Negotiators knuckle down to trim draft climate pact

February 8, 2015 by Mariette Le Roux, Catherine Hours
Scientists warn that on current greenhouse gas emission trends, Earth is on track for twice the 2 C target—a recipe for catastrophic droughts, storms, floods and rising seas

UN negotiations resume in Geneva on Sunday to streamline the bloated draft for a climate pact that nations, still at odds over key elements, must sign in Paris in December.

The six-day meeting is one of three special sessions added to this year's schedule of talks meant to culminate in the French capital with a historic deal to curb global warming.

On the table is a sprawling 37-page blueprint stuffed with options that reflect conflicting country interests and demands on many fundamental points.

The goal in Geneva will be to trim the document down to a workable draft to be adopted at the close of the talks next Friday as an official "negotiating text" to guide the process through to December.

"This is a critical stage," negotiator Maesela Kekana of South Africa's foreign affairs department told AFP.

"This will be the last opportunity to refine the elements that will inform the negotiation text."

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said Thursday the February 8-13 talks in Geneva were by no means expected to deliver a polished, finalised draft, but hopefully something that reflects more common ground.

"We're hoping that governments will be able to work with each other for a more manageable text. That is never a guarantee," she told reporters via webcast.

"Of course there is always the possibility that some governments may feel that their views are currently not included and that they would want to include their views. Whether we end up with more pages or less pages still remains to be seen."

The much-touted accord is set to enter into force in 2020 to further the UN goal of limiting to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

As part of the process, countries must submit carbon-cutting pledges in the months leading up to the Paris meeting.

Chart showing annual air temperatures over land and sea since 1950
2014 'hottest year'

Scientists warn that on current greenhouse gas emission trends, Earth is on track for twice the 2 C target—a recipe for catastrophic droughts, storms, floods and rising seas.

On Monday, the World Meteorological Organisation said 2014 was the hottest year on record—part of a "warming trend" set to continue.

Despite the urgency, the UN process remains divided roughly between the interests of rich and developing nations—as reflected in the unwieldy draft that emerged from the annual ministerial-level talks in Peru last December.

One of the biggest disagreements is centred around demands that rich nations spell out their financial commitments to the developing world for climate mitigation and adaptation actions.

Even the legal form of the agreement itself is in dispute and countries are split on the issue of "differentiation"—how to divide responsibility for carbon cuts between rich and poor nations.

UN negotiations resume in Geneva to streamline the bloated draft for a climate pact that nations, still at odds over key elements, must sign in Paris in December

Procedure requires that an official draft text must be submitted by the end of May this year—six months before the next Conference of Parties in Paris that will adopt the final version.

"As the Geneva session is the only negotiating session planned before May 2015, its objective is to deliver this negotiating text on 13 February," according to a note by the joint chairmen of the talks.

Observers and parties are hopeful the Geneva meeting will yield signs that the 195 nations gathered under the UN banner are willing to compromise.

"This is going to force parties to really buckle down... to figure out what's important to them to keep, what consolidation or streamlining they can live with and what they can't," said veteran commentator Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

As the talking continues, many are pointing to the importance of carbon-cutting initiatives by countries, companies and cities outside of the official UN process.

"It would be a fundamental misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the complexity of what we're dealing with to even imagine that an agreement in Paris would in and of itself... miraculously solve climate change," said Figueres.

"What Paris is meant to do is to chart the course that can be followed by governments and by business... toward that two-degree pathway."

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Returners
2.5 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2015
The U.S. isn't playing along any time soon. The Retardigans just won power in Congress again with the most recent round of elections, and we even lost Mary Landrieu in Louisiana.

I think Retardigans is an appropriate name for the party instead of Republicans. After all, they hinder pretty much anything based on rationalism either or compassion.

I wonder what the progress will be on offshore wind projects in New England coast which had been planned, now that the Retardigans have retaken Congress?

Subsidies for private wind and solar?

