UN Conference on climate change COP21 Paris – COP26

Written by  //  October 28, 2021  //  Climate Change, United Nations  //  Comments Off on UN Conference on climate change COP21 Paris – COP26

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Head of COP 26 Alok Sharma Previews His Agenda For the Major Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland
By: Mark Leon Goldberg
(UN Dispatch) This November, the United Kingdom will host COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland. This will be the most significant moment in international climate diplomacy since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. Just four months ahead of this monumental climate summit, the president of COP26 Alok Sharma sat down with several media organizations affiliated with Covering Climate Now. UN Dispatch is a member of this collaborative and we are able to republish two key stories, printed below. 21 July 2021

Full Report AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis
[T]he Sixth Assessment Report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations.

‘Everything is at stake’ as world gathers for climate talks
(AP) More than one world leader says humanity’s future, even survival, hangs in the balance when international officials meet in Scotland to try to accelerate efforts to curb climate change. Temperatures, tempers and hyperbole have all ratcheted up ahead of the United Nations summit.
And the risk of failure looms large for all participants at the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP26.

26 October
4 key issues to watch as world leaders prepare for the Glasgow climate summit
Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University
A cross section of the world will be in Glasgow for the conference, and they will be talking about pathways for reducing global carbon emissions to net zero and building greater resilience.
From emissions-free shipping to aviation, from ending coal financing to green steel and cement, from platforms to reduce methane, to nature-based solutions, the two-week conference and days leading up to it will see a steady stream of commitments and new groups of countries, nongovernmental organizations and businesses working together.
Keeping track and verifying achievements toward these pledges will be critical coming away from COP26. Without that, climate activist Greta Thunberg’s “blah blah blah” speech thrown at delegates to a pre-COP meeting in Milan a few weeks ago will continue to echo around the world.
‘Climate catastrophe’: World faces 2.7C temperature rise
UN chief says latest report a ‘thundering wake-up call’ as leaders prepare for crucial Glasgow climate talks.
The UN World Meteorological Organization said ahead of the two-week event, which begins on Sunday, that greenhouse gas concentrations hit a record last year and the world is “way off track” in capping rising temperatures.
If all pledges by 192 countries under the Paris Agreement are taken together, an increase of about 16 percent in global emissions is expected by 2030 compared with 2010, which would lead to warming of 2.7C by the end of the century – a figure where life on Earth would be devastating for millions of people.

24 October
CBC Radio’s The House: Is COP26 our ‘last, best hope‘?
(CBC) Catherine Abreu, a member of the Canadian delegation to the conference and head of the group Destination Zero, and Jennifer Allan, who has attended roughly 40 UN conferences and is an adviser to the de facto record of global environmental negotiations — the Earth Negotiations Bulletin — join guest host Laura Lynch to preview what an effective COP26 would look like.
Plus: Chatham House’s Anna Åberg and the World Resource Institute’s Taryn Fransen provide a handy jargon-buster. Why is it called a COP? What is an NDC? The two answer those and other questions about the technical language that tends to dominate climate change conferences.
This week saw the release of the Production Gap report, published by the UN and other research groups. It analyzes the gaps between countries’ plans for fossil fuel production and the amount of production that can actually happen while limiting the rise in global temperatures.
Peter Erickson of the Stockholm Environment Institute, one of the groups that co-authored the Production Gap report, tells The House why Canada’s production of oil and gas is at odds with its climate goals. Simon Donner, professor at the University of British Columbia and a member of Canada’s Net-Zero Advisory Body, explains what Canada has to do to meet those goals.
New climate alliance to push for phasing out oil and gas at upcoming climate conference
Canada is unlikely to join the new group, according to one expert
A new climate alliance set to launch at the COP26 conference is taking aim at the oil and gas industry, putting pressure on Canada to set a clear date to wind down oil and gas extraction in this country.
The Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, headed by Denmark and Costa Rica, will bring together countries and subnational entities willing to set an end date for fossil fuel extraction. The list of those signing on will be released in Glasgow, Scotland, during the major climate conference starting there next week.
“We think that to be a climate leader you also have to lead on the difficult questions, and ending oil and gas extraction is definitely one of the defining questions of climate action,” Tomas Anker Christensen, Denmark’s climate ambassador, said in an interview with CBC’s The House.

21 October
G20 split over coal, 1.5 degree climate limit ahead of Rome summit -sources
Rome G20 precedes UN ‘COP 26’ climate meeting in Scotland
Phasing out coal a big hurdle ahead of Rome Oct. 30-31 meeting
Progress seen unlikely before sherpas meet next week
Chinese, Russian leaders unlikely to be in Rome

13 October
Nations nowhere close to halting ‘catastrophic’ climate change
New report shows current pledges to cut greenhouse gases will not prevent global warming to extremely dangerous levels.
Commitments to halt greenhouse gas emissions are currently nowhere near stopping the worst ravages of climate change in the years to come, a new report indicated on Wednesday, as world leaders prepare to haggle over what action to take and who will pay for it.
Even if countries meet their commitments – still a very big if – this will only reduce fossil fuel emissions by 40 percent by 2050, said the International Energy Agency (IEA).
That means a temperature rise of about 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 – a figure the United Nations recently said would be “catastrophic” for the planet and all its inhabitants.

