Weekly wrap: UN climate talks edge forward as India broils

Paris Agreement on climate change moves forward after agenda deal, India boils, renewables surge and Trump issues more threats

Varanasi, India (Pic: Juan Antonio F. Segal/Flickr)


One week into a fortnight of UN climate talks in Bonn and we have a result. An agenda for moving negotiations forward has been decided.

It may sound dull, but there was a heated fight over what many believe was a fundamental outcome from the Paris Agreement: this is not just a process focused on carbon cuts.

Countries will now be discussing a broad package of measures relating to adaptation, climate finance, capacity building in poor countries and, yes, slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

So, curious as this may sound, this is a big deal in what has been an interesting week’s talks to observe from afar. Below is our pick of the highlights.

-With women now running UN talks, will progress accelerate?
-Patricia Espinosa calls for swift action as UN chief role confirmed
-Trump threat to nix negotiations falls on deaf ears in Bonn
-Activists row over role of bioenergy in meeting 1.5C target
-Figueres urges focus as NASA says 2016 on course to be hottest yet
-French parliament approves Paris Agreement

PLUS: Read Espinosa’s first interview with Alister Doyle from Reuters

…meanwhile, thousands of miles away in India, temperatures hit 51C.

Renewables rush

That’s the bad news. A more optimistic take comes from Megan Darby, who rattled through seven reasons why talk of a clean energy revolution is not to be sniffed at.

From four days of green power in Portugal to a huge LED roll-out in India and unlikely signs of an epiphany from oil majors, systems are changing across the globe.

Next week’s huge

Clear your diaries. We’ll have coverage of week 2 of the UN climate talks in Bonn, the World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey, UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi and G7 in Toyama, Japan.

Nigerian strike

Slash fossil fuel subsidies and all will be well, say the consultants. Perhaps they should head to Nigeria, where a government move to cut support for petrol led to a 67% hike in prices and widespread anger. President Buhari said the policy was inevitable due to the amount of fuel oil-rich Nigeria was having to import, but it’s a useful case-study.

In brief…

-Bank of England chief joins insurers climate initiative
-Norway emissions rise despite promised cuts
-Canadian province of Ontario passes climate change law
-Saskatchewan denies climate science as wildfires lick its border

Closing analysis

Amid Trump-fever, it’s easy to forget Barack Obama has seven months left as president. Pete Ogden – one of his former advisors in the White House – offers his thoughts on what Obama could do through 2016 to cement his low carbon legacy. Here’s a snippet – read the rest on Forbes.

“The Obama administration is doing its part to counter the anxiety. Last December, it struck a deal with Congress for the extension of key renewable energy tax credits. In January, the Department of Interior announced that it would launch a process to reform its coal-lease policy on public lands and put a moratorium on new coal leasing in the meantime.

“In March, the administration took a step toward fulfilling its climate finance commitments in Paris by transferring its first $500 million of support to the global Green Climate Fund. And, just this month, the Environmental Protection Agency announced limits on methane emissions from new oil and gas sources.

“With another seven months in office, we should expect more actions to come.”

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