Bonn U.N. Talks Seek To Avoid Deadlock Over Global Climate Agreement

climate paris talksGovernments will try on Monday to streamline an 89-page draft text of a U.N. deal to fight climate change due to be agreed in Paris in December, hoping to avoid the acrimony of the last failed attempt. The 190-nation talks among senior officials in Bonn, from June 1-11, will try to narrow down vastly differing options, ranging from promises to slash greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 to vague pledges to curb rising emissions. –Alister Doyle, Reuters, 31 May 2015

Efforts spearheaded by the United Nations to reach a global deal to fight climate change are “inadequate”, a French minister said on Monday in a sign of growing frustration before Paris hosts a major meeting later this year. Environment Minister Segolene Royal blamed negotiators for past failures. “Bonn must obey the political instructions of heads of state and governments. Otherwise, the negotiators, who have been there for 15 years, if not 20 years, will just continue going through the motions,” she said.  —Reuters, 1 June 2015

Rich countries need US$70 billion more to reach the US$100 billion goal of the U.N. Green Climate Fund set up at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. A global agreement on funding poor nations will be essential before reaching any climate change deal at the upcoming U.N. Climate Conference which kicks off Nov. 30 in Paris, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday. “Without any financial commitment, there won’t be an agreement in Paris,” said Hollande at the Sixth Petersberg Climate Dialogue hosted in the German capital of Berlin. —TeleSUR News, 20 May 2015

France is hosting a climate summit this December that’s been billed as the most important gathering on the issue yet, but the country’s leadership is apparently quite skeptical of the UN-led process. This December’s summit is just the latest iteration of a decades-old movement to conjure up an international response to climate change, but the quest for a binding Global Climate Treaty has proven itself quixotic over the years. –Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, 29 May 2015

The news that a group of European oil majors wants to open negotiations with governments about the creation of a global carbon tax has all the hallmarks of a public relations campaign. In the crony capitalist European capitals, kudos can be won by playing along with the green agenda, in the clear knowledge that the costs of doing so will be nil. The chances of the developing world shunning fossil fuels in favour of letting their people continue to die prematurely are slim to say the least.
–Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 1 June 2015

Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space. And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies. Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. –Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2015

Industrial group Siemens has resigned itself to never selling another gas turbine in its home country following Germany’s switch to renewable energy, its chief executive said. Joe Kaeser is cutting 1,600 jobs at Siemens’ power and gas division, which has been turned upside down by the fallout from Germany’s decision to accelerate its nuclear exit and promote renewable energy following Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. “The way in which Germany’s energy transition is being handled has made it impossible for us to ever sell our fossil fuel-related products and solutions in Germany,” Kaeser said in an interview published in Siemens’ staff magazine on Thursday. —Reuters, 28 May 2015

In the event that the Paris conference fails to make its nationally determined mitigation pledges legally binding, the EU should abandon or at least delay making its own 40% pledge legally binding. Alternatively, EU leaders could simply agree to make the 40% pledge binding at EU, but not at national levels. Such a soft exit strategy would emulate the EU’s dodgy renewable energy target for 2030 which, while being called a EU-wide and binding target, does not oblige members states to adopt any legally binding renewables targets domestically. ‚ÄìBenny Peiser,  Keynote address to the Solidarno≈õƒá Trade Union Climate Conference, 29 May 2015