5 October
Nobel Prize in Physics Awarded for Study of Humanity’s Role in Changing Climate
All three scientists have been working to understand the complex natural systems that have been driving climate change for decades, and their discoveries have provided the scaffolding on which predictions about climate are built.
(NYT) Three scientists received the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for work that is essential to understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing, pinpointing the effect of human behavior on those changes and ultimately predicting the impact of global warming.
The winners were Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University, Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, and Giorgio Parisi of the Sapienza University of Rome. …the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said this is the first time the Physics prize has been awarded specifically to a climate scientist. “The discoveries being recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge about the climate rests on a solid scientific foundation, based on a rigorous analysis of observations,” said Thors Hans Hansson, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.
Complex physical systems, such as the climate, are often defined by their disorder. This year’s winners helped bring understanding to what seemed like chaos by describing those systems and predicting their long-term behavior.
COP26: examining the business environment impact of climate pledges
(The Economist Intelligence Unit) Climate policy is becoming an increasingly important determinant of the business environment. The renewed and increased ambition of climate pledges that will come out of COP26 will spur new regulations, support green innovation and make additional financing available. This will lead to a significant transformation of global business in the coming decades.
Available now, our latest report has been written to help businesses and investors understand where and how climate pledges have the potential to change the business environment.

22 September
China Says It Won’t Build New Coal Plants Abroad. What Does That Mean?
Beijing is the undisputed king of coal, but the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly this week was cautiously welcomed by climate experts.
(NYT) Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, said on Tuesday that his country would stop building coal-burning power plants overseas, a major shift by the world’s second-biggest economy to move away from its support of the fossil fuel.
Last year, China built more than three times more new coal power capacity than all other countries in the world combined, equal to “more than one large coal plant per week,” according to estimates from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.

17 September
UNGA is key moment for NDCs and climate finance
The 76th session of the UN General Assembly is one of the last major opportunities to increase NDC ambition and deliver on climate finance ahead of COP26.
Anna Åberg and Dr Daniel Quiggin
(Chatham House) At the end of a summer afflicted by devastating floods, wildfires, and heatwaves, the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) takes place just a few weeks before COP26, one of the most important climate change conferences ever.
Delivering an ambitious COP26 outcome requires governments to raise the ambition of their 2030 emission reduction targets – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – and developed countries to honour their 2009 pledge to mobilize $100 billion per year in climate finance to developing countries.
Making substantial progress on both these issues ahead of COP26 is critical, and the UNGA represents one of the last major high-level stages to make important announcements before Glasgow.
Meetings organized on the sidelines of UNGA can help accelerate action. On 17 September, US president Joe Biden is reconvening the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, and on 20 September UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and UK prime minister Boris Johnson are co-hosting a climate-focused closed-door meeting with world leaders.
A new Chatham House research paper shows that in the absence of substantial cuts in emissions this decade, severe climate change impacts will be locked in from 2040, many of which will be so dire that they go beyond what the world is able to adapt to.
The UNGA – a leaders-level platform on ‘neutral’ ground and with global representation – is an attractive stage for making important announcements. … With the clock ticking to COP26, it is crucial governments use the UNGA to announce stronger NDCs as well as concrete measures – such as phasing down production and use of coal, oil, and gas – essential to meeting climate targets. Special focus is on the G20 members and especially the world’s largest emitter – China.
As climate pledges fall short, U.N. predicts globe could warm by catastrophic 2.7 degrees Celsius
New Glasgow commitments, if implemented, would result in a 12 percent emissions cut by the decade’s end, well short of what is needed to curb global warming
The United Nations warned Friday that based on the most recent action plans submitted by 191 countries to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the planet is on track to warm by more than 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — far above what world leaders have said is the acceptable upper limit of global warming.
Even a lower increase would mean millions of people losing their homes to rising seas, vast sections of permafrost lost and extinction for scores of animal species.
The report set the stakes as President Biden gathered the world’s biggest emitters to the White House on Friday to try reach an agreement among some of them to cut methane — a potent greenhouse gas — by 30 percent by 2030.

1 September
COP26: How the world will measure progress on the Paris climate agreement and keep countries accountable
By Steven Lam, PhD Candidate in Public Health, University of Guelph; Sherilee Harper, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and Health, University of Alberta; and Warren Dodd, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health Sciences, University of Waterloo
(The Conversation) To achieve any goal, targets must be set and progress measured. When it comes to climate change, that assessment is called the “global stocktake.” The stocktake, which will occur every five years beginning in 2023, takes a look at the collective progress the world’s nations have made on climate action.
Several reports have found that countries’ climate pledges (called nationally determined contributions, or NDCs) aren’t ambitious enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Even if current pledges are achieved, there are few ways to further reduce emissions after 2030 quickly enough to limit global warming to 1.5 C. The expert reviewers for the reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say strong, rapid and sustained emissions reductions would limit global warming and prevent the worst climate impacts.
When country representatives gather at the United Nations climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, they will finalize the plans for the global stocktake — how the parties to the agreement will measure and report their climate actions — so they can then strengthen their own country’s climate pledges.

12 August
Bjorn Lomborg: IPCC global warming report is more chill than you have read
Climate change is not the apocalypse, but a problem to which we should find smart fixes
(Special to Financial Post) In contrast to the hyperventilating media, the report is actually serious and sensible (and very, very long). It doesn’t surprise, since it is a summary of already published studies, but it reconfirms that global warming is indeed real and a problem. But it also highlights how much one-sided thinking takes place in the climate conversation. Since the heat dome in the U.S. and Canada in June, there has been a lot of writing about more heat deaths. And the IPCC confirms that climate change has increased heatwaves. However, the report equally firmly tells us that global warming means “the frequency and intensity of cold extremes have decreased” — though this is virtually unacknowledged in the media.
This matters, because globally, many more people die from cold than from heat. A new study in the highly respected journal Lancet shows that about half a million people die annually from heat, but 4.5 million people die from cold. …
It also mentions climate upsides like the fact that more CO₂ in the atmosphere has acted as a fertilizer and created a profound global greening of the planet. One NASA study found that over a period of 35 years, climate change has added an area of green equivalent to two times the size of Australia.

