paris dispatch 7

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Dear Jim,

The endgame approaches. Negotiators at the UN climate talks in Paris now have just hours left to find a global consensus on a new climate change deal. Despite the REMAINING STICKING POINTS the mood is still upbeat for a deal. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said on Friday that he was “ENCOURAGED” BY PROGRESS.

” I have been attending many difficult multilateral negotiations, but by any standard, this negotiation is most complicated, most difficult, but most important for humanity . . . I am urging and appealing to all the state parties to take the final decision for humanity. ”

Our team of reporters at the summit are feeding into a live blog which will run throughout today. You can READ LIVE UPDATES HERE.

Yours Sincerely,
James Randerson, assistant national news editor

Friday’s reading list:

*__PARIS DEAL IS ‘CLOSE TO THE LINE’ BUT TALKS SET TO OVERRUN

*__NEW DRAFT TEXT OF THE DEAL CUTS THROUGH KEY STICKING POINTS

*__VIDEO: THE AMAZONIAN TRIBESPEOPLE WHO SAILED DOWN THE SEINE

*__PODCAST: CLIMATE TALKS TURN UP THE HEAT ON WORLD LEADERS

 

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paris dispatch 6

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Dear Jim,

It is crunch time in the UN climate talks in Paris. We had the diplomats wrangling last week but now the politicians have taken up the baton and with only the next day and a half to go, countries are going to have to make their mind up what they want and what they are prepared to sacrifice.

On Wednesday afternoon THE FRENCH HOSTS PUBLISHED A DRAFT OF THE FINAL NEGOTIATING TEXT. It’s a bit shorter, there are many fewer brackets ( points of disagreement that are still unresolved ), but all the core sticking points remain unresolved. Last night the countries met in plenary to give their reactions, and today there will have to be movement if there is to be a deal.

The good news, especially for poor countries, is that the new text now includes the figure of 1.5C as one of three options for a target rise in temperatures ( THIS PIECE BY MY COLLEAGUE ADAM VAUGHAN explains what impacts are likely to be associated with each extra degree of rise ). The other options of ” 2C ” and ” under 2C ” are still there but it does suggest that the pressure put on countries by development groups, churches, the media and others to be ambitious has paid off. It’s another matter whether that is the final figure agreed.

Finance to help poorer countries to adapt to climate change will be a major issue and the text recognizes the $100bn figure promised by 2020, but indicates that this is just a starting point. Although no ongoing figure is given.

Equally, the thorny issue of loss and damage ( what some poor countries see as compensation for climate impacts ) is in the text but with no new language around it. That probably means that no-one is prepared to compromise yet.

As I write this around 400 people from environment and development groups are inside the centre demonstrating that they want countries to be ambitious. The cry is ” 1.5 to stay alive “.

The next 24 hours will decide if there is to be a deal. There will have to be compromises made but by lunchtime we should have the bones of a final agreement. Then there will be long plenary sessions, possibly another text, and a deal possibly on Friday night or Saturday morning.

It could all go wrong but the mood here is positive. Whether they can now find a way through the labyrinth of alternatives and brackets is another matter.

Yours Sincerely,
John Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian

Thursday reading list:

*__DELEGATES WARN OF FLAWS IN AMBITIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DEAL

*__ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AT LOUVRE OIL PROTEST

*__SAUDI ARABIA ACCUSED OF TRYING TO WRECK CLIMATE DEAL

*__£352bn INVESTORS’ COALITION LAUNCHED TO PUSH CLEAN ENERGY

*__MARCH TOWARDS A GREEN FUTURE LIKE TERMINATOR, SAYS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

 

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paris dispatch 5

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Dear Jim,

Here in Paris, negotiators are feeling the heat. As the conference enters its final crucial week, ministers are arriving, greeted by young volunteers from local neighborhoods, electrified transport and recycled art.

Negotiators were working into the early hours over the weekend to produce a 48 page draft agreement. Published on Saturday, it was 252 pages shorter than at this point during the disastrous Copenhagen talks in 2009. But within the agreement lie more than 900 square brackets, signifying areas of disagreement.

Laurent Fabius, president of COP21 and the French foreign minister, summed up the challenge ahead:

” We’re talking about life itself . . . I intend to muster the experience of my entire life to the service of success for next Friday, ” he told the conference.

But many developing countries are now worried about parts of the agreement, which they say could put pressure on them to provide climate finance, alongside rich nations. Some even say that the text is an attempt to change the UN’s convention itself.

So can the negotiators find the right compromises, delete the brackets and come to a consensus by 6pm on Friday ?

