In December 2015 immediately following the publication of the COP21 Paris Agreement I wrote a short note on the competing reasons for pessimism and optimism. What follows expands on that theme. I am going to focus on three things: COP21, the confirmation that 2015 has been the warmest year on the instrumental record, and continued reports that coal consumption in China may have peaked. (more…)
The achievements of the Paris Agreement are significant. The contrast with the failure of Copenhagen in 2009 are captured in the following Guardian headlines: Low targets, goals dropped: Copenhagen ends in failure (19th December 2009) and Paris climate change agreement: the world’s greatest diplomatic success (14th December 2015).
The greatest achievement has been in getting all 195 countries committing to a strong level of ambition, to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. This reflects strong recognition of the climate science in these negotiations. (more…)
Something that has become a bit of a tradition at COP’s is the “Fossil of the day” award, run by the Climate Action Network. This is given to a member state that has caught the judge’s attention by doing something particularly unimpressive. On Day 3, for the first time, instead of being awarded to a country, it was given to shipping and aviation (the UN agencies that represent the sectors: IMO and ICAO), for the general lack of progress in their work to date to tackle their GHG emissions and climate impacts. (more…)
There is a sense that COP21 provides for greater optimism than previous climate change conferences. And for good reason. Emission reduction pledges have been made by most, and the largest emitters are for the first time meaningfully engaged. Providing an important backdrop to this are the positive signs of an energy systems transition underway, as renewables investment continues to grow as technology costs fall, and the rate of fossil fuel use growth slows. (more…)
Throughout COP21 our staff and students will be blogging on climate change and energy.
With COP21 upon us I must admit to being a bit of a Framework Convention outsider, which is, perhaps, a bit strange for the editor of Climate Policy Journal. In 1990, as a civil servant I worked, peripherally, on the Berlin Mandate. I was at COP 7 in Marrakech, but at the margins. Some of the 1995 IPCC WG1 report is mine. But mostly I have been outside the COP process looking in. (more…)