Weekly wrap: Paris preview, blocking coal and 2C controversy

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

(Flickr/Elliot Gilfix)

(Flickr/Elliot Gilfix)

By Megan Darby

In the last week before COP21 kicks off in Paris, we at Climate Home have gone into analysis overdrive.

Here’s what different countries and negotiating blocs want out of a UN climate deal, and a who’s who of envoys tasked with thrashing it out.

Alex Pashley looked into the sleepless and seductive life of a climate diplomat, while Ed King had this sweeping preview of the talks.

If you prefer to listen than to read, check out our podcast with veteran climate watchers Malini Mehra and Stephen Cornelius previewing the summit.

Number of the week

1C – Increase in global average temperature since pre-industrial times, World Meteorological Organization confirms

Ex-NASA climate scientist James Hansen and Nobel prize-winning economist Kenneth Arrow were among 56 experts backing a moratorium on new coal mines on Friday.

In an open letter, they supported calls by Kiribati president Anote Tong to halt expansion of the polluting industry.

On the finance side, German insurance giant Allianz committed to withdraw investment from coal companies.

Quote of the week

“I sat outside in the sun and I wept”Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner on the prospect of losing her home to sea level rise

Wrangling over the legal form of a Paris deal continued, with EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete insisting the US must show how emissions targets would be binding.

US secretary of state John Kerry has said there will be no binding treaty, a move that would need approval from a hostile Republican-dominated Congress.

Moving goalposts

Scientist Oliver Geden took the UN Environment Programme to task for continuing to insist the 2C warming limit was within reach.

It held to this narrative by changing its assumptions as greenhouse gas emissions rose, he said. Controversial CO2-sucking technology will be needed to make it work.

Around the world

UK: £1bn carbon capture fund axed
South Sudan: World’s newest country submits climate plan
Cuba: Slams US trade embargo in UN pledge
Kenya: Pope Francis urges leaders to seal Paris deal
Canada: Inside premiers’ climate science class

Climate Home’s parent company RTCC is running four side events at COP21. See the line-up here.

And finally, what do Londoners know about the Paris summit? Alex Pashley took to the streets with a video camera to find out.

Read more on: 2C | Breaking News | COP21 | UN climate talks