China Accused Of Blocking Progress At Paris Climate Talks

ftChinese negotiators at UN talks in Paris are being accused of trying to weaken the new global climate accord due to be finalised by Friday. “It is very frustrating,” said one negotiator from a developed country after a meeting where he said Chinese officials had tried to water down efforts to create a common system for the way countries report to the UN on their carbon dioxide emissions and climate change plans. China is supporting a general stocktaking review of countries’ pledges every five years but wants any updating of the carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets contained in these plans to be voluntary, this envoy said. –Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 9 December 2015

China was applauded by greens in the run-up to Paris for its high-profile (and widely reported) eco-friendly overtures, but now that delegates are actually sitting down to hammer out a deal, they’re being reminded that these talks have little to do with morality or some deep abiding love for Gaia. Even when mouthing green pieties, states come at issues like this as cynically as they come at everything else. While greens might have been able to kid themselves into believing the world was on track for some sort of breakthrough in Paris, the core calculus hasn’t changed, and a deal therefore isn’t in the offing. Not only that, but judging by the summit’s progress so far, it seems the three secondary objectives may be dead in the water, as well. —The American Interest, 8 December 2015

At the juncture when developed countries have joined hands to demand practically an end to the principle of differentiation in the Paris agreement,  the  BASIC  countries, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa came together to demand that the new pact must necessarily be stitched under the existing UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In a language that showed there was no reconciliation with the developed countries on the fundamental demands or red-lines so far, the four countries said, “ambition and effectiveness of the agreement will be underpinned by operationalizing differentiation between developed and developing countries in each element of the agreement.” –Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 8 December 2015

Environment Secretary Liz Truss today defended the Government’s near ¬£6billion spend on tackling climate change abroad, despite it being more than double the amount being spent on flood defences in Britain. The Tory minister yesterday told MPs devastating floods in Cumbria over the weekend were likely to be linked to global climate change. Amid the misery, the Government has come under pressure after it emerged spending on flood defences was cut by 14 per cent this year. And critics have also been left wondering why billions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash is being handed over to foreign countries for their own efforts in combating climate change when it dwarfs spending on the UK’s flood defences. –Greg Heffer, Daily Express, 9 December 2015

Prior to 2009, I felt that supporting the IPCC consensus on climate change was the responsible thing to do. I bought into the argument: “Don’t trust what one scientist says, trust what an international team of a thousand scientists has said, after years of careful deliberation.” That all changed for me in November 2009, following the leaked Climategate emails, that illustrated the sausage making and even bullying that went into building the consensus. I came to the growing realization that I had fallen into the trap of groupthink. I had accepted the consensus based on 2nd order evidence: the assertion that a consensus existed. I began making an independent assessment of topics in climate science that had the most relevance to policy. –Judith Curry, Testimony to the US Senate Commerce Committee, Climate Etc., 8 December 2015