We’ll be here to find out.

With hope,
Emma Howard and the Guardian team in Paris

Here’s today’s reading list:

*__RUSSIA PLEDGES NOT TO STAND IN THE WAY OF PARIS CLIMATE DEAL

*__PARIS CLIMATE TALKS YIELD FIRST DRAFT AMID AIR OF OPTIMISM

*__ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER SAYS CLIMATE CAMPAIGNS NEED TO FOCUS ON ” RIGHT NOW ” NOT 2050

*__COALITION OF BUSINESS LEADERS CHALLENGES 2C CLIMATE CHANGE TARGET

*__THE KEY PLAYERS AT THE CLIMATE PARIS SUMMIT

 

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paris dispatch 4

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Dear Jim,

At the end of the first week of the talks, there are still huge divisions between countries on all the key points. The French formally take over running the meeting on Saturday when negotiators hand over the text of what they’ve managed to agree so far. At the moment they haven’t agreed very much, DESPITE A MYRIAD OF MEETINGS LASTING LATE INTO THE NIGHT TO TRY TO FIND CONSENSUS ON EACH POINT.

There is a big dispute over whether the agreement should be aiming to limit global warming to 2 degrees, or 1.5 degrees, in line with the latest science, for example. Small island states, at risk of inundation, are digging in on 1.5 degrees, along with other countries. But nations like Saudi Arabia and India are adamant it should not be mentioned. Countries are also at loggerheads over whether all should eventually have to properly report their emissions and track progress towards their national target, something that’s pretty important in an agreement that won’t be legally binding and won’t contain any sanctions. I WROTE ABOUT THIS DISAGREEMENT HERE. 

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, has now appointed a bunch of high level officials to try to crunch agreements before the text is handed over at noon tomorrow. The foreign minsters and other high level officials take over the negotiating for the final, critical week. It’s supposed to be done by next Friday, but these things seldom finish on time . . .

Here’s today’s reading list, with a few extra long reads for the weekend

*__PARIS CLIMATE TALKS: WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL TEMPERATURE RISES REALLY MAKE ?

*__UN ON WRONG TRACK WITH PLANS TO LIMIT GLOBAL WARMING TO 2C, SAYS TOP SCIENTIST

*__THE ‘ RED LINE ‘ ISSUE THAT EXPOSES DEEP DIVISIONS IN THE CLIMATE TALKS

Weekend reading

*__PARIS SUMMIT: THE CLIMATE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN

*__THE MEKONG RIVER: STORIES FROM THE HEART OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS

*__CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: THE WOMAN TASKED WITH SAVING THE WORLD

Yours Sincerely,
Lenore Taylor, political editor, Guardian Australia

 

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paris dispatch 3

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Dear Jim,

I’m Guardian Australia’s political correspondent, in Paris to cover the climate talks with Guardian reporters from the UK and the United States.

On day 2 most of the 150 world leaders who had spoken to the summit on Monday had gone home, the motorcades were thinning out and the grinding process of actually negotiating the agreement began.

US president Barack Obama was still around though and AT A PRESS CONFERENCE he confirmed the US was happy for one critical part of the deal to be legally binding – the need for each country’s reduction target to be periodically reviewed.

The US can’t agree to the whole deal being legally binding because it would be virtually impossible to get it through the Republican-controlled Congress, but the president’s remarks are important because the targets now on the table would AT BEST HOLD WARMING TO 2.7C – which would still unleash catastrophic climate impacts on low-lying islands and poor countries. Regular reviews hold open the hope that countries do more over time.

Obama also met leaders of some of the low lying island states, recognizing the extreme threat they face from global warming. I WROTE ABOUT THAT MEETING.

The Australian environment minister Greg Hunt was challenged about why he had approved a coal mega-mine proposed by Indian company Adani in Australia with a production so huge the coal mined would create annual emissions greater than New York City. He came up with a whole new “rationale” – that it wasn’t Australia’s mine and Australia wasn’t a “neo-colonialist” power telling poor countries what to do. Yesterday he DOWNPLAYED SUGGESTIONS that the developing countries would be able to amend the purpose of the agreement to keep global warming under 1.5C ( a harder goal than the current 2C ).

Negotiators are saying the initial talks are “bumpy” with deep disagreement over thousands of points. Their job is to hone down the 50-plus page document before handing the running of the talks to the French presidency on the weekend for the final, critical week.

