Weekly wrap: 10 days to Paris COP21 kick-off

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

The COP21 venue under construction at Le Bourget (Pic: COP21)

The COP21 venue under construction at Le Bourget (Pic: COP21)

By Megan Darby

With 10 days until UN climate talks kick off in Paris, the authorities are scrambling to respond to deadly attacks that shocked the world.

More than 120 heads of state will open the summit, undeterred by the terrorist threat, say organisers.

It is a different story for two demonstrations that were expected to attract 200,000 people. Officials banned the marches, saying they could not guarantee public safety outside the main venues.

Quote of the week
“Oxfam does not clap for the sake of clapping – we are not going to say this is a good conference for the sake of keeping and saving face” – Oxfam chief Winnie Byanyima on what the world’s poor need from a Paris climate deal

Around the world, ministers are warming up their rhetoric for the tough negotiations ahead.

Nowhere is the domestic debate more divided than the US, where Republicans are doing their utmost to make a deal impossible.

On Tuesday, senators voted to block the clean power plan, Barack Obama’s flagship climate policy. The president will veto the decision.

More problematically, Republicans say they won’t approve any climate finance unless Congress gets to decide whether to ratify a Paris agreement.

Ed King profiled Todd Stern, the US climate envoy tasked with navigating these hostile waters.

Number of the week
US$67.5 billion – Sum the US should contribute to climate adaptation in 2025, according to Action Aid

More positive mood music came from the UK, with climate chief Amber Rudd pledging to phase out coal power by 2025.

“It is quite a statement that the country where the industrial revolution started realises it [coal] is now ending,” said the UN’s Christiana Figueres.

OECD members, meanwhile, agreed to stop subsidising inefficient coal plants in developing countries through export credits.

Is coal in terminal decline? Gerard Wynn says signs are not good for the most polluting fossil fuel.

Around the world
Pakistan: Mangroves uprooted to build coal power plants
Canada: North Vancouver first city to put climate labels on fuel pumps
Trinidad & Tobago: Climate change speeds retreat of idyllic beaches
Brazil: Straddling rich and poor, could build bridges at COP21
Somalia: Targets war-fuelling charcoal trade in climate plan

Last but not least, Ed King explains how to read the draft UN climate deal. Fairness and finance are the key themes running through the text.

Read more on: Breaking News