Revised Paris climate text expected amid diplomacy blitz

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


Ahmed Djoghlaf and Dan Reifsnyder’s version of the climate negotiating text is due out today (Pics: IISD)

By Megan Darby

“We can now say that the text is quantitatively shorter than when we left Bonn in June. Whether or not the substance brings us qualitatively closer to a deal in Paris will take some time to determine.”

That was Thoriq Ibrahim, Maldives minister and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, on the deadline day for the UN to publish a revised negotiating text for climate talks.

Unfortunately, that is the best intelligence we have, because co-chairs Ahmed Djoghlaf and Dan Reifsnyder are taking it right to the wire. A spokesperson told RTCC not to expect the document before 10pm.

Diplomacy blitz

But it has been an exceptional week for climate diplomacy.

We’ve had the Major Economies Forum, 46 ministers meeting in Paris, 60 mayors in the Vatican and the world’s first Summit of Conscience for Climate.

France’s chief climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana hailed headway on moves to ensure all countries review their carbon cutting achievements every five years.

“This is a breakthrough,” she said in the post-summit press conference. “That was not obvious to get.”

Ed King has wrapped it all up for your reading pleasure and put faces to names of 28 men and women to watch.


€100 a tonne – the price of carbon in 2030, under France’s new energy law

Australian lawsuit?

Fresh from her legal victory against the Dutch government, Urgenda chief Marjan Minnesma has been rabble-rousing down under.

Environmentalists in Brisbane lapped up her tale of triumph over the Netherlands’ high carbon status quo.

It could be hard to replicate in Australia, lawyers said, but they were determined to try and challenge Tony Abbott’s laggardly policies in the courts.

These were labelled bewildering, distorted, illogical, risky and isolating by a former UK Tory minister this week. MP Richard Benyon finished his attack on Abbott’s climate stance by calling his attitude to climate change “un-conservative”.

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Hansen horror

World famous climate scientist James Hansen warned on Monday several metres of sea level rise could happen this century – and a 2C warming limit was not enough to stop it.

The dire forecast, based on modeling of feedback loops not considered by previous studies, has yet to be peer reviewed. It is in a discussion paper, allowing other scientists to critique it publicly.

Will it change the course of climate talks? He evidently hoped so.

INDC watch

The Marshall Islands and Kenya submitted their climate pledges to the UN this week.

At less than 0.01% of global emissions, the Marshall Islands’ contribution isn’t going to make or break the deal. But as one of the most vulnerable countries to sea level rise, it made a point of targeting ambitious economy-wide emissions cuts.

Meanwhile, Kenya asked for international support to cut emissions 30% on business as usual by 2030 and protect its citizens – a plan costed at US$40 billion.

That plea was echoed by Mithika Mwenda of the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance, commenting ahead of US president Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya this weekend.


“I like to think of it like losing weight: you go on a diet and you exercise” – Noah Deich, founder of new Center for Carbon Removal, on why and how we need to suck carbon out of the air

Brazil, Colombia and Indonesia are all expected to reveal their climate plans “in the coming weeks”, according to EU commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

Colombia floated a headline figure of 20% cuts from business as usual in 2030, or up to 30% with international support.

Oil be there

Shell, BP and Total are among the oil majors promising to be part of the solution to climate change. They plan to unveil their strategy at a summit in October.

You can expect them to call (again) for a carbon price, but will they put any of their own money into measures like carbon capture and storage?

Another month, another heat record

June was the hottest on record worldwide, the latest NOAA data shows, making 2015 a near certainty for warmest year.

In a spot of lukewarm news, Arctic sea ice recovered volume in 2013. The ice cap could be more resilient than previously thought, UK scientists said.

This was seized on by UK right-wing newspaper the Daily Mail to attack climate change policies – to the dismay of Rachel Tilling, the scientist behind the Arctic study.

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24 July: Obama visits Kenya, Ethiopia
27-31 July: Sustainable Development Goals talks, (New York)
31 August – 4 September: Interim climate talks (Bonn)

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