Weekly wrap: G77 gets its mojo back in Bonn

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South African negotiator Joyce Mxakato-Diseko speaks for the G77 (Pic: IISD)

By Megan Darby

Developing countries were on the warpath in Bonn this week, angry at a “lopsided” negotiating text produced by UN officials.

The 134-strong G77+ China bloc overcame internal divisions to demand assurances of financial support in a global climate agreement.

Civil society observers, meanwhile, were outraged at their exclusion from spin-off groups where diplomats dug into the contentious issues.

In the last five days of official talks before December’s critical Paris summit, they were finally coming to the crunch.

As old tensions flared up, many dropped the ‘C’ word: Copenhagen, where the last attempt to reach a global warming pact foundered in 2009.

Quote of the week

“It’s a matter of life or death… and we are dead serious,” Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, South African ambassador and chair of the G77 told media

Most climate watchers are confident there will be an agreement in Paris, but what kind?

Academics who correctly predicted the outcome of Copenhagen have used a game theory model to try and answer that question.

Their results may disquiet those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: loss and damage is confined to the preamble.

On climate finance, they expect a stronger outcome, with guarantees to get around US$350 billion flowing annually by 2030.

INDC watch

A handful more “intended nationally determined contributions” trickled in this week, including the first two from Gulf states. They bring the total number of countries covered to 154.

Before you get too excited, the United Arab Emirates made no promises to limit greenhouse gas emissions, aiming only to get 24% of energy from clean sources by 2021. Oman offered just a 2% cut from business as usual in 2030. Sri Lanka, Antigua and Barbuda also entered climate plans.

And the tireless folks at Climate Action Tracker released their verdict on pledges from Turkey and Indonesia: inadequate. Ankara’s dash for coal cancels out clean energy gains, they found, while Jakarta is hazy on deforestation.

Demand crunch

In the latest hard-hitting report from the Carbon Tracker Initiative, analysts take aim at fossil fuel industry demand forecasts.

You know, the projections from BP, Shell and ExxonMobil that hunger for dirty energy will trump efforts to limit global warming to 2C.

Well, those bullish assessments are based on a whole range of dodgy assumptions, the think tank argues – and investors should think twice before putting money on them.

Oh, Canada

Another climate laggard bit the dust on Monday, as Canada’s Stephen Harper followed Australia’s Tony Abbott into political oblivion. He was beaten in a landslide election swing to Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

A Trudeau ally told Climate Home he would rehabilitate the country’s standing in the international climate debate, damaged by its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol.

Justin Trudeau, the son of a former prime minister, ended Stephen Harper’s nine-year rule (Flickr/ Joseph Morris)

Justin Trudeau, the son of a former prime minister, ended Stephen Harper’s nine-year rule (Flickr/ Joseph Morris)

Other observers were more cautious, noting that Trudeau had avoided committing to a major change of tack on the campaign trail.

For more electoral excitement, look next to Warsaw. Poles go to the polls on Sunday, where the choice is between pro-coal or really pro-coal.

Oslo divests

Norway’s oil-rich capital became the first to ditch shares in all fossil fuel stocks from its US$9 billion pension fund portfolio. A recently elected city council also pledged to cut emissions 95% from 1990 levels within 15 years.

“We are very happy to announce that Oslo will take responsibility for the climate, both through our own policies and our investments,” said Lan Marie Nguyen Berg of the Green Party in Oslo.

Data dive

With lots of numbers flying around the climate debate, where can you turn for reliable – and accessible – information?

Climate Home rounded up seven of the best interactive tools. Add your suggestions in the comments.

Coming up in October

25: Poland general election
26-30: IEA Bioenergy conference (Berlin)
30: UN to publish INDC aggregate assessment (Berlin)

Read more on: RTCC General News | UN climate talks