Paris Daily Digest - Dec 9: Getting into the final days

Below is the update from Wed (Dec 9) from the climate negotiations in Paris. We are getting down to the wire, but we aren't done yet!. Also make sure to check-out "Insider Journal" from NRDC's President Rhea Suh.


A new draft negotiating text was released yesterday by the French Government to try to help Ministers make key decisions as we get into the final hours of the negotiations in Paris. The new draft was released at 6pm Paris time. The new draft text still has a lot of bracketed options - meaning not yet agreed - or options where Ministers must choose between various ideas. On NRDC's priorities this draft (reminder here are our priorities) this draft is getting closer, but still has a long ways to go. Here is a quick run-down based upon our priorities:

  • New emissions reduction targets for the Post-2020 timeframe by key countries. The text requires ("shall") countries to "record" their climate targets in the agreement (Art 3.11). The legal nature of these climate targets is still uncertain as the text contains a lot of brackets on that point (Art 3.2). We must end up with some meaningful way that the targets from 180 plus countries is captured in the final agreement as that is a huge step forward from where we have been just a few short years ago.
  • Tools to catalyze more aggressive action over time. The draft agreement sets 2020 or 2021 as the date that countries must revisit their targets (in the COP Decision para 25-25, pg 16) for their first targets enshrined in this agreement. This creates an early timeframe so that we can strengthen efforts well before 2030. Each subsequent target will be submitted every five years (Art 3.8) and these subsequent targets are to be more aggressive than previous targets (Art 3.6). And there is a provision that allows countries to strengthen their targets at any time (Art 3.10). There is also a "global stocktake" where countries look collectively at progress (Art 10.1-3). This system starts in 2023 or 2024 and then continues every five-years. There is still some disagreement reflected in these sections, but it appears we are getting closer.
  • Financial support to assist developing countries. As outlined by Han Chen, there are several key issues at play in the finance negotiations. There are a lot of brackets in this section and still a number of options which reflects that this issue still has a lot of work. There are various options (Art 6.4) on the issues around setting a floor of $100 billion per year in 2020 and ramping up finance over time through regular cycles of pledges. I suspect this issue will come down to the wire as clearly countries haven't yet to lay out their bottom-lines.
  • Strengthen transparency and accountability frameworks. There are several options and brackets on key pieces of the "transparency and accountability" framework. There are options on whether there is a single system for developed and developing countries (Art 9.1). It appears that there is agreed text on the purpose of this provision (Art 9.4 and 9.5) that would reflect the need to have this system track emissions and progress towards a countries target. There is agreement that countries will "regularly provide information" on: national emission inventories, projections of emissions, progress towards achieving individual targets, and financial support provided (Art 9.6). But there is still significant disagreement on the process for "reviewing" or "assessing" (Art 9.7) that progress through an independent expert group and a "multilateral assessment" (i.e., a public process to shine a spotlight on progress). The current draft creates a "Mechanism to facilitate implementation" (Art 11.1). This new mechanism "shall" consist of a committee of experts, but its purpose is a bit vague.
  • Spurring more than countries to take climate action. We have been actively engaging with the French government, the UN, and city, state, and business partners to define the shape of the Action Agenda after Paris. These contours will mostly be defined in a "decision" accompanying the legal agreement. NRDC's primary asks are all currently included in the decision, including the appointment of two high-level champions to continue to catalyze climate action and convene all stakeholders (page 28, paragraph 130), and an annual high-level event to announce new commitments and demonstrate progress (page 28, paragraph 129).

Countries had several hours to consult and then met in an open plenary from 8-11:30pm Paris time for some broad overview reactions. Overall, countries were open to using it as the basis of the next round of deep negotiations, but no one was completely happy with everything at this stage. They met in small Ministerial level dialogues until the early morning hours.


The United States today said it had united with the European Union and 79 developing countries to jointly push for an ambitious accord in Paris to curb global warming (see AFP story). The EU and leading developing countries announced the coalition yesterday (see the Guardian) and articulated that this coalition have agreed that the Paris agreement must:

  • be legally binding, inclusive, fair, ambitious, durable and dynamic
  • set out a clear and operational long-term goal which is in line with science
  • establish a review mechanism for countries to come together every five years to consider progress made and to enhance collective and individual efforts as appropriate
  • include a transparency and accountability system to track progress on the delivery of national commitments and the sharing of best practice

NRDC and partners announce Global Green Bank Network to Speed Shift to Clean Energy

Yesterday, NRDC and the Coalition for Green Capital joined six major banks to announce a Green Bank Network to help meet the urgent need of increasing and accelerating investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency worldwide. Green banks are public entities created to partner with the private sector to increase investment in clean energy and bring clean energy financing into the mainstream. They are a relatively new phenomenon that has been successful in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and several U.S. states. The development of this partnership was led by Urban Solutions' Doug Sims. Shelley Poticha attended a panel of green bank executives and economists to thank the Green Banks for selecting NRDC and Coalition for Green Capital to run the network. The founding partners of this major clean energy initiative are the UK Green Investment Bank, the Connecticut Green Bank, NY Green Bank, the Green Fund (Japan), Malaysian Green Technology Corporation and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Australia), and the network plans to expand rapidly. NRDC and Coalition for Green Capital will spearhead the creation of the network. ClimateWorks Foundation has agreed to provide seed funding.

