Weekly wrap: Late pledges, G20 fossils and viralising 1.5C

This week’s top climate politics and policy stories. Sign up here to have our Friday briefing sent to your inbox

(Pic: Hamza82/Flickr)

(Pic: Hamza82/Flickr)

By Megan Darby

Five more laggards submitted climate plans towards a UN deal this week, bringing the total countries covered to 161.

Pakistan probably takes the prize for shortest, at 350 words. It “is committed to reduce its emissions after reaching peak levels,” the document says, avoiding any measurable targets.

Saudi Arabia says plans to diversify its economy could cut 130Mt CO2e by 2030, but only if action by the rest of the world doesn’t hit its oil wealth. Oh, and it’s on a PR offensive, too.

Egypt is targeting a fossil fuel subsidy phase out in 3-5 years and Sudan is going for 1GW of solar.

As for Iraq, we’ll let you know as soon as we find someone to translate it from Arabic.

Number of the week

400ppm – Record-breaking level of CO2 in the air soon to be a “permanent reality”, says World Meteorological Organization

On Sunday, attention turns to Antalya, Turkey, where G20 leaders are meeting. E3G’s Louisa Casson lists 8 reasons the summit is climate critical.

We looked at what it – and the OECD – could do to crack down on perverse incentives for dirty coal power.

Every year since 2009, G20 countries have promised to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies. Yet Oil Change International and the Overseas Development Institute find they are still handing out US$452 billion a year to coal, oil and gas producers.

Quote of the week

“The difference between 2C and 2.7C is not something you just take your jacket off and adapt to”IEA chief Fatih Birol on the climate ambition gap

With two weeks to go until talks kick off in Paris for a global climate deal, mainstream media interest is intensifying.

There has been a lot of noise about whether the deal will be legally binding. France PM Francois Hollande says yes, US secretary of state John Kerry says no.

It comes as no surprise to climate watchers, who know lawyers are adept at fudging such apparently intractable conflicts.

Meanwhile, Ed King covered John Kerry’s remarks on India, its diplomatic focus now China is on (more or less) the same page.

Comparing the two, Kerry said: “India has been more cautious, a little more restrained in its embrace of this new paradigm, and it’s a challenge.”

Viralising 1.5C

In Manila, countries most vulnerable to climate change reiterated calls for a tighter 1.5C limit on global warming.

All governments, not just the rich, must cut emissions as fast as they can, the joint statement said.

And there is a hand signal you can post on twitter or facebook if you support stricter curbs.

It matters in places like Turkana, a poor region of Kenya facing heightened drought risk as temperatures rise.

We looked in depth at what a Paris pact could do for pastoralists on the climate front line.

Bluffing COP21

Still confused about what a UN climate deal is all about? Ed King has the definitive bluffer’s guide.

Read more on: Breaking News |