around it. That probably means that no-one is prepared to compromise yet.
As I write this around 400 people from environment and development groups are inside the centre demonstrating that they want countries to be ambitious. The cry is “1.5 to stay alive.”
The next 24 hours will decide if there is to be a deal. There will have to be compromises made but by lunchtime we should have the bones of a final agreement. Then there will be long plenary sessions, possibly another text, and a deal possibly on Friday night or Saturday morning.
It could all go wrong but the mood here is positive. Whether they can now find a way through the labyrinth of alternatives and brackets is another matter.
John Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian”
December 9, 2015: Le Bourget (France) (AFP) – Ministers seeking to avoid climate catastrophe reported rare cooperation Monday as they launched five days of frenetic negotiations in Paris to reach a historic global deal. The 195-nation UN talks have been billed as the last chance to avert the worst consequences of global warming: deadly drought, floods and storms, and rising seas that will engulf islands and densely populated coastlines. ‘The opportunity to rise to the call of history is not given to everyone or every day,’ UN climate chief Christiana Figueres told the conference, which aims to overcome decades of division and broker an elusive universal pact. ‘History has chosen you here, now.’ UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned negotiators ‘the clock is ticking towards a climate catastrophe’, and implored them to put aside the rows and soft compromises that have cursed previous UN climate campaigns. Among the slew of fundamental issues in dispute are how far and how fast to limit global warming, and how to review national commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The ministers have a Friday deadline to reach an accord, seeking to resolve the stubborn arguments that primarily pit rich nations against the poor.
Saudi Arabia Trying to Wreck Talks?
” December 8: Saudi Arabia stood accused on Tuesday of trying to wreck the Paris climate summit in order to protect its future as one of the world’s largest oil producers. As the talks entered the home stretch, developing country negotiators and campaigners became increasingly vocal in their complaints that the kingdom was getting in the way of a deal. “They are seeing the writing on the wall,” said Wael Hmaidan , director of Climate Action Network, the global campaign group. “The world is changing and it’s making them very nervous.”
Much Work to Be Done
‘”December 7: Here in Paris, negotiators are feeling the heat. As the conference enters its final crucial week, ministers are arriving, greeted by young volunteers from local neighborhoods, electrified transport and recycled art. Negotiators were working into the early hours over the weekend to produce a 48 page draft agreement. Published on Saturday, it was 252 pages shorter than at this point during the disastrous Copenhagen talks in 2009. But within the agreement lie more than 900 square brackets, signifying areas of disagreement. Laurent Fabius, president of COP21 and the French foreign minister, summed up the challenge ahead: ‘We’re talking about life itself…I intend to muster the experience of my entire life to the service of success for next Friday,’ he told the conference. But many developing countries are now worried about parts of the agreement, which they say could put pressure on them to provide climate finance, alongside rich nations. Some even say that the text is an attempt to change the UN’s convention itself. So can the negotiators find the right compromises, delete the brackets and come to a consensus by 6pm on Friday?”
Emma Howard and the Guardian team in Paris.
China Trying to Wreck Talks?
As Beijing declared its first “red alert” for heavy smog this week, closing schools and curbing car use, Chinese negotiators at UN talks in Paris are being accused of trying to weaken the new global climate accord due to be finalised by Friday.
“It is very frustrating,” said one negotiator from a developed country after a meeting where he said Chinese officials had tried to water down efforts to create a common system for the way countries report to the UN on their carbon dioxide emissions and climate change plans.
Another envoy said Chinese delegates were also resisting a measure widely seen as crucial for a successful accord: a requirement for countries to update the pledges they have made to limit their emissions, preferably every five years from around 2020.
China is supporting a general stocktaking review of countries’ pledges every five years but wants any updating of the carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets contained in these plans to be voluntary, this envoy said.
President Heads For Paris Climate Talks and Gives His Thoughts on That Meeting
Obama’s comments on the Paris climate talks, posted on Facebook 11-29-2015:
I’m heading to Paris today to join nearly 200 countries for a global conference on climate change. It’s an opportunity to stand in solidarity with our oldest ally, just two weeks removed from the barbaric attacks there,and reaffirm our commitment to protect our people and our way of life from terrorist threats. It’s also an opportunity for the world to stand as one and show that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.
What makes this gathering different is that more than 180 nations have already submitted plans to reduce the harmful emissions that help cause climate change. And America’s leadership is helping to drive this progress. In fact, our businesses and workers have shown that it’s possible to make progress towards a low-carbon future while creating new jobs and growing the economy. Our economic output is at all-time highs, but our greenhouse gas emissions are down towards 20-year lows.
So what we’re trying to do in Paris is put in place a long-term framework for further emissions reductions – targets set by each nation, but transparent enough to be verified by other nations. And we’ll work to mobilize support to help the most vulnerable countries expand clean energy and adapt to the effects of climate change we can no longer avoid.
I’m optimistic about what we can achieve – because I’ve already seen America take incredible strides these past seven years. And with that – I’ll see you in Paris.”
From the New York Times: December 1, 2015
Mr. Obama made his remarks [at the Paris Climate Conference] hours before Congress was to reconvene, and the Republican majority in the House was expected to send a signal to negotiators from the nearly 200 nations gathered in Paris that it did not support the president’s climate-change policies.
The House was expected to pass two bills blocking Mr. Obama’s major initiatives on climate change, a set of Environmental Protection Agency rules to push energy providers away from coal-fired power plants
We bet you have already guessed correctly what they are doing? If not, see here.