Paris Daily Digest - Dec 2: French have called in seasoned diplomats

Perrin Day 2 Journal.jpg

Below is the update from today (Dec 2) from the climate negotiations in Paris. Previous day ones are available at: Day 1 and Day 2.

Textual negotiations moving along slowly - French want a transparent but condensed second week and have called in seasoned diplomats

The pace of negotiations on the text of the Paris Agreement has been slow, a fact recognized by most parties, as well as by the President of the COP21 Process and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during the evening "stock-taking" meeting. There is little compromise on important issues, such as "means of implementation" (such as finance) that the G77 developing countries and China want to see acknowledged. Tomorrow, there will be a compilation of the new text - meaning they will combine the pieces back together from the various working groups. And co-facilitators will prepare some text that "bridges" the different positions put forward by negotiators. Many groups have not gone through the paragraphs of text they were assigned to review.

Given the slow pace, Fabius announced that Thursday morning several seasoned diplomats have been called in to meet with various groups to discuss the best way forward. This includes the French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre (who Brendan knows well and Han, Brendan, and I ran into as we were leaving), French COP21 delegate Filippe Lacoste, and Michael Zammit Cutajar, the first Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC in 1991.

This is the normal up-and-down at this stage as it looks like there is no way that countries can pull it together in time. Still more time to work through some kinks before Ministers take over the key "crunch issues".

New Initiatives Announced on Climate Resilience

The COP21 Action Agenda launched a number of ambitious international initiatives today to protect the most vulnerable from climate impacts and build resilience to recover from disasters. An African-led initiative will restore productivity and increase food security for 20 million people in the Sahel region, with the World Bank allocating US$2.2 billion in investments. Another initiative, Climate Risks and Early Warning Systems (CREWS), will mobilize US$100 million to develop early warning systems for over 50 small island and lesser developed countries. And the World Bank launched a business plan to invest US$1 billion to improve the ability of people in Western Africa regions to adapt to coastal erosion and flooding.

Check out the watercolor from NRDC's Perrin Ireland on her reflections on the Paris discussions

150 world leaders gather in Paris to share their commitment to addressing climate change. Parisian artist JR projects 500 faces on the National Assembly to remind world leaders that we're watching. Growing green trees are projected onto the Eiffel Tower. A frenchman hands me and some friends a bottle of champagne beneath the Tower because he is very proud to be French. President Christopher J. Loeak steals the show at the opening session of the UN by reminding us that for the Marshall Islands and other small island nations, climate change is already a reality. See it on Tumblr.

Oceans is getting some attention in the climate discussions

In a new video - Oceans Unite -film director and Ocean advocate James Cameron explains why we need to look down, as well as up when it comes to protecting our planet as UN climate talks progress in Paris, France. Cameron explains why Marine Protected Areas are part of the solution to withstand some of the impacts of climate change, and to build critical resilience at sea. In a related video, Sir Richard Branson explains that without healthy oceans and healthy reefs, we don't have a healthy planet. As scientists warn that climate change is making the ocean hostile to life at a rate unprecedented in history, Sir Richard argues that it's time to factor the ocean into our climate change response.

Two press conferences took place today where oceans were covered. One was hosted by Small Island Developing States and the other was focused on Water with some discussion of the ocean as well. In connection with these, a NYT article on the Marshall Islands and sea level rise highlights the threat of climate change to this low-lying island. And a post from Oceans Inc. summarizes the results of a survey detailing climate related migration in the Pacific Islands.

The High Seas Alliance, of which NRDC is a partner organization, is calling on COP21 to:

  • Aim for stringent emission limits consistent with scientific evidence to curb irreversible changes to ocean marine ecosystems;
  • Develop through the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a Special Report on the ocean, building on IPCC AR5 (chap. 3) to investigate interactions between and impact on the ocean and climate, to inform the implementation of the Paris Agreement and future COP decisions;
  • Include marine and coastal ecosystem-based approaches for mitigation and adaptation in climate finance mechanisms; and
  • Formally incorporate a more ocean-inclusive agenda into future COPs.

NRDC in the News Day Three Paris Climate Talks

Susan Casey Lefkowitz spoke on the WNYC Brian Lehrer Show, an NPR program, and told him that the Paris climate talks should deliver an ambitious plan to curb climate change. "With wind and solar power we are really on our way already to reducing carbon pollution," she said. She also spoke about seeing China's terrible air pollution on a recent trip, and suggested it will do more to curb that pollution. Barbara Finamore said on CNBC's Squawk Box program, also carried on Yahoo Finance and MSN, that she's very optimistic about the prospects for a strong climate agreement coming out of Paris. "This agreement in Paris will not solve the climate crisis, but it will accelerate the move to clean energy." Anjali Jaiswal's blog about India's solar announcement was covered by the Energy Collective: "The launch of the International Solar Alliance shows the flexibility and cooperation needed at the negotiations to achieve a strong agreement to reduce global warming pollution." NRDC Trustee Robert Redford and was cited in a Times of India article among celebrities such as Sting and Natalie Portman "who have made a difference to Mother Earth."