Here’s my reading list from the last two days:

*__PAYPAL FOUNDER AND TECH INTREPRENEUR ELON MUSK SAYS THE WORLD NEEDS A CARBON PRICE

*__WORLD’S RICHEST 10% PRODUCE HALF THE EMISSIONS, SAYS OXFAM REPORT

*__SURVEY REVEALS “GREENWASH” OF SUMMIT SPONSORS

*__HOW BACKCHANNEL TALKS COULD DECIDE FATE OF THE SUMMIT

*__WHY INDIA IS CRUCIAL TO THE TALKS

Yours Sincerely,
Lenore Taylor, political editor, Guardian Australia

 

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paris dispatch 2

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Dear Jim,

I’m out in Paris as part of the team of Guardian correspondents covering the UN climate talks. Yesterday was the big set piece day for speeches by heads of state and government. They were meant to stick to 3 minutes each but of course many spoke for much longer and the speeches carried on well after dark. Barack Obama said the fact the talks were going ahead was an “ACT OF DEFIANCE” following the terrorist attacks 2 weeks ago.

Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, implored countries to come to a deal: “Please, let’s meet on the middle ground, show some flexibility and sense of compromise for the common good. We can’t go on like this. We can’t waste any further time.”

I spent the first two days talking to the heads of the MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPING COUNTRY NEGOTIATING GROUPS and I must say they have rather more faith than I do that they will get a deal. Now that the leaders have jetted out, there are only three days of negotiations left before the politicians arrive and, boy, there are mountains to climb over cuts, long term goals, finance, equity, and the principle that the rich countries should act first and dig deeper because they are responsible for the historical emissions. My feeling now is that there will be a monster collision and rows in a few days time, but then all parties will come to their senses and realise that everyone has to compromise. It will be painful, but it’s the only chance of success.

John Vidal
Environmental Editor

Here’s today’s reading list:

*__FANTASY CLIMATE FOOTBALL: A FOOTY FAN’S GUIDE TO THE PARIS SUMMIT

*__ZUCkERBERG, GATES AND OTHER TECH TITANS FORM CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT COALITION

*__BARACK OBAMA: PARTS OF PARIS CLIMATE DEAL MUST CARRY LEGAL FORCE

*__4C RISE WILL HAVE DIRE EFFECT ON WORLD HUNGER, UN WARNS

*__PARIS TALKS: BEHIND THE SCENES – IN PICTURES

 

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paris dispatch 1

happy to include guardian environment editor’s
daily notes from COP21 paris climate conference
adam vaughan, you sure keep us all onguard

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Dear Jim,

We promised you last week that we’d send regular dispatches from the Paris climate talks. Here is our first from the desk, so to speak. At the email’s end you’ll find my recommended reading list.

I have spent the day editing and watching MORE THAN A HUNDRED WORLD LEADERS PROMISE THE EARTH ON CLIMATE CHANGE. From Barack Obama and Xi Jinping to the heads of tiny Pacific island states, they took the stage in Paris today to tell the world they would act. The rhetoric was lofty, planetary, grave.

“Here in Paris we will decide on the very future of the planet,” said FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE the president of France. “One of the enemies we will be fighting at this conference is cynicism – the presumption that we can’t do anything about climate change,” said US president, Barack Obama. The fact that the climate summit had gone ahead at all WAS AN ACT OF DEFIANCE AGAINST THE TERRORISTS BEHIND THE PARIS ATTACKS OF 13 NOVEMBER. he said. Others talked of ensuring the future of the human race, of leaving a safe planet for future generations. The fight against climate change was a fight for survival, several said.

The sheer number of heads of state in Paris – nearly 150 leaders – bodes well for any climate deal’s prospects. But whether today’s strong rhetoric translates into strong action remains to be seen.

From Tuesday the summit will switch down to the nitty gritty of negotiatiors trying to turn a 50-page text into a deal that 195 countries can agree on, in less that a fortnight. As UN SECRETARY GENERAL BAN KI-MOON put it, the time for brinkmanship is over. “We have never faced such a test. A political momentum like this may not come again.”

Adam Vaughan
Editor, THEGUARDIAN.COM/ENVIRONMENT

Want to find out more about the Paris climate talks? Here’s my essential reading list:

* __THE PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT AT A GLANCE

* __FIONA HARVEY ON CHRISTIANA FIGUERES, THE WOMAN TASKED WITH SAVING THE WORLD

* __SUZANNE GOLDENBERG DELVES INTO THE TALKS’ COLOURFUL HISTORY

* __USE OUR DATA INTERACTIVE TO SEE WHICH COUNTRIES ARE DOING THE MOST IN THEIR CLIMATE PLANS

* __PARIS BY NUMBERS – FROM ONE NEGOTIATING TEXT TO 196 PARTIES

 

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