How “well below 2°C” flew well-below the radar

1.5DegC

On December 12, when the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus, it contained bold new language on the long-term global temperature goal. Article 2 reads: “Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels…” (Article 2.1(a))…
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What’s next and who makes it happen at COP21?

COP21 Comite de Paris

At COP21 on Saturday, December 5, the ADP transmitted the draft Paris Outcome (the Agreement, as we’ve called it all year) and its accompanying Decision to the COP. The text still contains many bracketed phrases (choices to be made), and there are key outstanding issues, such as on long-term goal, the timing of review of…
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How will we measure success in Paris?

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After observing the first week of COP21, it is clear that reaching agreement is not the measure of success in Paris. Everyone from the Executive Secretary to heads of delegation have expressed confidence that all Parties can agree on a final outcome. In fact, at the closing of the ADP plenary, ADP Co-Chair Ahmed Djoghlaf suggested that we…
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Clambering Up the Tower of Babel to Reach the Paris Package

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Imagine a room full of delegates from 196 different countries waiting to begin a high-stake negotiation. The cacophonous sound of conversations in dozens of languages reverberates around the room. The meeting commences and then proceeds in English. Delegate after delegate raises concerns and offers ideal solutions to a controversial draft text addressing the problem of…
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UNFCCC Negotiations – Coordinating the Dance

Courtesy of Creative Commons (Bobbi Vie)

Negotiations are an elaborate dance. Negotiators must coordinate the actions of many partners. Make a misstep and the coordination is lost. What could be an elaborate dance degrades into a chaotic scramble.   On Friday afternoon, the COP21 negotiations demonstrated how difficult they can be to coordinate. After a week of work in spin-off groups…
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Influential strangers: a journey home from COP 21

Unknown

At an international meeting it only makes sense that the people you would end up meeting may be across the border from you! However, it is not necessarily expected that your new acquaintance would be across a state border. But the latter was just the case on my ride home this evening from COP21. After…
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Understanding the Complex Organized Chaos of UNFCCC Negotiations

Fractal

A fractal is a never-ending mathematical pattern that is self-similar across different scales. Every time you look closer, you see another layer.   The UNFCCC negotiations have a similar pattern. Every time you look closer, you see another layer. The news reports coming out of Paris are using a confusing array of terms: ADP contact…
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COP21 Begins in 24 Hours: Will a Paris Agreement [Decrease] [Solve] [Do Nothing On] Climate Change?

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If all politics are local, but greenhouse gases find their way into the atmosphere’s international space, how can the global community act collectively on climate change? In 1992, the solution was to adopt an international treaty. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) declared climate change a “common concern of mankind,” and committed…
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Hot and Bothered

earth on fire

This title appeared today on the Economist’s report on climate change in red hot capital letters wrapped around a vulnerable-looking Earth. I think it better sums up the report’s tone than its substance. While the Economist points to IPCC graphs to back up its scientific facts, it totally lacks the global scientific body’s analytical nuance. Instead the report trots out more than a few blanket statements that…
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ADP Co-Chairs Briskly Move Forward to Paris @UNFCCC #ADP2 #ConspiracyTheory

Co-Chairs

If the U.N. climate negotiations are like middle school, then Twitter is where the hallway gossip happens. As the first day of the ADP 2-11 session wrapped up Monday, whispers of an alleged “U.S. conspiracy to sink Paris” began trending on Twitter.  The buzz made its way to the CAN International press briefing room when a…
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Outside the ADP negotiation rooms

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Some days at UNFCCC negotiations, the glass looks more full outside the negotiating rooms. Given the 4am revisions of the negotiation texts, meetings today started off slowly.  The ADP gathered in the late morning to acknowledge the new text, send the G77 and other negotiating groups off for coordination on it, and announce the afternoon and evening “spin off…
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Before Paris, comes Bonn

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The last negotiation session of the ADP before COP21 began today in Bonn, home of the UNFCCC Secretariat.  The goal of this meeting is to produce a new agreement text that delegations may take home to their national leaders for final preparations for Paris.  The ADP Co-Chairs issued a “non paper” (meaning it hasn’t been endorsed by the Parties and…
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Posted in ADP

2 steps forward, 1 step backward

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It would be easy to characterize the last 1.5 days of ADP negotiations as a setback.  The tune,“What a  difference a day makes”, ran through my mind while sitting in Room XIX.  The bounce felt by all from the productive sessions on Sunday and Monday and the first half of Tuesday dissipated quickly as Parties…
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Posted in ADP

ADP2-8: Avoiding BAU?

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“No one will say that this text is not your text.” With that comment, new ADP Co-Chair Ahmed Djoghlaf of Algeria closed this morning’s session of the ADP.  On time.  Having completed the planned review of the entire draft text of the 2015 agreement one day ahead of schedule. Djoghlaf and his Co-Chair, Daniel Reifsnyder…
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Behind the scenes of the US-China negotiations

john podesta in green

Rolling Stone recently published this intriguing backstory of the US-China climate change announcement made just two weeks before COP20 kicked off in Lima, Peru.  The bilateral conversation started last February with a phone call from U.S. Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern to his Chinese counterpart, followed up by a private letter to President Xi…
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