11 August

Biden and Trudeau are Putin and Xi’s useful energy idiots
The Biden and Trudeau administrations should pause to reflect carefully on just how much rope Vladimir Putin and Chairman Xi have already sold them
(Financial Post Opinion) All this suggests that any attempts in the West to successfully “transition” away from fossil fuels in order to reach what may prove to be unattainable targets for “net zero” could be anything but orderly and, worse, will bring serious unintended consequences that accrue to the advantage of countries like Russia and China, whose standards for environmental protection are far below those being set for Canada in particular and the West in general.
U.N. climate change report sounds ‘code red for humanity’
Nina Chestney, Andrea Januta
Human activities ‘unequivocally’ causing climate change
World is likely to hit 1.5C warming limit within 20 years
(Reuters) – Global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control, a U.N. climate panel said in a landmark report Monday, warning the world is already certain to face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come.
Humans are “unequivocally” to blame, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said. Rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could limit some impacts, but others are now locked in.
The deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.
In an interview with Reuters, activist Greta Thunberg called on the public and media to put “massive” pressure on governments to act.
In three months, the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will try to wring much more ambitious climate action out of the nations of the world, and the money to go with it.
Drawing on more than 14,000 scientific studies, the IPCC report gives the most comprehensive and detailed picture yet of how climate change is altering the natural world – and what could still be ahead.
Climate crisis ‘unequivocally’ caused by human activities, says IPCC report

(The Guardian) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states every corner of the planet is already being affected and it could get far worse
IPCC report’s verdict on climate crimes of humanity: guilty as hell
Humans have caused ‘unprecedented’ and ‘irreversible’ change to climate, scientists warn
Here’s How Climate Change Will Stress Your Homeland
Hotter Asia, drier Alps, stormier U.S., saltier island nations
(Scientific American) Yesterday’s landmark climate report offered a clearer picture of what’s already happened, where we’re headed and how the impacts of global warming will vary by region.
It’s the first time the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change included specific regional information and a digital atlas that allows users to drill down into more local data.
See also How Much Worse Will Thawing Arctic Permafrost Make Climate Change?
IPCC report: global emissions must peak by 2025 to keep warming at 1.5°C – we need deeds not words
Keith Baker, Researcher in Fuel Poverty and Energy Policy, Built Environment Asset Management (BEAM) Centre, Glasgow Caledonian University
(The Conversation) Earth could exceed 1.5°C of global warming – the “safe” limit for temperature rise outlined in the Paris Agreement – as soon as the early 2030s, according to a landmark report by the world’s most senior climate scientists. Even in the most optimistic scenario, where the global community manages to significantly rein in greenhouse gas emissions, there is still only a 50:50 chance that global temperature rise will stop there.
The report’s conclusion that staying below 2°C this century will only happen if emissions reach net zero by 2050 is well publicised. But there is one, rather more urgent addendum to that: global emissions must peak some time in the middle of this decade. In other words, within the next few years.
It’s Grim
The latest UN report is clear: Climate change is here, it’s a crisis, and it’s caused by fossil fuels.
By Robinson Meyer
(The Atlantic) …the recent spate of horrific heat waves, fire-fueling droughts, and flood-inducing storms that have imperiled the inhabited world are not only typical of global warming, but directly caused by it.
[It is] the speed of that transition that matters—preventing every last ton of carbon pollution, and averting every additional tenth of a degree of warming, will not only lessen the harm over the next few decades, but resound for centuries and even millennia to come.
These are the conclusions of the newest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN-sponsored body that has periodically released a synthesis of current climate science since its founding in 1988. The group’s reports tend to punctuate the otherwise slow immiseration of climate change; its previous synthesis report, released in 2013, helped inform international climate policy, including the writing of the Paris Agreement.

4 August
5 things to watch for in the latest IPCC report on climate science
Alex Crawford, Research Associate at the Centre for Earth Observation Science, Clayton H. Riddle Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, University of Manitoba
(The Conversation) On Aug. 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its most comprehensive report on the science of climate change since 2013. It will be the first of four reports released under the IPCC’s latest assessment cycle, with subsequent reports coming in 2022.
Over the past eight years, climate scientists have improved the methods they use to measure different aspects of climate and to model (or project) what might happen in the future. They’ve also been monitoring the changes that have developed right before our eyes.
This updated assessment comes three months before world leaders gather in Glasgow, Scotland, to find ways to avoid the worst effects of climate change and renew their commitments to reduce greenhouse gases. It also comes amid another year of severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, flooding and storms.
1. How sensitive is the climate to increasing carbon dioxide?
2. What’s going on with clouds?
3. Did climate change fuel recent extreme weather?
4. Have regional climate projections improved?
5. How will Antarctic ice sheets contribute to sea-level rise?