Financial Institutions Adopt Principles for Mainstreaming Climate Action

Twenty-six public and private financial institutions from around the world, representing a combined balance sheet of over $11 trillion, announced they were adopting five voluntary Principles to Mainstream Climate Action into their lending and advisory activities:

  1. Commit to climate strategies: This involves leadership by senior management, strategic priorities, commitments and targets to integrate climate change into all levels of operation.
  2. Manage climate risks: Assessing climate risk in existing portfolio, pipeline and any new investments; working with clients to develop processes to build climate resilience and improve sustainability of investments.
  3. Promote climate smart objectives: This includes developing instruments, tools and knowledge to overcome risks and barriers to investment in low carbon and resilient investments.
  4. Improve climate performance: Implement appropriate tools and systems to track and monitor indicators related to climate change.
  5. Account for climate action: This involves transparency and reporting of an institution's climate performance.

The announcement was made at a side event co-hosted by the European Investment Bank, the Development Bank of Latin Americ a- CAF, and the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA). AIDA's co-Executive Director, Astrid Puentes noted that any initiative that contributes to increasing access to information, accountability and real climate action is welcome, but called for inclusion of a human rights perspective and greater accountability. She also urged the institutions to "leapfrog development in the South" and not finance projects that were not actually climate solutions - such as large dams in the tropics. Last week, 300 civil society organizations from 53 countries urged governments and financiers to not include large hydro power projects in climate initiatives such as the Clean Development Mechanism, Climate Investment Funds and green bonds.

The full list of institutions can be found here.

NRDC in the News Day 10

TIME Magazine reports on Leonardo DiCaprio and John Kerry teaming up to fight climate change. NRDC trustee DiCaprio is quoted: "Our future will hold greater prosperity and justice when we are free from the grip of fossil fuels," he continued. "Now to get there, we must act. We must finally leave behind the inefficient technologies of another century and the business models that they have created."

Ecorazzi also covered DiCaprio's appearance, and included these quotes (and an NRDC Instagram): "Our world leaders are here in Paris in an effort to finalize a global agreement 20 years in the making, to finally address the very real threat that climate change poses to our planet," he told the audience. "These leaders have met before. They met in Kyoto, they met in Copenhagen, and in cities on every continent, but each and every time, they have come up short. This time must be different, because we are fundamentally running out of time. Our future will hold greater prosperity and justice when we are free from the grip of fossil fuels. Now to get there, we must act. We must finally leave behind the inefficient technologies of another century and the business models that they have created."

The International Solar Alliance was covered by Economic India Times, NDTV, and Hindu Business Line, with this quote from Rhea Suh: "It has the potential to propel international solar markets forward, all while fighting climate change, improving global health and boosting economies."

Mother Jones just posted this piece about why we should be hopeful about the negotiations. Jake Schmidt is quoted:That's just one of perhaps a dozen major questions that remain on the table for Kerry and his peers, said Jake Schmidt, director of the international program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. One of the most significant is climate finance, i.e., how wealthy countries will help poorer countries pay for climate change adaptation and clean energy development. Most negotiators agree that there needs to be an annual minimum of $100 billion raised collectively toward this end. But should that specific number be in the legally binding agreement? The US delegation doesn't want it to be, Schmidt said, because of the added pressure that could create on the country to cough up more cash. How, exactly, should the figure be increased over time, if at all? How, exactly, should it be divided between the US, the EU, and other wealthy players? Those questions remain on the table.

360Yale shared this piece, about how the climate talks could bring about the demise of coal: "Coal is not king any more in China, " Fuqiang Yang of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Beijing office said here this week. "It will have a minor role in the future." Coal is currently responsible for 80 percent of the country's electricity generation. But he calculates that will fall to 30 percent by 2040, and 18 percent by 2050."

E&E posted a report (see the attached) following Sec. John Kerry's a remarks today in Paris, vowing action, and quoted Jake Schmidt: "You needed shock and awe" in Copenhagen, said Jake Schmidt, international programs director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Green Bank Network, an initiative announced Dec. 7 at COP21 which NRDC is coordinating to drive new capital for investment in clean energy projects, was covered by: Sustainable Business,,,,,, and, public news service,,

The climate resilience "toolkit" announced Dec. 8 has been covered by and

Pacific Standard magazine included this mention of Perrin Ireland and Brian Palmer, and NRDC's Tumblr page: The Natural Resources Defense Council's Tumblr page is currently devoted to "Storytelling for Global Action," with illustrations by Perrin Ireland and words by Brian Palmer. Ireland and Palmer have gathered voices from around the world: Take Mundiya Kepanga, of the Huli tribe in Papua New Guinea, who has become something of an informal climate ambassador--"an international celebrity ... a commentator, a curiosity, and sometimes a comedian," Palmer writes.

Associated Press's coverage of the City Energy Project, announced by Robert Redford on Dec. 4 and reported here earlier, has expanded to nearly 300 outlets including US News & World Report, Yahoo India news, Washington Post, Washington Times, Sacramento Bee, Miami Herald, and dozens of other regional newspaper and television outlets. Philanthropy News Digest also reported on the $10.5M investment for the project.