- Negotiations pivot to structure of new climate agreement, touching on crux issues
- Search for consensus on how to streamline ‘Geneva’ text continues
- As public interest in speeding clean energy transition swells, fossil fuel industry offers strange rebuke
- Thursday agenda to include pre-2020 climate action
Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician from the 1600’s, once famously opened a letter explaining ‘I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.’ His logic could explain why government negotiators more/less arrived at their Geneva session goal of agreeing a draft negotiating treaty in less time than many expected. Putting a long list of ideas and options on a page is not difficult. Additional progress, on cutting and consolidating those ideas and options, is proving much harder to grasp. Negotiations stayed fairly abstract throughout Wednesday, with the merits of different approaches to streamlining the now 80+ page draft text featuring prominently.
Discussions also focused on the potential structure of the new global climate agreement – touching on some of the crux issues like how to ‘differentiate’ between developed and developing countries obligations, the balance between different elements, and how the agreement might promote cycles of increasing action. Delegates agreed to continue informal discussions on how to streamline Thursday, while formal negotiations pivot back to pre-2020 actions that could bridge the massive gap between what the world’s climate scientists say needs to happen, in order to avoid catastrophic consequences, and what is actually being done.
We interrupt this Daily Tck for a message from our friends in the fossil fuel industry:
‘We know that hundreds of actions are planned around the world for Global Divestment Day later this week, many of which are driven by young people. We also know that Valentines Day and Global Divestment Day are happening at the same time. So we paid a lot of money to create this clever cartoon to convince young people not to break up with us. Please watch.’
The hilarious video linked above is the product of a front group for Big Oil that pushes out specious and inaccurate opposition research on individuals and organizations who fight climate change. We’re including it here because you deserve moments of levity amidst carrying the weight of these very serious issues, and because we take their efforts as a further sign that the fossil fuel industry is threatened by the public’s’ increasing willingness to break up with them in order to save what they truly love.
As final Global Divestment Day preparations – for close to 500 events, in 58 countries spanning 6 continents! – are finalized Thursday, our partners inside the UN climate talks will push governments in the same direction. They will remind governments of the myriad opportunities to end their unhealthy relationship with fossil fuels, scrap coal-fired power stations, increase renewables and improve energy efficiency; all of which could help close the gap between action on the ground and what science demands in the near term. They will also continue tracking developments in the text streamlining process; supporting our collective efforts to ensure the best ideas and options contained in the draft find a permanent home in the new global climate agreement.
News, links & useful grist that caught our eye
One of the issues likely to feature in Thursday’s pre-2020 negotiations is how to leverage the explosion of climate action happening outside of national government policies in order to boost momentum. CliMates’ Clément Bultheel takes stock of how those conversations are progressing in a post on Adopt a Negotiator.
Also from the Trackers, Denise Fontanilla interviews a Jamaican negotiator to better understand the motivations underlying AOSIS’ push for Loss and Damage, and Hongyu Guo summarizes this week’s climate talks for Chinese readers.
Looking beyond Geneva, the next major hurdle in the road to Paris will be each country putting forward their ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDC). We have a pretty good idea of what the EU, US and China will do on the mitigation side, a beefy new policy brief from CEEW helps us get a better picture of what India will can on the table. We also learned that Australia’s Abbott government will delay their INDC until June or July.
We’re just getting news that the leader of the 1.2 billion member Catholic Church clarified on Monday that acts of conservation like taking climate action aren’t about going “green,” they’re about fulfilling the responsibility that comes with being Christian.
While we linked to a few highlights above, you can see more of Geneva’s more play-by-play updates and dig into the issues through the lens of Adopt a Negotiator’s trackers on the ground.
Our friends at the Climate Action Network International are publishing daily ECO newsletterslaying out their case to negotiators.
IISD’s reporting service is publish daily summaries and photos here.