29 June
Climate explained: how the IPCC reaches scientific consensus on climate change
Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.
Rebecca Harris, Senior Lecturer in Climatology, Director, Climate Futures Program, University of Tasmania
(The Conversation) The IPCC has already released five assessment reports and is currently completing its Sixth Assessment (AR6), with the release of the first part of the report, on the physical science of climate change, expected on August 9.
Each assessment cycle brings together scientists from around the world and many disciplines. The current cycle involves 721 scientists from 90 countries, in three working groups covering the physical science basis (WGI), impacts, adaptation and vulnerability (WGII) and mitigation of climate change (WGIII).
In each assessment round, the IPCC identifies where the scientific community agrees, where there are differences of opinion and where further research is needed.
IPCC authors come from academia, industry, government and non-governmental organisations. All authors go through a rigorous selection process — they must be leading experts in their fields, with a strong publishing record and international reputation.
Author teams usually meet in person four times throughout the writing cycle. This is essential to enable (sometimes heated) discussion and exchange across cultures to build a truly global perspective. During the AR6 assessment cycle, lead author meetings (LAMs) for Working Group 1 were not disrupted by COVID-19, but the final WGII and WGIII meetings were held remotely, bringing challenges of different time zones, patchy internet access and more difficult communication.


16 December
U.N. Climate Talks Collapsed in Madrid. What’s the Way Forward?
The failure this week of the United Nations’ COP25 climate conference, which didn’t produce the rules or commitments many had hoped for, has David Wallace-Wells looking for another model to address coming global catastrophe. …including the so-called European Green Deal and an alliance of cities and states in the U.S. called America’s Pledge. Whatever the path forward, it will require “a complete change of perspective on climate in Washington,” as well as “some shift almost as complete in Beijing.”
(New York) …if the COP model hasn’t worked, can anything? Perhaps the best news of the last few weeks was the announcement of what is being called, in a charming, mangled double translation of the “Green New Deal,” the “European Green Deal”: a wide-ranging commitment to get the continent to net-zero carbon by 2050. In the United States, America’s Pledge, an alliance of cities and states led by Mike Bloomberg, announced that even in the absence of federal support, local commitments could approach the goals set for the country as a whole under the Paris accords. That math is probably optimistic, and indeed there are natural limits to small-scale efforts to combat warming: Emissions are a global problem, with the impacts of warming distributed globally, and so meaningfully reducing warming, and the assaults it brings, requires a truly global effort. No nation in the world — even China, responsible for about 28 percent of carbon emissions — is a significant enough contributor to dramatically change the trajectory of the planet as a whole on its own, no matter what it does. This is why there has been so much international focus on COP. It is also why the struggles of that approach — getting the hundreds of nations of the world to act in concert — are so distressing.
Are there any other ways, beyond the U.N. model, to organize or incentive that kind of global cooperation? I’ve heard from a number of economists, in the last few months, who would like to see the establishment of something like a WTO for climate — an independent organization, capable of not just rewarding participation but also punish bad behavior by nations. In the U.S., Senator Ed Markey — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal partner — called for the Senate to give itself unprecedented authority to impose sanctions on nations behaving irresponsibly on climate. And in a conversation with Politico, John Kerry, announcing a new bipartisan climate-action coalition, suggested that some kind of climate sanctions regime was probably inevitable. If you take seriously the scale of climate changes scientists say are in store for us with unmitigated warming, it seems almost inevitable that the nations of the world will turn to sanctions — or even war — to police bad climate behavior and protect the well-being of their citizens. But in the absence of an international accord to provide a legal basis for such actions, climate sanctions would probably become just another tool of great power rivalry. And as a friend of mine who’s worked as a national security analyst for a decade put it to me recently, when have sanctions ever worked?
Which is why, over the last few months, I’ve found myself thinking a lot more about the model offered by the nuclear nonproliferation agreements forged between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s — the planet’s two superpowers reaching a kind of consensus about a global existential threat, taking significant (if not complete) steps to mitigate that risk, and then more or less bullying the rest of the world to follow suit. Climate change is a very different challenge, but policy negotiations to address it may nevertheless benefit from reducing the number of sides involved in a game-theory calculus from 186 (the number of nations party to the Paris accords) to just two (in this case, the U.S. and China). Of course, this would require not just a complete change of perspective on climate in Washington but some shift almost as complete in Beijing, where commitments made in 2019 to open new coal plants are sufficient on their own to eliminate the entire planet’s chances of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

15 December
U.N. Climate Talks End With Few Commitments and a ‘Lost’ Opportunity
(NYT) In what was widely denounced as one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations, United Nations talks ended early Sunday morning with the United States and other big polluters blocking even a nonbinding measure that would have encouraged countries to adopt more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year. Because the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it was the last chance, at least for some time, for American delegates to sit at the negotiating table at the annual talks — and perhaps a turning point in global climate negotiations, given the influence that Washington has long wielded, for better or worse, in the discussions. The Trump administration used the meeting to push back on a range of proposals, including a mechanism to compensate developing countries for losses suffered as a result of more intense storms, droughts, rising seas and other effects of global warming. The annual negotiations, held in Madrid this year, demonstrated the vast gaps between what scientists say the world needs and what the world’s most powerful leaders are prepared to even discuss, let alone do. “Most of the large emitters were missing in action or obstructive,” said Helen Mountford, a vice president at World Resources Institute. “This reflects how disconnected many national leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens.” Along with the United States, Australia and Brazil were also singled out for blocking action on other issues. China and India balked at suggestions of more ambitious climate targets next year.

