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World leaders mark new highpoint in political momentum as COP21 officially opens

By December 1, 2015 No Comments
  • Heads of state took centre stage in Paris, but it was the world’s most vulnerable that stole the show
  • Public and private sectors have made unprecedented commitments and pledges to boost clean energy technology, help the poorest nations cut emissions, and lower climate risk
  • Backed by people power and political momentum, negotiators are now fully equipped to finalize an ambitious universal climate agreement

After a weekend filled with inspiring calls for climate action around the world, COP21 officially kicked-off at Le-Bourget in Paris on Monday. Over 150 Heads of State attended a leaders summit, eager to show they’re moving in line with the overwhelming shifts toward public demand for a renewable energy-powered and climate resilient world.

Leaders statements and announcements marked a new highpoint in the growing level of political momentum which has been on the rise for years. A coalition of vulnerable country leaders committed to the strongest ever call from UN member states – with a bold call for a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, a complete decarbonization of the global economy, and a limit to global temperature rise of 1.5DegC. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President François Hollande announced a widely anticipated new alliance, inviting over 100 solar-rich countries to facilitate widespread implementation of solar projects and infrastructure.  The US and 18 other countries have pledged to double funds for clean energy research to a total of $20bn over five years, boosting a significant parallel initiative by investors who see opportunity in leading the energy transition. A number of countries also announced contributions totaling US$248 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund.

As the Paris talks transition from bold calls for action and commitments from leaders, back to the challenging work of agreeing on the details of a new global climate deal, negotiations are energized. It remains to be seen whether leaders’ governments will back-up their words by delivering over the next two weeks.

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

Not every country reflected the spirit of this moment in the same way. In the first Fossil of the Day Award for COP21 both New Zealand and Belgium were called out for their climate inaction. For New Zealand, the Fossil was awarded for the hypocrisy it showed when it joined a side-event and urged countries to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies, while at the same time shelling out $80 million dollars to prop up dirty industry. Belgium was shamed by civil society for remaining one of the few EU countries lagging behind on their emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

Lots of organizations live-blogged leaders statements and added context. Coverage in The Carbon Brief, WRI, and Greenpeace EnergyDesk were among those that impressed us most.

A new report from IISD puts the climate finance challenge in context. While developed countries boosted the Least Developed Countries Fund by US$248 million, the report estimates that the cost of all 48 Least Developed Countries implementing their post-2020 climate action plans to be around US$93 billion per year.

The numbers are in from this weekend’s mobilization. 785,000 world citizens marched for the climate this weekend, and another 3.6 million people signed a call for a meaningful agreement, delivered to leaders in Paris today. Combined with today’s public and private sector action, negotiators have a clear mandate to finalize an ambitious universal climate agreement.

Resources

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.

Our Tree team pulled together an alert with key quotes, and links for Monday’s Leaders Summit.

Our friends at the Climate Action Network International hosted a press conference shared the latest numbers from the global climate marches and dug into specifics of what they hope to see in the Paris agreement. They’re also publishing daily ECO newsletters, laying out their case to negotiators. Monday’s version gave a great overview of the network’s key asks.

CAN France and CAN US hosted press conferences offering up regional perspectives on the Leaders Summit. WWF reacted to Xi Jingping’s speech and what this meeting means for China. WEDO outlined red lines for women.

We’ve got some great social graphics to help highlight some of the main comments from world leaders at Le Bourget today. You can find a host of graphics on flickr.

To get a better sense of the atmosphere in Le-Bourget, IISD’s reporting service has a number of high-quality images. We’re also uploading video and photos to our COP21 hub, including a video summary of from today’s Fossil of the Day award.

The most useful hashtag for tracking the negotiations in real-time is #COP21 Other hashtags to track and promote are: #KeepItInTheGround #Go100RE #Paris2015 #COP21 #1o5C#go100percent.

We’ll join the conversation on twitter via @tcktcktck and via our Climate Trackers.

We’ll also keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org.

AAN Editors

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