In less than a week, world leaders will convene in Glasgow for the most important climate conference of the year, the United Nations’ COP26. One of the biggest questions of the conference is whether developed countries like the U.S. will finally cough up the rest of the money they promised to poorer nations a decade ago to help them cut emissions and adapt to climate change. But as the conference draws near, the paucity of funding isn’t the only thing drawing the ire of developing countries and breeding distrust. Last week, a coalition of 24 developing nations that work together on international negotiations issued a statement criticizing rich countries for proselytizing a universal goal of net-zero by 2050. “This new ‘goal’ which is being advanced runs counter to the Paris Agreement and is anti-equity and against climate justice,” the statement from the ministers of the Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) Ministerial said.
The 2021 Production Gap Report, first published in 2019, measures the gap between governments’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas and the global production levels consistent with meeting the Paris Agreement temperature limits. But two years later, the 2021 report finds the production gap mostly unchanged. In fact, over the next two decades, governments are collectively projecting an increase in global oil and gas production, and only a small decrease in coal production. Taken together, their plans and projections see global, total fossil fuel production increasing until at least 2040, creating an ever-widening gap. “The devastating impacts of climate change are here for all to see. There is still time to limit long-term warming to 1.5°C, but this window of opportunity is rapidly closing,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
Brussels - Fear of multi-billion-euro lawsuits from fossil fuel investors is putting the Paris agreement on climate change at risk, one of the deal's architects has warned. Compensation claims from a pact that allows companies to sue countries over policies that affect their investments could amount to more than a trillion euros by 2050, according to one estimate. The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) was originally drawn up to protect energy firms as the Soviet Union crumbled, but new analysis suggests it could allow coal plants in 54 signatory states to keep belching carbon dioxide for more than a decade. "The integrity of the Paris agreement is critically undermined by the Energy Charter Treaty," said Laurence Tubiana, the French climate change ambassador during negotiations for the Paris agreement.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 as part of its commitment to the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change. Biden’s announcement came during the administration’s virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, which aimed to push climate action around the world. A key goal of the summit was “to keep a limit to warming of 1.5 degree Celsius within reach.” A 2018 special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global greenhouse gas emissions need to drop by 50 percent by 2030 to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But Biden’s emissions pledge will not do enough to reach this goal, according to an analysis by Climate Action Tracker, a scientific organization that measures governmental climate action.
For the Biden administration to meet its long-term target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the United States must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 60% below 2005 levels by 2030, according to a new report released Thursday. In its analysis (pdf), Climate Action Tracker (CAT) found that in order for the U.S. to do its fair share to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C by the end of the century—the goal of the Paris Agreement—the country must slash at least 57% to 63% of its emissions by the end of the decade and provide financial support to developing nations striving to transition away from climate-destroying fossil fuels. Having officially rejoined the Paris Agreement earlier this year, the Biden administration is currently preparing to unveil a new domestic emissions reduction target, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
The United States officially rejoined the Paris Agreement Friday, with climate envoy John Kerry warning that high-stakes negotiations at COP 26 in Glasgow this fall represent the “last, best hope” to avert catastrophic climate change. “This is a significant day, a day that never had to happen,” Kerry said. “It’s so sad that our previous president, without any scientific basis or any legitimate economic rationale, decided to pull America out. It hurt us and it hurt the world.” Now, he added, the U.S. is re-entering the landmark 2015 accord “with a lot of humility, for the agony of the last four years”. The expression of “contrition” from the Biden administration is “balanced by a desire to resume the mantle of leadership at a time when almost every country is struggling to undertake the swift emissions cuts required to avert disastrous global heating of 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era, as outlined in the Paris deal,” The Guardian writes.
Future climate scenarios are not only in the hands of state and corporate leaders; they depend upon the extent to which climate movement activists’ current political philosophies, analyses, strategies, tactics, and alliances either weaken or strengthen the prevailing balance of forces. The most important barrier to reducing climate change remains Washington’s philosophy, crudely expressed in 1992 when President George H. W. Bush told the Rio Earth Summit, “The American way of life is not up for negotiations” (Deen 2012). In the same spirit, the Donald Trump administration removed the US from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement in June 2017 on the grounds that compliance will be too expensive for the world’s largest economy (Trump 2017).
The executive, Shell’s Chief Climate Change Adviser David Hone, made his comments at the international climate change conference COP 24 on Friday. Hone was candid about just how much of a hand his company — through their involvement with the International Emissions Trading Association — had in writing the Paris agreement. The agreement is the centerpiece of the conference in Poland, where delegates are trying to draft a rulebook for how to implement it. IETA is a business lobby comprised of corporations including fossil fuel producers that pushes for “market-based climate solutions,” including at United Nations climate talks.