15 December
U.N. climate talks end with hard feelings, few results and new doubts about global unity
(WaPo) Global climate talks lurched to an end here Sunday with finger pointing, accusations of failure and fresh doubts about the world’s collective resolve to slow the warming of the planet — at a moment when scientists say time is running out for humans to avert steadily worsening climate disasters.
After more than two weeks of negotiations, punctuated by raucous protests and constant reminders about the need to move faster, bleary-eyed negotiators barely mustered enthusiasm for the compromise they had patched together, while raising grievances about the many issues that remain unresolved.
At a gathering where the mantra “Time for Action” was plastered throughout the hallways and on the walls, the negotiators failed to achieve their primary goals. Central among them: convincing the world’s largest carbon-emitting countries to pledge to tackle climate change more aggressively beginning in 2020.

11 December
European Green Deal will change economy to solve climate crisis, says EU
Everything from travel to air quality has been looked at in order to create ‘a growth that gives back’
(The Guardian) Nearly every major aspect of the European economy is to be re-evaluated in light of the imperatives of the climate and ecological emergency, according to sweeping new plans set out by the European commission on Wednesday.
The comprehensive nature of the European Green Deal – which encompasses the air we breathe to how food is grown, from how we travel to the buildings we inhabit – was set out in a flurry of documents as Ursula von der Leyen, the new commission president, made her appeal to member states and parliamentarians in Brussels to back the proposals, which would represent the biggest overhaul of policy since the foundation of the modern EU.
Von der Leyen said the package was aimed at economic growth and increasing prosperity. “[This] is our new growth strategy, for a growth that gives back more than it takes away,” she said. “It shows how to transform our way of living and working, of producing and consuming, so that we live healthier [lives] and make our businesses innovate. We will help our economy to be a global leader by moving first and moving fast.”
As well as bidding to lead the world on climate action with a proposed target of net-zero carbon by 2050 and halving emissions by 2030, the EU will delve far more deeply into the root problems that contribute to carbon emissions and pollution. For instance, in manufacturing: in previous decades, the EU was content to set targets for recycling rates; under the European Green Deal, regulators would set specific standards on the manufacturing of goods to create a circular economy and phase out unnecessary plastic and other waste before it is created.

9 December
Accelerating the low carbon transition
The case for stronger, more targeted and coordinated international action
Economies throughout the world have gone through many technological transitions: horses to cars, coal to gas, and wells to piped water systems. In their new report, David Victor, Frank Geels, and Simon Sharpe show how governments and businesses can accelerate a much needed transition to low-carbon technologies as well.
(Brookings) The world is committed to acting on climate change. At least since the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, the international community has been united in its commitment to preventing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’. In the Paris agreement of 2015, almost all countries set out individual targets or actions they would take towards meeting this collective goal. Earlier this year, the UN Climate Action Summit highlighted many examples of governments, businesses and civil society groups leading the way to a low carbon economy. There is general consensus on the need for deep cuts in emissions as rapidly as is practical. However, it is equally clear that emissions are still rising, not falling, and economic change is not happening anywhere near quickly enough.

2 December
COP25 Kicks Off with Calls to Make Serious Progress on Climate Action
(UNFCCC) In his speech at the opening, Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, underlined the importance of women in climate action. Mr. Sanchez celebrated the memory of an American woman scientist who back in 1856 was the first to identify CO2 warming effect.
“I wanted to start by evoking the memory of Eunice Foote for two reasons: first, to rescue her memory, and the memory of so many other women scientists, from the injustice of oblivion. Second, to remind everyone that it has been a long time since science started warning us about climate change.
This double paradox is an invitation to reflect. For so many decades, progress has been conceived without involving half of humanity, and at the same time, the notion of progress has not taken into account the physical limits that make human life viable on our planet,” he said.
Green economy ‘not to be feared, but an opportunity to be embraced’ says UN chief as COP25 gets underway
(UN News) The tasks are many, timelines are tight, every item is important
Mr. Guterres outlined the work programme for what will be a busy two-week event covering multiple aspects of the climate crisis, including capacity-building, deforestation, indigenous peoples, cities, finance, technology, and gender. “The tasks are many”, he said, “our timelines are tight, and every item is important”.
Some key UN-backed climate reports

1 December
Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney to serve as UN special envoy on climate
Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who previously served as Canada’s top central banker, will be taking on a new role as the United Nations’ special envoy on climate action and climate finance.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made the announcement while speaking to reporters in Madrid on Sunday, adding the move will take effect next year.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of a climate summit that opens in Madrid on Monday, Guterres described Carney as “a remarkable pioneer in pushing the financial sector to work on climate.”
Carney, who is due to step down as head of the Bank of England in January, has urged the financial sector to transform its management of climate risk, and led various international initiatives to improve supervision and disclosure.

4 November
Trump has formally pulled the U.S. out of the Paris agreement. This is a dark time for America.
By John F. Kerry and Chuck Hagel
(WaPo) The Paris agreement was a start, not a finish line. But it was the best ignition switch the world could agree on to spark international cooperation on this critical issue, something that many leading Republicans agree is essential to do because the United States can’t solve this problem alone. Without this agreement, China, India and many other major emitters would not have a commitment to the world to reduce their emissions, let alone one with transparency and international oversight for all.

