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9 key reads before the UN Climate Talks begin next week

By November 28, 2018 No Comments

The UN Climate Talks are less than a week away, and are being hailed as “the most important climate talks since Paris” in 2015.

If you’re following the talks, here are 9 quick updates you’ll need to know before the big climate circus starts:

1. Polish Propaganda

Poland is getting ready to host the talks, and has just made 2 really bad PR moves. The first was to release this horrendous propaganda video. We first heard about the video from our newest Polish tracker, Gabriela Łazarczyk, who covered it in Polish media . 

The second bad move was to announce big-time coal companies PGE and Tuaron as key Conference partners. Add to that list PGNiG (natural gas) and we’ve almost got all the key polluting energy sectors covered.

2. Brazil takes backwards step before Bolsonaro

Brazil is the new “Trump” for Environmental reporters. Already this week there has been news that Amazonian deforestation is up to its highest levels in a decade.

Today, they vowed to pull-out of hosting next year’s climate talks. – only 2 months since they confirmed. This opens up the door for other potential hosts; Colombia, Mexico or Costa Rica, but isn’t the best news ahead of an already stressful meeting.

3. EU moves towards Carbon Nuetral goal

While Poland is busy tarnishing its PR, the rest of Europe is making some strong moves before the climate talks begin.

This week Europe’s Climate Commissioner Arias Canete called for a renewed push towards a net-zero carbon goal by 2050.  

Today that push was confirmed with a net-zero target outlined for the EU.

At the same time, Hungary offered a big boost to those wondering about Eastern European push-back, as it announced that it would be decomissioning its last coal plant. Our newest Hungarian tracker, Annamaria Lehoczky covered it here.

4. Indonesians are protesting new Fossil Fuel plants

A key negotiating country that is often overlooked is facing some domestic pressure to abandon its coal expansion plans.  Our Indonesian Tracker, Hans Nicholas Jong covered the protest, and will be keeping a close eye on the Indonesian negotiators throughout COP24.

5. Vulnerable Countries make progressive calls to action

Vulnerable countries have taken the offensive in the lead up to COP24, hosting their own #VirtualClimateSummit, with key heads of state from Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands.

During the summit, the Marshall Islands submitted the first revised national climate action pledge since Paris, and Vanuatu announced plans to to sue fossil fuel companies for their culpable destruction.

The Philippines followed suit, with controversial President Duterte calling on developed countries for more “help”. This story was picked up by Filipina Climate Tracker Jhesset O. Enano.

Our youngest tracker, Mai Hoang was a disappointed that her country, Vietnam, didn’t take part in the Virtual Climate Summit, and is left wondering if they are really taking climate change seriousy.

6. Countries need to increase ambition - 5 times higher

The annual Emissions Gap report came out today, with some great graphics to back it up. The summary is optimistic, but the response has been the opposite. We are now further away from where we need to be than ever before, and the new numbers on bridging that gap isn’t looking good.

To keep warming below 2C, countries must triple their current efforts. For the more ambitious target of 1.5C, countries must raise ambitions by five times.

Polish tracker Gabriela Łazarczyk highlighted just what this means for the new hosts – and I’m guessing they won’t like her assesment.

7. Handy UN Body Infographic

We love infographics at Climate Tracker, and Anna Perez Catala has made one for everyone going to COP to help them understand some of the tehnical jargon of the UN bodies.

We’ll have plenty more handy infographics to come.

8. WHO and Biodiversity Talks push urgency on Climate conference

The UN Climate talks will also be influenced by other recent environmental conferences, including the Biodiversity talks, and the WHO’s recent summit on air pollution.

Climate Tracker was at the WHO conference, and our trackers Malavika (India), Luz (Madagascar), Meriam (Tunisia) and Maria Julia (Argentina) all covered the conference, and saw it as a much-needed wake-up call before the climate talks.

9. NGOs rocked by controversy

NGOs are vital to the UN Climate talks, but the largest network of climate NGOs has been rocked this week by news of bullying and harrassment from its now suspended leader, Wael Hmaidan .

It is unclear how the Climate Action Network will responsd once everyone arrives in Katowice, but many NGOs will maintain a strong presence at the UN talks, with large-scale protests still planned to go ahead.

Chris Wright

About Chris Wright

Co-founder and Director of Climate Tracker. We’ve inspired 8000+ journalists to report on Climate Change. Based in Borneo. Trail Running convert. Learning Python.