China offers Paris boost as UN climate deal pledges trickle in

WEEKLY WRAP: All you need to know from the last seven days of international climate change and energy politics

Changsha in Hunan province, China. (Pic: Jakob Montrasio/Flickr)

Changsha in Hunan province, China. (Pic: Jakob Montrasio/Flickr)

By Ed King

Hopes for a successful outcome at this year’s Paris climate talks were boosted with the release of China’s carbon cutting pledge this week. Not that it was new – the headline figure aiming for an emissions peak by 2030 was announced last November.

Analysts were quick to accuse China of aiming too low. The team at Climate Action Tracker said a goal to cut the carbon intensity of GDP 60-65% below 2005 levels by 2030 was “inadequate”. And as Gerard Wynn argues in an analysis for us, it’s not clear what the emissions levels will be in 2030.

Still, it was met with relief from UN officials who know that without China on board, a global pact is all but impossible. According to the country’s climate strategy team, the commitment to invest in renewables means China alone will effectively double the global capacity of wind and solar.

INDC watch: Along with China, four other pledges dropped through the UN’s letter box in Bonn this week: Serbia, Iceland, South Korea and Singapore. RTCC’s Paris tracker has all the latest figures.

**Sign up for for our weekly newsletter here**

India: Environment minister Prakash Javadekar said it would not be following China by announcing an emissions “peak”. But he added it would release its plans “soon” and they would me more ambitious than anyone expects.

Brazil: A high level meet between Dilma Rousseff and Barack Obama failed to deliver the Amazon zero deforestation announcement many hoped for, but she said it hopes to source 28-33% of its energy from renewable sources in 2030, excluding hydropower.

Rousseff also outlined plans to eliminate illegal deforestation and restore 12 million hectares of forest by 2030. To achieve this it will try and register all the country’s 5 million land holdings by 2016.


“Ensure that henceforth your government engagement is clearly focused on the outcome you have sought in your letter to me,” – UN climate chief Christiana Figueres tells big oil to quit lobbying against a Paris deal.

Australia: Tony Abbott’s climate commission says he should slash emissions 30% on 2000 levels by 2025, and 40-60% by 2030. That’s deeper cuts than Norway, Japan, EU, Canada and the US. He’s likely to ignore the panel, all appointed before he took office.

But for inspiration Tony could head to South Australia, where state premier Jay Weatherill tells RTCC‘s Megan Darby the future is green.

Pakistan: Islamabad is planning to set up a carbon market with the help of China, to help “lure” low carbon investment. Climate minister Arif Ahmed Khan told RTCC it could come online in the “next couple of years.”

**Sign up for for our weekly newsletter here**

Cities: Over 1700 mayors and regional leaders representing 60 million people signalled their support for a Paris deal this week at a UN-backed summit in Lyon. At the same event, 20 states and sub-regions from British Columbia to the Basque Country spotlighted their carbon cutting targets.


$500 million: That’s how much the Green Climate Fund has in its project pipeline – with more details due soon on its first investments.

Small islands: Kiribati’s president says the Paris deal will be “too late” for low lying atoll islands like his own, while the Maldives’ environment minister wants countries to aim for a tougher 1.5C warming limit. Still, some good news from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Fiji, Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands have “vast” supplies of clean energy it says in a new report.

UK headlines:
-Reform the FTSE 100 or face an economic crash
-Advisor says climate credentials under threat
-Can a new runway at Heathrow work with climate goals?
-DECC 90% staff budget cuts risks UK’s climate plans

Clinton emails: Onward! So started Hillary Clinton’s email to her top climate advisor Todd Stern after the Copenhagen summit. The newly released messages from her time as SOS offer an intriguing glimpse into how the US approaches UN climate talks.

Clinton emails

Low carbonara: We missed you. The comedy blog following the UN climate talks is back after a two-year break. Who writes it? Not us. But it’s worth following in the run-up to Paris.

And finally. If you like twitter… check @getinthesea


6-9: Green Climate Fund board meeting (Songdo)
7-10: ‘Our common future’ climate science conference (Paris)
9-11: BRICS summit (Russia)
13-16: SDGs finance simmit (Addis Abba)
20-21: UNFCCC ministerial meeting (Paris)
20-31: SDGs negotiations (New York)

Read more on: Breaking News |