1 November
As UN climate talks switch from Chile to Spain, Greta Thunberg seeks a way to attend
(Reuters via Global news) Spain will host UN climate change talks in December after Chile withdrew, the United Nations said on Friday, a last-minute switch which raises big logistical challenges and has left activist Greta Thunberg stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic.
The UN climate change talks, known formally as COP25, will be held Dec. 2-13, as originally planned, but in Madrid — over 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) away from Chile’s capital Santiago where it was initially meant to take place.
Chile’s government on Wednesday announced it was withdrawing as host of both the December climate summit and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit scheduled this month, after two weeks of riots over inequality in the South American country left at least 18 people dead.
“Excellent news: Madrid will host the Climate Summit on December 2-13,” Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter. “Spain is working from now on to guarantee the organization of the #COP25.”
Alexander Saier, a spokesman for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that the Spanish government would help expedite the issuance of visas and set up an agency to help organize the travel and accommodation of the roughly 25,000 people expected to attend.
“It is more important that the conference takes place, politically. I think it would have been not a good sign if the conference would have been canceled or postponed,” Saier said.
Chile will continue to assume the presidency of the climate talks while in Madrid. The so-called Conference of the Parties (COP) conference is aimed at fleshing out details of the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

30 October
Unrest in Chile prompts cancellation of U.N. climate conference
(Science) Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced this morning that Chile would not host the United Nations (UN) climate talks that were set to begin in Santiago on 2 December.
UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa released a statement this morning stating, “I was informed of the decision by the government of Chile not to host COP25 in view of the difficult situation that the country is undergoing.” She added, “We are currently exploring alternative hosting options.”
The news that Chile would not host the COP—or Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—came as a surprise to U.S. environmental advocates, who said the Chilean COP presidency had signaled optimism earlier this week that plans for the conference would go forward despite massive protests that have rocked the country since 18 October. Espinosa’s statement suggests that the United Nations is looking to hold the conference outside of Chile, though Chilean Environment Minister Carolina Schmidt would remain president of the COP.

26 September
Bjørn Lomborg: How Climate Policies Hurt the Poor
(Project Syndicate) The world is in great danger of spending scarce resources on climate policies that hurt rather than help its poorest people. Governments should instead focus on growth-enhancing measures such as trade liberalization, which provide a pathway to increased welfare and greater equality.
Rising protectionism is imperiling economic growth – including in the world’s poorest countries, which would benefit most from a more open global trading system. Concluding the long-stalled Doha Round of global trade talks, for example, could make the world $11 trillion richer each year by 2030 and lift 145 million more people out of poverty.
… there is another, arguably greater threat to progress on reducing poverty: governments’ blinkered pursuit of hugely expensive climate-mitigation policies.
Globally, the 2015 Paris climate agreement is the most expensive international accord in history, because it aims to wean entire economies off fossil fuels, even though alternative energy sources such as solar and wind remain uncompetitive in many contexts. As a result, the agreement will slow economic growth, increase poverty, and exacerbate inequality.

The Secretary General will host a Climate Summit in September 2019 (on the margins of the 74th General Assembly) with the objective of increasing ambition and accelerating climate action towards 2020 and beyond Climate Action Summit, 23 September 2019.

23 September
Greta Thunberg condemns world leaders in emotional speech at UN
Thunberg, 16, says governments have betrayed young people
(The Guardian) Greta Thunberg has excoriated world leaders for their “betrayal” of young people through their inertia over the climate crisis at a United Nations summit that failed to deliver ambitious new commitments to address dangerous global heating.
In a stinging speech on Monday, the teenage Swedish climate activist told governments that “you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal.”
Days after millions of young people joined protests worldwide to demand emergency action on climate change, leaders gathered for the annual United Nations general assembly aiming to inject fresh momentum into efforts to curb carbon emissions.
But Thunberg predicted the summit would not deliver any new plans in line with the radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are needed to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” a visibly emotional Thunberg said.
If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them

20 September

Photos show huge climate-change protests around the world, which have spread across continents as millions strike to demand action
(Business Insider) Millions of people around the world are expected to walk out of school and work on Friday as part of the global climate strike inspired by the 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.
It is the first of several planned events ahead of and during the United Nations Climate Action Summit next week.
Strikes started in Australia on Friday morning. School Strike 4 Climate, the organizers of the event, say over 300,000 people took part across the country.
The protests and strikes are spreading across the planet over the course of the day, reaching Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.

8 August
This Land Is the Only Land There Is
Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.
(The Atlantic)  There is no shortage of scary facts in the major new report on climate change and land, a summary of which was released today by a United Nations–led scientific panel. Chief among them: For everyone who lives on land, the planet’s dangerously warmed future is already here. Earth’s land has already warmed more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the industrial revolution, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s the same amount of warming that climate activists are hoping to prevent on a global scale.
If the report has an overarching theme, it’s that land is extremely scarce, we need it for everything, and we are already using most of it. More than 70 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is already shaped by human activity, the report says. As trees are felled and farms take their place, this human-managed land emits about a quarter of global greenhouse-gas pollution every year, including 13 percent of carbon dioxide and 44 percent of the super-warming but short-lived pollutant methane.
In some ways, this is the most unavoidably political document that the IPCC has ever published. Its report last year, on the dangers of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, called for an unprecedented transformation in the globe’s energy system. It demanded a rapid switch to carbon-free energy systems. But talking about the energy system is, in this context, relatively easy. No one’s ever gone to war over electric cars or renewable portfolio standards. But land is different. It is home, and the possibility of home.

