US Senate Sends The World A Climate Message

InhofeSen InhofeThe US Senate is sending a clear message to the world’s climate delegates, who are busy prepping for the impending COP21 conference: This legislative body won’t ratify any kind of binding Global Climate Treaty (GCT), so don’t even try. It will not contribute government money to a global climate fund that’s meant to spend $100 billion annually on helping poorer countries mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. This sends yet another powerful message to climate delegates. Even if negotiators stay away from a binding treaty for fear of America’s lack of participation, they won’t be able to entice the developing world to stick to national emissions reductions plans if the carrot in all of this—the climate fund—isn’t being backed by the developed world. —The American Interest, 19 November 2015

Three US senators introduced a resolution Thursday stating their objection to the United Nations climate talks in Paris. “The international community needs to be aware that the U.S. Congress and the American people do not support President Obama’s international climate agenda,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in statement announcing the resolution. The resolution, from Inhofe and Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), says the Senate believes any climate deal reached in Paris will have “no force or effect” in the U.S. unless lawmakers consider it first. –Timothy Cama and Devin Henry, The Hill, 19 November 2015

India will not agree to any proposal at the climate change negotiations that will seek to restrict the use of coal as a source of energy in the near term, a key member of the country’s negotiating team said on Wednesday. “We cannot agree to any proposal that will restrict our ability to generate energy from coal or inhibit our efforts to ensure energy access to all our people in an accelerated manner,” Ajay Mathur, director general of Bureau of Energy Efficiency, told The Indian Express. “There is no looking away from it. Coal is going to remain India’s primary source of electricity generation for some time. We cannot agree to anything that restrains us from using coal,” he said. –Amitabh Sinha, The India Express, 19 November 2015

The French government has banned two planned marches on climate change, timed to coincide with the upcoming global climate talks, citing the recent terror attacks. Marches planned on November 29 and December 12 during the COP-21 international climate talks in Paris will not be authorised for security reasons, the French government says. —Reuters, 19 November 2015

A new coal-fired power plant has opened in Germany a day after an expert commission told the energy minister the country must triple its annual rate of decarbonization to meet its ambitious 2020 climate policy goals. On Thursday in the Hamburg suburb of Moorburg, Hamburg’s mayor Olaf Scholz, a leading figure in Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), stood alongside Magnus Hall, president of Swedish energy utility Vattenfall, and pushed a big button. The button-pushing symbolized Vattenfall’s ceremonial opening of a 1,600 Megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant that had been under construction for eight years ‚Äì despite heated opposition from Germany’s greens, who want the country to exit from coal altogether. —Deutsche Welle, 19 November 2015

A survey conducted in four countries has revealed that most young people lack awareness about the challenges posed by climate change. It added that those who knew about it showed a degree of scepticism about a solution. The report titled ‘Climate Action: Youth Voices’, which was released on Thursday, collates the views of about 1,000 people from 18 to 30 years of age in India, Vietnam, the United Kingdom and Italy. Ms. Tomar said that of the about 500 people surveyed in India, “around 75 per cent” lacked awareness about climate change. Prof Hibberd, head of Communications, Media and Culture at Stirling, added that with social media the level of awareness among the youth should have been greater. —The Hindu, 20 November 2015