Weekly wrap: UN prepares for 150-nation Paris deal inkfest

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Autumn at UN Headquarters, New York (Flickr/ UN photo)


World leaders are due in New York a week today to pen to paper on a new-born global warming pact. 

Over 150 countries are now due to rock up, according to France environment minister Segolene Royal – the biggest treaty-signing bash for over 30 years.

It’s not clear who will be the no-shows. Yet the wave of interest is fuelling hopes of rapid ratification. Outgoing UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, sees the deal going live in 2018. The spectre of President Trump or Cruz could spur countries to get it done sooner.

The magic number is 55. That’s the share of global emissions and countries formally approving it needed.

At least one of the world’s top four emitters (China, US, EU, Russia) has to be in that group, according to a handy calculator by the World Resources Institute.

In news from elsewhere, North Korea has RSVP’d. Panama is poised to present its late climate pledge.

Spring cleaning 

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund held their half-yearly meetings this week in Washington DC.

World Bank head Jim Kim stressed climate change was up with pandemics and migration as a top threat to the global economy. Hundreds of new coal plants push us closer to climate calamity, he warned.

The IMF said surging investments in renewables could come unstuck on lower for longer oil prices in its economic outlook.

While, development banks are eyeing pension funds to scale up low-carbon finance, head of the Climate Investment Funds told Ed King.


US coal giant Peabody collapsed under ballooning debts this week after a crash in the coal price.

It was a warning to other fossil fuel companies projecting years of future high demand, wrote Megan Darby.

Clinton vs Sanders

Things are getting heated between the Democrat presidential hopefuls as the nomination approaches. But where they do the stand on climate? Timmons Roberts broke down their differences in two pieces. The choice may be hard to swallow for some greens.

IPCC: I do

The world authority on global warming accepted a call to report on the tough 1.5C warming goal countries ‘aspired to’ in Paris. Snubbing the request would have been unprecedented.

It will now produce a special report by 2018, but with temperatures fast approaching that temperature threshold, observers wonder if the exercise is futile.

Mopping up the Montreal Protocol

You’re more likely to think HFCs stands for high fructose corn syrup, than hydrofluorocarbons, but these super-warming gases matter.

In a textbook case of unintended consequences, countries replaced CFCs, which destroyed the ozone layer with HFCs.

Though these gases are incredibly potent, it turned out, trapping up to 10,000 times as much heat as CO2. Fortunately, countries are homing in on a phase-down this year, Alex Pashley reports, with Gulf states winning exemptions on AC units.

Around the world

Drought stumps Indian cricket league
Renminbi power: Will China’s wallet shape the planet? 
US set for intergenerational ‘trial of the century’
Islands of Gauguin, Robinson Crusoe could become parched paradise 
Greenland sees record-smashing early ice sheet melt
Apple has ‘strongest climate policy’ of business world

Read more on: UN climate talks