5 August
Here’s how the hottest month in recorded history unfolded around the globe
“This is not your grandfather’s summer,” said United Nations Secretary General António Guterres
(WaPo) Four years ago in Paris, world leaders committed to doing all they could to prevent the globe from warming more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 Celsius), with the goal of keeping warming to no more than 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 Celsius), compared to preindustrial levels.
But the commitments that countries made in Paris are far too modest to meet those targets. Last week, as the head of the United Nations recognized the likelihood that the world had just experienced its hottest month on record, he pleaded with national leaders to summon the will to take the kind of aggressive action that could put the globe on a more sustainable trajectory.
“This year alone, we have seen temperature records shattered from New Delhi to Anchorage, from Paris to Santiago, from Adelaide and to the Arctic Circle,” Guterres said. “If we do not take action on climate change now, these extreme weather events are just the tip of the iceberg. And, indeed, the iceberg is also rapidly melting.”

27 July
Pressure grows around climate-change summit
(Axios Trends) Young people and Big Oil executives will join world leaders in September for the most high-profile summit on climate change since the 2015 UN conference that led to the Paris Agreement, Amy Harder writes.
Why it matters: The New York event is aimed at encouraging countries to increase their pledges to the Paris deal, in the face of rising global carbon emissions, falling investment in renewable energy and an American president who denies there’s a problem at all.
Driving the news: The United Nations is hosting the event and there will be two notable developments outside its Manhattan headquarters…
On Sept. 20, thousands of people, led by students, are signing up to walk out of their jobs and schools to demand the world stop using fossil fuels. Millions could participate globally in what organizers say will be the largest such movement.
On Sept. 23, the world’s biggest oil and natural gas producers will huddle at an invite-only forum, where CEOs are expected to face critical questions from environmental experts.
What’s next: This is all building up to the UN’s 2020 climate-change conference. That’s when countries are expected to formally establish more aggressive commitments. Next year is also when President Trump plans to formally withdraw from the Paris deal.

9 July
Paris se déclare en “état d’urgence climatique”– La mairie a aussi annoncé deux nouvelles mesures: la création d’une “Académie du climat” et d’un “GIEC” parisien.
(AFP) La Ville de Paris s’est déclarée en ”état d’urgence climatique” après un vote en conseil de Paris, ce mardi 9 juillet. Une mesure symbolique pour témoigner de la volonté de la capitale de prendre des mesures rapides pour lutter contre le réchauffement climatique. Il faut “tenir les objectifs de l’accord de Paris” adopté en décembre 2015, a plaidé l’adjointe chargée de l’Environnement à la maire de Paris, Célia Blauel.

29 June

G20 summit: World leaders agree on climate deal
Leaders have agreed on a climate deal similar to the one struck in Argentina in 2018. The US has again refused to commit to tackling climate change.
“We will have a similar text to Argentina. A 19+1 declaration,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 meeting.
As at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, the new declaration states that the US reiterated its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement “because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers.”
The document said the signatories to the Paris Agreement reaffirmed their commitment to its full implementation.
To help achieve climate change prevention, the G20 nations “will look into a wide range of clean technologies and approaches, including smart cities, ecosystem and community based approaches, nature based solutions and traditional and indigenous knowledge,” the final document read.
“In our view, climate change will determine the destiny of mankind, so it is imperative that our generation makes the right choices,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a news conference with his French counterpart and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres following the climate change talks.

13 June
U.N. Head: Climate Change Can Prove the Value of Collective Action
UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in an interview for TIME Magazine, said “Climate change is not a problem for multilateralism, climate change is a problem for us all. But I think climate change offers an opportunity for multilateralism to prove its value.”
Guterres hopes that the climate summit he is hosting this fall will be another opportunity for the world to tackle global warming — and this time bring commitments to reduce emissions closer in line with a maximum temperature rise of 1.5°C by the end of the century.
The purpose of the summit is not “to convene a conference to come to a consensus on a document,” he says. “It is to make country by country assume leadership and assume this ambition that is necessary.”
The Leaders of These Sinking Countries Are Fighting to Stop Climate Change. Here’s What the Rest of the World Can Learn
(TIME) To save themselves and raise awareness of the perils of climate change, a collection of these vulnerable states—from Fiji to the Marshall Islands, the Maldives to the Bahamas—has launched an international campaign. It has been, against all odds, a remarkable success. Together, these mostly poor nations with little hard power leveraged the moral force of their peril to shape the global 2015 Paris Agreement.

1 June
The major emitters that are meeting their Paris Agreement pledges
(Axios) Of top 10 global carbon emitters, not a single one is hitting its climate goals as outlined under the Paris Agreement, per data from the Climate Action Tracker.
Why it matters: Even if every country that’s adopted the Paris Agreement were to meet their pledges, it would not avert the worst effects of climate change.
Driving the news: June 1 marks the 2-year anniversary of President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal. Per the Climate Action Tracker, the U.S., the second-largest world emitter of greenhouse gasses (but top historical emitter), falls under “critically insufficient,” the worst category, in meeting its Paris pledge.

28 May
‘Blatant Attempt to Politicize the Science’: Trump Reportedly Moving to End Long-Term Studies of Climate Crisis
“The Trump gang is attacking the scientific process itself in an attempt to prop up fossil fuel industries, delay inevitable action, and run the carbon bubble as long as it will last.”
by Jake Johnson, staff writer
(Common Dreams) In what environmental experts warned could be President Donald Trump’s most dangerous assault on science yet, the White House is reportedly moving to end long-term assessments of the impacts of the climate crisis while pushing a polluter-friendly agenda that is making the planetary emergency worse.
As the New York Times reported late Monday, “the White House-appointed director of the United States Geological Survey, James Reilly, a former astronaut and petroleum geologist, has ordered that scientific assessments produced by that office use only computer-generated climate models that project the impact of climate change through 2040, rather than through the end of the century, as had been done previously.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations’ leading climate body—warned in a landmark report last October that if carbon emissions are not dramatically and rapidly reduced, catastrophic effects of the climate crisis could be felt across the world as early as 2040.

