- Saudi Arabia stands out for role blocking ambition in the Paris agreement
- Finance and other unresolved cross-cutting issues limit progress to the margins of key issues
- Loss & Damage and Pre-2020 ambition appear to move in positive direction
Friday began with a new version of the draft Paris agreement, capturing more progress on the margins of core issues and shrinking the text from 50 to 46 pages. The co-chairs leading the process also published a separate document with ‘bridge proposals’ that could further consolidate options in the draft; setting the stage for ministers to take over starting Saturday.
Frustrations and anger are pointed squarely at Saudi Arabia for blocking progress across multiple issues. We hear they’re pushing the Arab Group to stop privately or publically acknowledging calls, led by vulnerable countries, to strengthen the Paris agreement’s long-term goal from limiting warming at 2ºC temperature rise, to a safer limit of 1.5ºC. The Kingdom’s negotiators are also resisting the text on ‘shifting the trillions’ within the finance section and have blocked the results of a major scientific review supporting the need for a stronger long-term goal. Saudi Arabia’s negotiators’ efforts seem to be dividing the Arab Group’s members, with leadership from Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan pulling in the other direction; while embarrassing their nation and the Royal Family.
Discussions on regular cycles to review and improve countries’ climate action plans are challenging. On the review, Africa, AILAC, Mexico and the EU are pushing for strong ambition. Others, China among them, are attempting to water it down. China, India, and the Arab group have asked that ‘5 years’ is bracketed and references were cut from other areas.
The picture on Loss & Damage looks more positive than it did Wednesday. We’re also hearing good things from partners who are focused on aspects of the deal that could boost Pre-2020 climate ction.
All of the substantive issues – related to transparency, cycles of ramping up action, Loss & Damage, and Pre-2020 climate action – remain hindered by a lack of clarity and confidence that finance will be delivered as promised by developed countries.
There’s been a massive effort by our partners to defend provisions on human rights, gender equality, a just transition and other important issues under attack. Thursday’s ‘bridging proposal’ text suggests moving the issues from the operative part of the agreement into the preamble, where they wouldn’t be binding. The effort appears to be driven by Norway, the US, and… wait for it… Saudi Arabia.
Another draft of the Paris agreement is due out Saturday morning, with negotiators expected to hand the results of their work up to ministers in the afternoon. Our partners are hopeful that ministers can recapture some of the momentum expressed by Heads of State earlier this week.
News, links & useful grist that caught our eye
It was a big day for actions at Le Bourget. With finance remaining a key sticking point, youth and NGO representatives welcomed negotiators to the conference with a push to#StopFundingFossils. The G20 countries alone spend over $450 billion dollars a year on production subsidies for fossil fuels.
CARE handed out small paper mache ducks to delegates reminding them not to duck the adaptation problem. Following Wednesday’s Fossil of the Day going to the IMO and ICAO, a very conspicuous group of animals raised the issue of aviation and shipping emissions being the ‘elephants in the room.’
Ahead of a major conference on climate and health Saturday, HEAL organized a group of public health advocates from five continents to lay out the case for co-benefits of climate action on the sidelines of the negotiations. According to Dr Patrick Bouet, a health expert involved in the effort:
“Climate change is above all a question of public health. Doctors are in the front-line in responding to the harm from climate turmoil. We have a privileged position and a moral duty to protect and promote the population’s health. An imperative is to appeal to professional medical organizations to call on local politicians to limit emissions in our towns.”
On the margins of the negotiating halls, 15 countries join an effort to press for action at the nexus of ocean and climate issues – dubbed #BecausetheOcean on social media. The group – announced plans to work on an ocean action plan under the UNFCCC starting in 2016.
Green TV broke pulled together an excellent piece explaining how the financial sector is responding to a world ready to tackle climate change, and the implications for investors. You can find their COP21-relevant videos and photos on The Tree’s media hub, which also includes a host of great pictures and social graphics for you to help share your story from inside the COP.
With investors at COP21 in force, our Tree Alerts team wrote a brief on how ‘Smart money moves to renewables; all eyes on governments for next move‘ In addition to a quick breakdown and talking points, the brief is full of useful quotes and resources.
On the press conference front, NRDC hosted a conversation with India’s government delegation, shining a light on some shifts in India’s position on the proposed regular review of national climate action plans. WWF was joined by 350.org and CAN France condemning the an oil and gas initiative in the Lima-Paris Action Agenda. The US Climate Action Network and CAN International help press conferences on the state of play.
As we finish week one and head into higher-level talks where big pieces might start moving, you might find ChristianAid’s briefing summary on what Paris needs to deliver useful.
If you’re in Paris, join our Daily Tck meeting in Observer room 7. If not, you can tune in live online. The Daily Tck meeting is a chance for civil society actors from across the UNFCCC to gather intelligence, share tactics and ignite collaboration. You can also sign-up for our COP21 mailing list, where we’ll share meeting notes and resources. Catch the live-stream here.
The Climate Action Network is publishing daily ECO newsletters, laying out their case to negotiators.
There’s a slew of quality blogs on with updates from inside the negotiations from our Climate Trackers. Our Paris team is also writing for newspapers around the world. You can find some of those stories via their twitter group.
We’ll also keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org.