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Daily Tck: Day two of the UN climate talks in Bonn

The Daily Tck: A daily dispatch from the GCCA team at the UN climate talks in Bonn. Sign up to have them delivered to your inbox during the climate talks.

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Creative Commons: UNFCCC, 2015

  • Japan misses opportunity, approving controversial draft Paris climate plans
  • New reports underscore the costs and impacts of fossil fuel subsidies
  • Two-year expert review concludes with calls for more ambitious long-term goal to limit climate change 

While climate negotiators forged ahead with work on the architecture of the Paris agreement on Tuesday, the words ‘Japan’ and ‘INDC’ were whispered throughout the halls. Cabinet Ministers in Tokyo approved the country’s controversial draft plan to limit emissions reductions in its contribution to the Paris climate deal. Experts who crunched the numbers said it was less ambitious than plans offered by the EU and US, and that more ambition was well within reach. Japan’s solar industry stands on the cusp of global leadership; but the government’s decision to gamble its future with continued investments in coal and nuclear – ignoring the country’s more modern, visionary industries and public opinion – throw that potential leadership into question.

Japan’s weak ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contribution’ (UN parlance for offers that governments will put on the table ahead of the Paris climate talks) will further marginalize the country from its more climate-concerned neighbors. But Japan is not alone in missing-out on the benefits of bold action. A faster transition to 100% renewables means less air pollution and millions of avoided premature deaths. The World Health Organization reiterated that point in a side event Tuesday. It also means jobs. The Solutions Project just released a series of infographics detailing the massive number of jobs that a complete transition to clean energy would create in G7 countries. By their measure, Japan has more than 2 million jobs at stake.

Japan’s misstep underscores the need for Bonn to move us toward ensuring the new climate agreement has a strong ‘ratchet mechanism’ – baking in regular cycles of improvement that ensure all governments’ targets are frequently assessed and revised upward. Climate Nexus joined a number of our partners in helping negotiators better-understand the ratchet-up concept by offering a clear illustration of the need.

Negotiators also heard more about the need for an ambitious long-term goal. In a meeting that summarized the findings of a two-year expert review, governments were presented with  52 slides of overwhelming evidence that an ambitious long-term goal is an essential part of any meaningful future climate agreement.

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

A new report released Tuesday by Oil Change International, Natural Resources Defense Council, and WWF exposed for the first time a web of billions of dollars of public finance flowing to support the coal industry each year by way of export support, development aid and general finance. The report shows that between 2007 and 2014, more than US $73 billion – or over $9 billion a year – in public finance was approved for coal.

Another report presented in Bonn Tuesday showed that between 1980 and 2010, the presence of fossil-fuel subsidies drove 36% of the world’s carbon emissions. The message to governments should be absolutely clear – fossil fuel subsidies are bad.

A piece in The Guardian profiles the quiet march toward renewables underway in South Africa. Although still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, South Africa is creating one of the world’s most progressive alternative energy plans. Solar, biomass and wind energy systems are popping up all over the country and feeding clean energy into the strained electrical grid.

Mexico could also emerge as a renewable energy powerhouse over the next 15 years, according to a major new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency which suggests the country’s renewable energy share could more than quadruple by 2030.

Resources

In light of news that the Pope’s climate encyclical will be released shortly after the Bonn negotiations, the GCCA’s Tree team has shared a podcast from a recent call on how to best communicate the big moment.

The United Planet Faith & Science Initiative is hosting a daily live show from the Bonn negotiations at 10:30CET called Climate Matters. You can watch the show live via UNFCCC webcast, and check out Tuesday’s episode on Divestment here.

Climate Tracker Karl Mathiesen dug deeper into findings of the NRDC, Oil Change, WWF report on coal export subsidies in The Guardian. And Matt Williams took to the pages of our Climate Tracker site to share BirdLife International’s take on biomass, and it’s rating as carbon neutral in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme means lots of emissions are going missing. Look out for more blogs and news stories by Climate Trackers digging into the issues.

Climate Action Network International’s ECO Newsletter digs into the status of work on agriculture and pre-2020 climate action in the negotiations.

Useful hashtags for tracking the negotiations in real-time are #SB42, #ADP2015, and  #UNFCCC.  We’ll join the conversation on twitter via @tcktcktck and @adoptnegotiator.

IISD’s reporting service has high-resolution pictures from Day 2 inside the World Conference Center, and more to come throughout the next two weeks. They also have a detailed overview of Tuesday’s negotiations.

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