Climate Weekly: From Pope to Petersberg

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So much news (Pic: Wikimedia Commons/Pete)


What a week.

It started with the Pope lecturing oil executives on the inescapable logic of unburnable carbon while Donald Trump faced off against fellow rich country leaders at a G7 summit. Then…

The EU upped its ambition on renewable energy, with a boost from new governments in Italy and Spain. Energy efficiency targets and the enforcement plan for next decade are still under negotiation.

We examined the Indian power ministry’s bullish projections the country could blaze past its renewables target of 175GW by 2022, hitting up to 227GW. Some have reported this as a new increased target, but it looks like more of a scenario, contingent on demand growth.

The World Bank hinted it will pull the plug on Kosovo C, the last coal plant on its books. It also reported a 28% jump in climate finance invested by the big six development banks last year – although 81% of that came as loans, which many argue should not count.

South Africa launched a consultation on a draft climate law. It doesn’t set any legally binding emissions targets, but creates a pretty thorough framework for embedding climate action throughout government, on a five-year cycle to sync with the Paris Agreement.

As the World Cup kicked off, critics accused Fifa – and UN Climate Change – of greenwashing with an opaque carbon offsetting scheme that even in theory only covers a fraction of the tournament’s climate impact.


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Looking ahead

The German government is expected to get the ball rolling on replenishment of the Green Climate Fund at next week’s Petersberg Climate Dialogue.

We will also get a foretaste of Poland’s agenda for the December UN climate talks in Katowice, with prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Cop24 president-designate Michał Kurtyka due to speak.

The “just transition” is gaining currency as a theme, in an overdue recognition that climate action can’t win if it screws over whole communities of industrial workers.

Trump’s solution is simple and intuitive: “Put coal miners back to work.” Unfortunately it fails both miners and the climate.

In contrast, the just transition is a worthy concept, packaged in impenetrable jargon. Anyone got a better phrase? I’m open to ideas. Email [email protected] or tweet @climatemegan.

After Petersberg, ministers from China, EU and Canada meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday. This is critical to show whether a new alliance can replace US-China cooperation on climate change.

Climate conversations

I’m Tory, he’s Labour: The UK climate act shows what happens if we work together – Lord Puttnam and Sir Oliver Letwin

The EU needs to update its climate ambition – here’s how – Manon Dufour, Quentin Genard for E3G

Read more on: UN climate talks