The ultra conservative christian community is opposed to wind and solar because it might harm a bird once in a while, but they own domesticated house cats and don't mind burning gigatons of fossil fuels.
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
'GLOBAL WARMING' BIGGEST SCIENCE SCANDAL EVER

Official records systematically 'adjusted' to show heating...

http://www.telegr...ver.html

The hockey stick graph was no mistake. These "scientists" are in the pay and thrall of the progressive left, the communists and the environmentalists (the watermelons). All of whom are known liars.
Maggnus
3 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2015
Shootist is now quoting someone besides Dyson I see. Still caught in the deep thrall of denialism and conspiracy though. A tip of the hat to Runrig, who has already provided a link that gives clear evidence of how Brooker's biased and incorrect analysis is, well, biased and incorrect.

https://www.youtu...z8merXEA

Love the way Cowtan finishes the article. So Brooker is claiming that the NOAA is altering the climate records to show that, at most, there is a less than 3% difference in the speed of global warming. As Cowtan asks, why ever would they do that?

Shootist? Can you respond to this without resorting to an Appeal to Authority? bell_doug, you like analyses, can you give an answer? Can anyone here give a reply without resorting to claims of conspiracy or outright denying the evidence provided between the two cites?
Shootist
3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
CLIMATE CHANGE: Biggest science scam in history.

'In the business and trading world, people go to jail for such manipulations of data'

http://www.climat...of-data/

Still loving your fraud, Maggnus?
Maggnus
3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
Still loving your fraud, Maggnus?
That's it? That's the best you could come up with?

Dyson would be sad.
Maggnus
3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
It is interesting that people like shootist link almost exclusively to right wing propaganda sites whenever they are trying to show why they think their denying established scientific organizations is somehow akin to the science such organizations are producing.

The NOAA comes out with a detailed, multifaceted release suggesting that they have come to agree with several other respected, scientifically strong organizations that 2014 is now considered the hottest, or very close to the hottest, year ever recorded, and the only reply that comes is not from an organization with the standing or skill of the NOAA or NASA or JMA.

Instead, they resort to parroting the findings of a known liar and denialist (Booker) whose "expose" doesn't even get the facts behind the adjustment to the temperatures in Paraguay (which represents what, 0.03% of the planet?) correct. "They adjusted them, so it must be fraud." How ridiculous.
Shootist
3.3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
It is interesting that people like shootist link almost exclusively to right wing propaganda sites whenever they ar


It's only "right wing" cause you disagree with it. That shows a decided lack of honor on your part.

Freeman "the polar bears will be fine" Dyson is hardly right winged and damn sure knows more about the subject than every poster on this website, combined.

"What I'm convinced of is that we don't understand climate." - Freeman Dyson

As a general rule, if Freeman Dyson doesn't understand something, you don't, either.

So, grow a pair and be honorable.
Maggnus
3 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2015
It's only "right wing" cause you disagree with it. That shows a decided lack of honor on your part.
**Snip**
"What I'm convinced of is that we don't understand climate." - Freeman Dyson
As a general rule, if Freeman Dyson doesn't understand something, you don't, either.
So, grow a pair and be honorable.

Wow, you are actually talking a little! Grew a pair did you? Ok!

First, whether I like it or not doesn't actually figure into it. The right wing bias of Fox News and Climate Depot are well known, not because I think they are, but because they trumpet that they are.

It's nice that you think Dyson is smart and all, but that doesn't make him omnipotent nor immune to error. I also think he is smart. See, we agree on something!

I did ask you to try to speak to the subject without resorting to Appeal to Authority. Can you do it
Maggnus
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2015
Shootist, here is a comment about Booker and his writings on asbestos. (It also contains a comment about his stand on climate change, but let's leave that aside for now). You have linked to Booker with what I can only assume is agreement. How do you feel about his comments on asbestos? Do you consider the Guardian to be left wing?

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