Paris Daily Digest - Dec 1: Process for Strengthening targets over time is a key issue at play

French President Hollande touring Green Zone.jpg

Below is the update from December 1 from the climate negotiations in Paris. Check-out the picture of French President Francois Hollande and Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology touring the NGO pavilion.

Process for Strengthening targets over time is a key issue at play

One of the critical issues for the Paris agreement is when countries will need to come back for another high-level political moment to reevaluate their targets (this is one of the priorities for NRDC and other groups). Most countries have announced targets through 2030 (with the US, Brazil, and Mexico the exception). These targets don't yet put us on a safer climate trajectory of holding temperature increases to less than 3.6°F [2 deg Celsius] . That is why it is critical that countries create a process to help ensure that these targets are the floor, not the ceiling for ambition for the next 15 years. There are three dynamics at play:

(1) Before countries formally lock-in their next round of targets will they be formally "reviewed" by countries to determine if they are as strong as they should be? This is often termed the "review" or "ex-ante review".

(2) When will there be another political moment where countries need to reevaluate their targets and potentially commit to do more? This is often called the "global stock take" as it is another political moment when you evaluate how we are doing on a 2°C trajectory. NRDC, other NGOs, and some countries have been pushing for such a stocktake no later than 2020.

(3) How frequently will that "re-evaluation" (or global stock take) occur? Most countries have agreed to a "5-year cycle" of further strengthening their target, but it matters when that first one starts since if we lock-in the current efforts through 2030 it becomes very hard to put us on a less than 2°C trajectory.

More countries are supporting starting the "re-evaluation" or "Global Stock Take" in 2020

In the leaders statements more countries announced 2020 as another critical moment to re-evaluate targets. For example, German Chancellor Merkel came out strongly in support of 2020. President Obama didn't explicitly say 2020 in his remarks, but he provided hints. President Obama said: "Here, in Paris, let's secure an agreement that builds in ambition, where progress paves the way for regularly updated targets". He was clearly hinting at the need for more ambition early enough to make a difference. President Obama elaborated on many of these issues in his press conference on Tuesday. Other countries' statements suggest they would support a stocktake simply because it's a better alternative to individual "ex ante" reviews of their country targets.

Obama meets with Leaders from the Island Countries

President Obama meet with leaders of a number of Island countries that are on the frontlines of the impacts of climate change- some of them may literally cease to exist if we aren't aggressive enough in Paris and the years to come. We haven't yet gotten a full read-out of the meeting but the statement from the President of the Marshall Islands after the meeting captures the mood:

"In our meeting today on the sidelines of the COP21, President Obama confirmed that he will stand with the island states as we enter the final stretch of negotiations on a new international climate agreement. We welcome his support in our hour of need.

"As an island boy, he understands the unique challenges we face. The meeting was a chance to talk, at a very personal level, about how vulnerable we are to climate impacts, and that we all need to work together to tackle what is now the gravest risk to humanity. This will require an Agreement that reflects the science, and keeps up political momentum by having countries back at the table every five years to deepen their efforts."

Additional Deforestation Announcements: Companies making commitments around their supply-chain

On the first day of the conference, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom collectively pledged to provide $5 billion for developing countries to verifiably reduce emissions from forests. And today, over 400 major companies represented by the Consumer Goods Forum committed to preferentially source commodities from countries that have sustainable forest management.

Over 100 Companies ran a full page Wall Street Journal Ad Supporting a Strong Paris Agreement

Over 100 companies joined together on a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Business Backs a Low Carbon USA", supporting actions at home and abroad to reduce carbon pollution. Specifically, the ad endorses action to reduce U.S. carbon emissions, investment in a low-carbon economy, and a strong and fair climate deal in Paris. The effort was supported by Environmental Entrepreneurs and other leading business organizations. The final print version of the ad can be found here, along with supportive quotes from corporate CEOs:

NRDC in news for Paris climate talks

On the second day of the Paris climate talks, Rhea Suh was quoted in The Economic Times about the major solar alliance India announced the day before: "This unprecedented international solar collaboration sets an encouraging tone as country representatives gather today to reach a new global climate agreement. India's leading role in forming an International Solar Alliance anchors its own climate commitment to ramp up renewable energy." So were Anjali Jaiswal and Jing Jing Qian. Other publications such as the New Delhi Times included Rhea Suh's comments on the solar alliance. Jake Schmidt told New Orleans Public Radio that things are much different now in the climate fight because now more than 170 countries accounting for 90 percent of the world's emissions have announced national reduction targets they'll commit to in the final agreement. "That's a huge shift from where we were at, so we have a very solid foundation to build upon," he said. And Business Insider named Perrin Ireland as one of the seven best twitter accounts to follow at COP21. (Wait until they see her Tumblr art!). And Barbara Finamore was on CCTV discussing the Paris climate negotiations and the situation around Chinese coal.

Artists unveil "the Standing March" and other exhibits

Renowned French artists JR and American film director Darren Aronofsky have unveiled a new video projection installation, called #TheStandingMarch, which features moving images of people representing the 7 billion people that are depending on#COP21 to set us on the right path towards addressing this climate crisis. Read about it on NRDC's Tumblr and Instagram.

The 1Heart1Tree projection on the Eiffel Tower was launched. The projections depict a tree growing up the tower, and include a call for 100% renewables.