Climate Negotiators Give Up On Enforceable Paris Deal

cartoonFor all their efforts to get 200 governments to commit to the toughest possible cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, climate negotiators have all but given up on creating a way to penalise those who fall short. The overwhelming view of member states, says Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, is that any agreement “has to be much more collaborative than punitive” ‚Äì if it is to happen at all. To critics, the absence of a legal stick to enforce compliance is a deep – if not fatal – flaw in the Paris process, especially after all countries agreed in 2011 that an agreement would have some form of “legal force”. —EurActiv, 12 October 2015

The UN climate negotiations are heading for failure and need a major redesign if they are to succeed, scientists say. The pledges that individual countries are offering ahead of the Paris climate summit in December are too entrenched in self interest instead of being focussed on a common goal. –Rebecca Morelle, BBC News, 12 October 2015

Ahead of the crucial climate summit in Paris, India on Friday said developed nations are “historically responsible” for global warming and must do “justice” to the developing countries by delivering on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) promised by them to deal with climate change. “Green Climate Fund is only talked about (and) not materialised. (The) Developed world has committed itself $100 billion per year by 2020. It has to be paid by the developed world to developing nations,” environment minister Prakash Javadekar told PTI here. “Therefore, we are saying that unless there is credible action … and even French Francois Hollande has said if there is no clear progress on Finance, Paris (talks) may fail,” Javadekar said. —Press Trust of India, 9 October 2015

With just a little over a month and a half left to go until the world’s next big climate summit kicks off in Paris, every indication is that we won’t be getting a binding international treaty, much to the chagrin of the green movement. That leaves us with a treaty focused more on “good vibes” than lasting policy changes, and, while that approach may be familiar to many greens, it has to be seen as a setback for a modern environmental movement that has invested so much in this quixotic GCT endeavor. The best-case scenario for Paris is the production of a kind of eco-version of the Kellogg-Briand Pact—a fact that’s long been evident but is just now starting to feel real for greens. —The American Interest, 12 October 2015

The energy landscape in Southeast Asia continues to shift as rising demand, constrained domestic production and energy security concerns lead to a greater role for coal, a sharp rise in the region’s dependence on oil imports and the reversal of its role as a major gas supplier to international markets.  The  International Energy Agency’s Special Report on Southeast Asia presents a central scenario in which Southeast Asia’s energy demand increases by 80% in the period to 2040, though the region’s per-capita energy use remains well below the global average. Despite policies aimed at scaling up the deployment of renewable resources, the share of fossil fuels in the region’s energy mix increases to around 80% by 2040, in stark contrast to the declining trend seen in many parts of the world. —International Energy Agency, 8 October 2015

Germany has long led the way in global green energy innovation. But ahead of UN climate talks this December, some say the country’s new reliance on coal means it has lost the moral high ground on emissions. Germany generated 44 per cent of its electricity from coal last year, more than any other EU member state. That compares with 26 per cent from renewables and 16 per cent from its eight remaining nuclear plants. This coal renaissance is undermining the government’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and casting doubt on Germany’s green credentials. In 2013, German emissions rose by 1.2 per cent, defying a decade-long downward trend. Germany now looks set to miss its voluntary target of a 40 per cent reduction in emissions on 1990 levels by 2020. –Josie Le Blond, Financial Times, 13 October 2015