Weekly wrap: Obama, Xi emphasise support for Paris climate deal

Carbon superpowers to sign and approve agreement this year, raising hopes it may come into force by the end of 2016

President Barack Obama offers a toast to President Xi Jinping of China during a State Banquet at the Great Hall of People in Beijing (Pic: Pete Souza/Flickr)

President Barack Obama offers a toast to President Xi Jinping of China during a State Banquet at the Great Hall of People in Beijing (Pic: Pete Souza/Flickr)

By Ed King

After a brief lull in early 2016, climate diplomacy networks are whirring ahead of the Paris Agreement signing ceremony in New York on 22 April. 

On Thursday the US and China committed to signing and joining the global deal this year. No surprise you might say, given they helped craft it, but it is significant.

That’s because between them the world’s top carbon polluters account for around 40% of emissions. For the Paris deal to enter into force 55 countries covering 55% of emissions must join.

Former Marshall Islands climate advisor Michael Dobson explains why it’s big news if the UN Agreement becomes operational in 2016.

Still, it’s not a done deal.

As Climate Home revealed this week, a briefing note circulating among Arab Group members urges countries to hold off from signing and use their ink as political leverage.


Brussels and Delhi also outlined a new climate and clean energy pact this week, committing to working together on solar energy, offshore wind, smart grids and nuclear.

It did not – perhaps curiously – offer any indication that Narendra Modi’s government will join an estimated 100 other countries and sign the Paris deal in New York this month.

The Indian delegation refused to attend a press conference, reported Politico, so journalists missed a chance to quiz Modi’s team.

Bloomberg risk study

Part one of Michael Bloomberg’s two-stage inquiry into climate-related financial disclosures has been released. It’s early stages and the 64-page tome outlines the main objectives of the taskforce, which was commissioned by the G20 and Financial Stability Board.

Companies should report their exposure to a warmer planet to avoid legal issues faced by Peabody and Exxon, reports Megan Darby.

Saudis eye end of oil

Saudi Arabia, a kingdom predicated on oil production, is anticipating its end days by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund from selling shares in its prized state oil company – more on this breaking story here.

REVEALED: The millions that greased COP21

Wealthy countries gave developing countries tens of millions of dollars in aid to bolster their stake in a new global warming accord, it has emerged. Alex Pashley had this exclusive story.

REVEALED #2: France blocks Tubiana

No April fools, but a story of inter-departmental rivalry in Paris. This week Climate Home learned France’s top climate diplomat Laurence Tubiana’s bid to be the next UNFCCC head was quashed by her own government. All fingers point to environment minister Segolene Royal. Full story here.

One year to act

Do the maths: To avoid dangerous global warming, 2017 is the last year energy companies can build new coal, oil or gas-fired power plants. That’s the unpalatable finding in a new study by Oxford researchers, dispelling any notion governments may have over the window of time they have left to act. And as US measurements of atmospheric CO2 show, levels are rising fast.

Around the world:
CO2 emissions data uncertain, say CICERO researchers
G20: Bloc should lead on deep decarbonisation urge academics
Sea ice falls to record winter low
Climate change could outpace mitigation efforts
Delhi ramps up fossil fuel spend, cuts welfare budget

Read more on: Breaking News