G20 to cap huge week of climate diplomacy

CRIB NOTES 9-13 NOVEMBER: Paris pre-COP, WMO emissions report, IEA energy data + EU to reveal climate finance plan

(Pic: Emax_photo/Flickr)

(Pic: Emax_photo/Flickr)

By Ed King

We’ve got a huge week in climate politics and science to look forward to, starting in Paris at the ‘pre-COP’ meeting involving 80 ministers, culminating at the G20 in Turkey.

The Paris gathering, hosted by the French government, marks a final chance for ministers to assess potential landing zones for a global deal before negotiations commence on November 30 at the main COP21 summit.

As revealed by Climate Home last week, the French have identified four areas of discussion including finance, pre 2020 action and the tricky issue of how to differentiate between the responsibilities of rich and poor countries.

Tweets from participants were starting to emerge late on Sunday, including one from Venezuela’s firebrand diplomat Claudia Salerno (see both below). The talks wrap up late Monday – when we’ll have a full report.

Putin in Paris

Vladmir will attend the opening day of the COP21 meeting, according to French foreign minister Laurent Fabius. Putin isn’t known for believing much in climate science, but France24 reports he’ll be there to explain Russia’s sometimes perplexing carbon cutting plans.


Fossil fuel subsidies, climate finance, export credits for coal – expect these and more to make it on the agenda for next weekend’s big ticket event. Our special section will have the key issues covered this week. It runs from 15-16 November.

New documents

On Friday the UN’s climate body released an agenda for COP21, a new edited draft text, a technical paper suggesting where the text would benefit from streamlining and a proposed schedule for work in Paris… which would see talks conclude at 6pm on Friday 11 December. Given the last four major UN summits have all failed to conclude on time, one might say this is optimistic.

Paris notes

Greenhouse gas levels

Keep your eyes peeled for the World Meteorological Organisation’s annual assessment of greenhouse gas levels, out on Monday at 10am GMT. It’s likely the WMO will report another year of significant rises in the main gases linked to global warming. The Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, which has been monitoring carbon dioxide levels since the 1950s, says they are now averaging over the 400 parts per million benchmark – a significant development.

On Wednesday we’ll hear what the International Energy Agency’s ‘World Energy Outlook’ offers in terms of longer term predictions.

According to the Sunday Times it will say “there is little chance in reversing growth in greenhouse gas emissions, now equivalent to about 50 billion tonnes of CO2. It will predict that, on current trends, world energy demand will increase by about 40% by 2040 including a 15% rise in coal consumption and a 50% increase in burning gas”.

To the pumps

Not that these figures appear to be a concern in Riyadh. According to the FT, it is ”determined to stick to its policy of pumping enough oil to protect its global market share, despite the financial pain inflicted on the kingdom’s economy. Officials have told the Financial Times that the world’s largest exporter will produce enough oil to meet customer demand, indicating that the kingdom is in no mood to change tack ahead of the December 4 meeting in Vienna of the producers’ cartel Opec.”

EU finance push?

Ministers in Brussels on Tuesday are set to talk a bit about coughing up more climate cash but steer clear of dipping into their wallets, despite the success of COP21 hinging on finance flows to poor countries.

A draft document for the finance ministerial says the EU is on course to provide 13.6 billion Euros in 2015. It also offers some loose language ‘welcoming’ new commitments and ‘recognising’ that $ will be important in Paris.

Highlights of the communique from E3G’s EU analyst Louisa Casson:

-Commitment to scale up the mobilisation of climate finance, but with no qualification or quantification

-States Climate Finance will be important part of 2015 agreement and that Public finance will continue to play a role

-Emphasises that 2015 Agreement should send strong signals to private sector to reorient finance flows to low-carbon

-Supports strengthen transparency and acceleration towards a robust common internationally agreed framework for MRV of climate finance flows

-Underlines the importance of a balance between adaptation and mitigation finance and highlights that the EU and MS will continue to make efforts to chancel a substantial share of public climate finance towards adaptation

Our view? On its own this is unlikely to be enough come Paris.

Modi visit to the UK

India’s Mr Big lands in London this week – along with meeting PM Cameron he’s also performing at Wembley, although British newspapers are more interested in whether he will be allowed on the pitch. Sources in Delhi tell Climate Home climate change will be on the agenda, although the Number 10 press office says it cannot confirm this.

Keystone quashed

In case you missed it – huge news from DC late Friday – US President Obama announcing the vast Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast would not be built. Here’s our story, and a link to a statement from Canada PM Justin Trudeau, trying to sound disappointed and talking of new clean energy engagement with the US.

Philippine protests

Two years on from Typhoon Haiyan and 20,000 of those who survived the devastating storm are furious at the lack of support provided since the event by President Noynoy Aquino. They say reconstruction has focused on a few clusters favoured by major companies, ignoring smaller villages and communities.

Here’s the view of Marissa Cabaljao, Secretary General of the People Surge Alliance of Disaster Survivors:

They unceremoniously buried our dead in mass graves, but disaster upon disaster in these two years have kept our our memories of Yolanda’s devastation fresh. The Aquino administration criminally neglected our people time and again, a continuing injustice that will never be put to the  grave.

The much-storied ‘building back better’ of the Aquino Government was marked with the malversation of emergency shelter assistance and other disaster funds. We victims have been through a slow and inefficient rehabilitation program, suffering an undemocratic disregard of our grievances and demands, and the aggressive profiteering and plunder of big business interests in the reconstruction.


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