By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News - President Donald Trump may be yanking the United States from the Paris climate agreement, but states, cities and businesses are filling the vacuum by making their own commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and the numbers are mounting. On Monday, more than 1,000 companies and institutions, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 businesses, signed onto a statement—"We Are Still In"—saying they're committed to meeting the Paris targets. The statement calls Trump's decision "a grave mistake that endangers the American public and hurts America's economic security and diplomatic reputation." By Tuesday, the coalition's numbers had climbed past 1,400. A dozen states that together represent the world's third-largest economy and more than 200 cities had also committed to the Paris accord through various coalitions. In the wake of Trump's decision to leave the Paris climate agreement, the world's biggest economies denounced the move and insisted they would remain in the pact. While the president claimed he would contemplate a renegotiation of a deal that "puts America first," the UN and several U.S. allies said renegotation isn't in the cards. Many Americans are not wavering, either.
By Tim DeChristopher for Truthout - As we are barraged with constant bad news about climate science and climate politics at the national and global level, the US climate movement has really important opportunities to hold our ground and build momentum through local and state level actions. When Donald Trump announced last week that he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreements, 211 city mayors and 10 state governors immediately responded by committing to upholding their end of the bargain. The speed of that response is a testament to the critical value of the local climate organizing that has already been done across the country. This opening for political leadership adds to the many ways that the struggle against global climate change is fought on local turf. The fight against fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction has always been centered on local organizing. The fight against fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction has always been centered on local organizing. Countless communities have fought off power plants, pipelines, fracking, drilling, mining, export facilities and compressor stations.
By Staff of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance - While the accord was far from what the planet needs, Trump's reckless decision underscores a key overarching issue with the Paris Agreement in the first place. When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, we put out this report entitled "We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line: Frontline Communities Lead the Climate Justice Fight Beyond the Paris Agreement." We laid out 5 key concerns in the report. Our number one concern (see page 6) with the agreement was “The Agreement relies on voluntary versus mandatory emission cuts that do not meet targets scientists say are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.” Trump’s withdrawal is a clear example that voluntary pledges are not enough. “Donald Trump is showing us the art of breaking a deal,” says Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “By abandoning the Paris Agreement, this administration will further perpetuate environmental racism and climate injustice against Indigenous peoples experiencing the worst effects of climate change across the globe. We’ve stated before that the Paris Agreement falls short of embracing the sort of climate solutions that lift up human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples.
By James P. Hare for Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - With Trump’s decision to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he has put an end to months of apparent indecision. This withdrawal does not dissolve the agreement, which still includes nearly every nation on the planet, but it is hard to imagine how an already weak agreement can be expected to slow—not to mention reverse—greenhouse gas emissions without the participation of the United States. Seeing this decision as anything other than a nail in the coffin of the global climate regime is nothing but wishful thinking. For an administration that has promoted a seemingly unending series of bad policies—from healthcare to immigration to militarism to the unceasing transfer of wealth from working people to the wealthy—this may be its worst. When future generations look back at the harm done by this president, they may remember this as his greatest crime. This is not to minimize the damage of his other policies or of the racism, xenophobia, and misogyny that drove his campaign and brought him into the White House, but climate change is the ultimate issue. It will affect everyone while exacerbating existing inequalities, and we only have one chance to get it right.
By Lauren McCauley of CommonDreams. Following Trump's Thursday announcement, world leaders from China to Germany to the Marshall Islands and beyond promised to uphold the climate accord while citizens and civil society from across the globe vowed to "harness public outrage into meaningful on-the-ground action" to combat the crisis of climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Friday that European leaders "will band together to take more decisive action than ever to confront and successfully surmount major challenges to humanity such as climate change." Merkel called Trump's withdrawal "highly regrettable, to put it very mildly," but added: "This decision cannot and will not stop those of us who feel obligated to protect our earth."
By John Zangas for DC Media Group. Dozens of speakers, including leaders of think tanks, former government officials, and representatives from environmental groups converged on the White House Thursday afternoon to criticize President Donald Trump for his decision to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump’s decision to rescind the US endorsement of the Accord was seen as a set back to collective efforts to curb climate change. The Paris Climate Accord was signed in December, 2015 by 195 countries, and was heralded as a first step towards reducing climate change inducing gases. The US now joins a short list of two countries that did not endorse the accord, namely Syria and Nicaragua. The accord provides for five year incremental reviews and adjustments to keep up with sciencetific developmets as more is learned from the evolving climate situation. It also provides a means of gradually weening civilization off carbon based fuels. One by one speakers railed against Trump’s decision, calling it a “head in the sand” and “climate change denier’s” response on behalf of fossil fuel industry interests.