Weekly wrap: UN text slimmed, oil men, back to Lima

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The IMF and World Bank will talk climate finance at annual summit in Lima (Pic: Pixabay/ygrrr)

The IMF and World Bank will talk climate finance at annual summit in Lima (Pic: Pixabay/ygrrr)

By Megan Darby

From the latest climate negotiating text on Monday to a finance summit kicking off in Lima on Friday, it’s been a busy week.

In between, we got a new UN climate science chief, mixed messages from oil executives and an apology from the BBC.

Climate Home investigated some of the countries holding out on national climate plans, plus a heated debate over shipping emissions.

Brave co-chairs

The latest draft of a Paris climate agreement came in at an almost readable 20 pages, a quarter of its former length.

Climate watchers praised co-chairs Dan Reifsnyder and Ahmed Djoghlaf as “brave” for producing a “realistic, efficient” text – that might even need fleshing out a bit before December’s summit.

Some people’s pet topics got lost in the edit. Mentions of aviation, shipping and carbon markets didn’t make the cut.

Big battles remain over the shape of a long term target, differentiation between the responsibilities of rich and poor countries, and provision for loss and damage.


US$61.8 billion – Climate finance the OECD estimates flowed in 2014

Hail to the chief

South Korean energy economist Hoesung Lee won an election in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to become the next chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In his first press conference, Lee said he wanted to tap private sector expertise in producing the IPCC’s periodic weighty assessments of climate science.

Government representatives also voted to fill 33 other senior positions, with two out of three vice chair posts going to women.

Five climate scientists told us what they wanted to see from the incoming leader.

Oil & Money

That was the no-nonsense name of a major industry conference in London this week.

With all the oil companies’ manoeuvring on climate change lately, Climate Home’s Alex Pashley and Ed King went along to see how deeply the low carbon agenda had penetrated.

Shell chief Ben van Beurden was bang on-message, reiterating his call for a carbon price. Total’s Patrick Pouyanne revealed oil majors are meeting next Friday to finalise their contribution to a Paris climate deal.

(Pic: Ed King/Climate Home)

(Pic: Ed King/Climate Home)

ExxonMobil’s Rex Tillerson – crowned Petroleum Executive of the Year – insisted he took the risk of climate change seriously, but dismissed the idea of phasing out fossil fuels this century.

The audience had thinned out by the time Lord Browne, former head of BP, took the stage to specifically address the climate debate.

Nigel Topping, CEO of pro-climate multinationals network We Mean Business, summed up the general attitude:

“There’s very little serious conversation about the huge structural changes of the G7 delivering on the commitment to decarbonise the whole economy. A lot of that is because people don’t see their careers lasting long enough to see it.”

INDC watch

The UN deadline for countries to submit their “intended nationally determined contributions” to a Paris climate deal came and went last week.

A couple more limped in late – Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina – bringing the total number of countries covered to 148.

Climate Home turned the spotlight on Pakistan, Bolivia and the oil-exporting states that haven’t delivered.


If we collectively chicken out of this, we’ll all turn into chickens and we’ll all be fried, grilled, toasted and roasted” – IMF head Christine Lagarde talks carbon pricing ahead of Lima summit

Sea skirmish

The Marshall Islands’ Tony de Brum reacted angrily to last week’s call by the UN shipping chief to avoid an emissions target for the sector.

He accused Koji Sekimuzi of endangering the planet and future of world trade with his stance:

“Of great alarm is the secretary general’s misuse, or at least misunderstanding, of the evidence base on shipping and its GHG pollution.”

Indonesia haze

Another dry season, another hazardous smog rising from forest fires across Indonesia, as people illegally clear land for plantations.

This year, El Nino is fanning the flames and the health, climate and diplomatic impacts are reaching crisis levels.

Check out this drone footage from Greenpeace:

BBC backtracks

The UK’s world-famous national broadcaster said sorry for giving over a half-hour radio programme to climate sceptic voices.

“Radio 4 does not consider that the programme met our required standards of accuracy or impartiality in its coverage of climate change science. We apologise for that failure.”

Richard Black, former BBC environment correspondent and director of the ECIU, gave his perspective on what went wrong.

Coming up in October

9-11: IMF/World Bank annual meeting (Lima)
12-13: EU-Morocco INDCs forum (Rabat)
12-23: UN desertification summit (Ankara)
19: Canada general election
24: Poland general election
26-30: IEA Bioenergy conference (Berlin)

Read more on: RTCC General News