Weekly wrap: Tubiana outlines Paris goals, oil CEOs front up, 2C at risk

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(Pic: IISD Reporting Services)

France’s chief climate envoy Laurence Tubiana (Pic: IISD Reporting Services)

By Ed King

The idea that aid to developing countries can fix climate change is “disempowering”, argued former Costa Rica negotiator Monica Araya at a Climate Home event in London on Thursday.

The debate over how to slow rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions was not just about rich versus poor countries, she stressed.

“The fact that we have poor people does not mean we are poor countries. We are rich in talent and resources.”

Sitting alongside Araya, former Indian environment chief Jairam Ramesh outlined his two “minimums” for a successful agreement.

“Paris has to deliver a credible system of monitoring, reporting and verification, in which countries hold themselves accountable for commitments that they have domestically made.”

Ramesh’s other red line was that the major emitters like the US, China and EU agreed to regular carbon cuts – with a next generation of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) as early as 2020.

You can read Megan Darby’s review of the event – held with the E3G think tank at PwC’s London HQ – or watch it again on our YouTube channel.


“An extraordinary domestic discussion has really opened up at very high levels. My final goal is to set Paris as a turning point of this low carbon economy being the new normal”France’s top climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana.

Morocco INDC summit

We received mixed reviews from the EU’s two-day meet in Rabat on Monday and Tuesday this week, a first attempt to try and decipher the 150+ climate plans sent to the UN.

While there was some attempt at discussing what the plans mean for long term low carbon growth, it doesn’t seem there was any serious effort to dissect or analyse the offers put forward.

PwC’s Jonathan Grant told delegates the rate of cuts needed to double in order to hold temperature rises to below 2C.

EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete – grasping for the positives – said the INDCs were just a start. Paris would build a deal to last a century, he said.

Saudis will deliver

Speaking of INDCs, those not yet on board will get a call soon from the office of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, said his climate envoy.

Laurence Tubiana told Climate Home’s briefing that she had been assured that Saudi Arabia would soon deliver its plan. Whether it will focus on economic diversification away from oil is the hot question.


A shift in public mood at the ballot box can boot out climate laggards or propel them to power. Alex Pashley picks out six on the radar from Canada to Myanmar

Oil CEOs front up

All smiles in Paris on Friday morning, as the CEOs of eight oil and gas producers – including Shell, BP, Saudi Aramco and Total – announced a new raft of climate plans.

oil execs

They are committed to limiting warming to below 2C they said, and would slash flaring and methane emissions from their installations.

Analysts and NGOs were unconvinced. Greenpeace accused them of being arsonists offering to put out a fire.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative’s CEO Anthony Hobley was a little more circumspect.

“What we wanted to see in here was concrete, quantitative and measurable targets or commitments to take action for the 2C transition. I can’t really see any of that,” he said.

Earlier this week Shell and BP signed up to a statement from US-based companies saying they backed a UN climate pact, although it was thin on details.

Interesting comments too from Spencer Dale, BP’s chief economist, who for the first time appeared to admit that not all oil reserves could be used if the world is to avoid dangerous warming.


$4 Trillion: the value of the 10 banks worth who launched a sustainable investment manifesto this week, including Standard, Societe Generale and ING.

Are scientists downplaying 2C?

Energy and climate modellers are not being honest enough about how hard it will be to limit warming to below the 2C danger zone, said Manchester University climate scientist Kevin Anderson this week.

In a paper published in Nature Geoscience he argued the rapid level of greenhouse gas cuts required to ensure the world does not blow what IPCC terms a “carbon budget” would mean a radical shift in consumption and energy use in rich countries.

“Delivering on such a 2C emission pathway cannot be reconciled with the repeated and high-level claims that in transitioning to a low-carbon energy system global economic growth would not be strongly affected,” he says.

Green Fund staffing crisis

More woes for the GCF. The UN’s flagship Green Climate Fund says it is “severely understaffed” because its salaries aren’t attractive and few want to move to its South Korean HQ in Songdo.

Its directors say it needs more resources and 72 new full-time staff by 2018 to operate effectively.

Coming up…

Next week Ed King will be reporting from Bonn where the latest set of UN climate talks starts on Monday… the final 5 days of official negotiations before Paris.

China’s president Xi Jinping arrives in London for a state visit. We know David Cameron won’t mention the Dalai Lama, but will they discuss climate change?

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) meets in DC, while the UN’s desertification convention continues in Turkey.

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