Paris Climate Poker

timesBehind closed doors as ministers and their negotiators met countries and groups of countries turned candid at the Paris climate change summit. The surprises were unlimited and contentions of countries and groups far from what they speak in public. At the same time news emerged of heads of states of different countries coming back in to the picture ‚Äì working the phone lines from their respective countries to make political bargains. –Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 7 December 2015

Delegates meet again in Paris this week for the final five days of negotiations to reach an international deal to cap global warming, painfully aware that much work remains to be done. France has repeatedly asked for delegates to speed up the talks. The plan was that most technical discussions should be over by now. But the wish of Fabius to only have political directions to discuss at this point seems unlikely to be granted as the new 48 pages text is way too long, and leaves many issues open. — Aline Robert, EurActiv, 7 December 2015

India is formally not willing to show its hand at this juncture. Asked about the growing momentum towards the 1.5 degree limit and India’s stand on the issue, Javadekar said, “If you want to freeze (temperature rise) as of now at 0.8 degree celsius, you may do it. Why do you go for 1.5 degree celsius limit? But then you will have to allow the development space, vacate the carbon space (for developing countries). You (mostly the rich world) have already consumed 2,000 Gt. There is no scope now. So, should all (countries) stop (emitting) now? No. Developing countries will grow.” –Vishwa Mohan, Times of India, 8 December 2015

Scientists are divided over whether the profusion of extreme weather that has hit Britain over the past few years is a product of climate change or natural variation. The question is not just academic: for the civil servants tasked with marshalling the country’s flood defences, it is a matter of life and death. Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist at the Met Office, skirted controversy yesterday by claiming that “all the evidence” pointed to climate change as a factor behind Storm Desmond. Thorsten Wagener, professor of water and environmental engineering at the University of Bristol, said that it was simply too hard to know how much to factor in climate change and other shifts when calculating flood risk. “While there are indications that we see increasing extreme rainfall events in the UK, it is difficult to know how much of this change results from climate change,” he said. –Oliver Moody, Paul Simons and David Brown, The Times, 8 December 2015

Way back in June, John Christy and I called 2015 as being the warmest year on record…in the surface thermometer data. Given the strong El Nino in progress, on top of the official thermometer data warming trend, this seemed pretty obvious. Of course, everyone has their opinions regarding how good the thermometer temperature trends are, with periodic adjustments that almost always make the present warmer or the past colder. But I’m not going there today… Instead, I’m going to talk about our only truly global dataset: the satellite data. With the November 2015 data now in, it’s pretty clear that in our UAH analysis 2015 will only be the 3rd warmest year since the satellite record began in 1979. Roy Spencer, 3 December 2015

A very odd thing happened last weekend. The death was announced of the man who, in the past 40 years, has arguably been more influential on global politics than any other single individual. Yet the world scarcely noticed. Had it not been for Maurice Strong, we would not last week have seen 150 heads of government joining 40,000 delegates in Paris for that mammoth climate conference: the 21st such get-together since, in 1992, he masterminded the Rio “Earth Summit”, the largest political gathering in history. Yet few people even know his name. But the wonderful irony is that the reason why Paris will fail, like Copenhagen before it, is that those “developing countries”, led by China and India ‚Äì now the world’s first and third largest “CO2 emitters” ‚Äì have not the slightest intention of curbing their emissions. It is for the West to do that, for creating “the problem”. Thus, just as he died, Strong’s dream is more than ever falling apart ‚Äì thanks to those very countries his socialist vision was intended to help. –Christopher Booker, The Sunday Telegraph, 6 December 2015