25 May

Climate change visualized: How Earth’s temperature has changed since 1970
(Axios) 2018 was Earth’s 4th-warmest year on record, coming in behind 2016, the planet’s warmest recorded year, as well as 2015 and 2017, according to information released by NOAA, NASA and the U.K. Met Office.
Why it matters: The yearly rankings don’t tell the whole story of long-term climate change, since natural variability can still push or pull an individual year up or down the rankings. However, the overall picture is growing starker with each passing year. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record since reliable data began in 1880 have occurred since 2005. At the same time, greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels — as well as deforestation and intensive agriculture — have skyrocketed to levels not seen in more than 800,000 years.

17 April
IPCC Chair among TIME’s 100 most influential people in 2019
As the head of the United Nations, Secretary-General António Guterres works to solve the world’s thorniest issues from humanitarian crises to international terrorism knowing that the nature of these conflicts prevents any definitive resolution.
But climate change is different, he tells TIME.
As populist leaders around the globe have sowed doubts about multilateral institutions like the U.N., Guterres says that climate change, perhaps the biggest collective action problem, offers an opportunity like no other issue for the system to “prove its value.”
“We are involved in the prevention of conflicts, and we are involved in trying to solve Libya, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan. But those are areas in which what we can do is limited,” he said in a May 22 interview at the U.N. headquarters in New York. “Climate change is for me, clearly an area where the U.N. has the obligation to assume global leadership.”

19 March
School climate strikes: 1.4 million people took part, say campaigners
Activist Greta Thunberg, 16, says action proved ‘no one is too small to make a difference’

15 March
The climate strikers should inspire us all to act at the next UN summit
Without ambitious action, the Paris agreement is meaningless. So I’m bringing world leaders together to build the future we need
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
(Guardian op-ed) Tens of thousands of young people took to the streets on Friday with a clear message to world leaders: act now to save our planet and our future from the climate emergency.
These schoolchildren have grasped something that seems to elude many of their elders: we are in a race for our lives, and we are losing. The window of opportunity is closing – we no longer have the luxury of time, and climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial.
My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.


16 December
Katowice Climate Conference
It took long and difficult negotiations to reach agreement on the agreed ‘Katowice Climate Package’ but in the end, countries agreed on a set of guidelines for implementing the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.
In Katowice, countries stressed “the urgency of enhanced ambition in order to ensure the highest possible mitigation and adaptation efforts by all Parties.”
Katowice was a major step forward for operationalizing the Paris Agreement. The Agreement, adopted in December 2015 and now joined by 184 countries, aims to limit global warming to well under 2°C, or even 1°5C this century.
COP24: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Katowice
(Carbon brief) This year’s COP24 annual UN climate conference concluded late on Saturday evening in Katowice, Poland, after two weeks of tension-filled talks.
Nearly 23,000 delegates descended on the coal-tinged city with a deadline for hashing out the Paris Agreement “rulebook”, which is the operating manual needed for when the global deal enters into force in 2020.
This was mostly agreed, starting a new international climate regime under which all countries will have to report their emissions – and progress in cutting them – every two years from 2024.
But as countries wrestled with the “four-dimensional spaghetti” of competing priorities – as one delegate put it to Carbon Brief – they clashed over how to recognise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on 1.5C and whether to clearly signal the need for greater ambition to stay below this temperature limit.
The final outcome included hints at the need for more ambitious climate pledges before 2020, leaving many NGOs disappointed at the lack of more forceful language.

3 December
Climate Action Campaign Launched by the United Nations
The renowned broadcaster Sir David Attenborough has announced the United Nations’ launch of a new campaign enabling individuals the world over to unite in actions to battle climate change.
In an address to the opening session of United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, Sir David Attenborough urged everyone to use the UN’s new ActNow.bot [link opens Facebook Messenger] designed to give people the power and knowledge to take personal action against climate change directly on the Facebook Messenger Platform.
Speaking for “The People’s Seat” initiative, Sir David Attenborough called it the result of new activism shaped by people from around the world and collected through social media.
“In the last two weeks,” he said, “the world’s people have taken part in creating this address, answering polls, creating videos and voicing their opinions.”

8 October
UN Experts Warn of ‘Climate Catastrophe’ by 2040 Without ‘Rapid’ and ‘Unprecedented’ Global Action
(Common Dreams) “The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable,” notes 350.org’s program director. “Staying under 1.5ºC is now a matter of political will.”
Underscoring the need for “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented” changes to life as we know it to combat the global climate crisis, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations’ leading body for climate science—details what the world could look like if the global temperature rises to 1.5°C versus 2°C (2.7°F versus 3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and outlines pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

1 September
The Swedish 15-year-old who’s cutting class to fight the climate crisis
Following Sweden’s hottest summer ever, Greta Thunberg decided to go on school strike at the parliament to get politicians to act
(The Guardian) Why bother to learn anything in school if politicians won’t pay attention to the facts?
This simple realisation prompted Greta Thunberg, 15, to protest in the most effective way she knew. She is on strike, refusing to go to school until Sweden’s general election on 9 September to draw attention to the climate crisis.
Her protest has captured the imagination of a country that has been struck by heatwaves and wildfires in its hottest summer since records began 262 years ago.

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