climate talks

What You Need To Know About the UN Climate Talks in Poland

Read time: 16 mins
Globe tent at COP23 in Bonn

The UN's annual climate talks kick off next week in the southern Polish city of Katowice, in the country’s coal heartland. The stakes are high, but —  as always —  it won’t be plain sailing.

The two-week meeting will be another pivotal moment in the global climate negotiations and the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. Countries are expected to finalise the accord’s rulebook and start the process of a global stocktake to ramp up ambition to reduce emissions.

The talks are taking place against a backdrop of mounting urgency and expectations following a report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which warned that the world has 12 years to halve its carbon dioxide emissions if it is to keep warming to 1.5 degrees and avoid catastrophic climate change.

Kicking Big Polluters Out Of Climate Talks 'Not Very Useful', Says Poland's Climate Envoy

Read time: 3 mins

By Megan Darby, Climate Home News

Poland’s climate envoy dismissed calls to keep polluters out of UN talks, ahead of a controversial negotiation in Bonn on Thursday about widening participation.

Activists outside the talks put pressure on the EU to support a conflict of interest policy for businesses getting involved in the process. They argue that fossil fuel companies are a malign influence and weaken climate ambition to protect their profits.

But Tomasz Chruszczow, who has a leading role in this December’s Katowice climate summit, told Climate Home News in an interview he did not recognise that problem.

We want everybody in this action,” he said. “Even if they are now generating electricity from fossil fuels – the majority of electricity comes from fossil fuels – still it is changing, but it is a process.

Is Shipping Emissions Ambition Achievable?

Read time: 4 mins

By Richard Black, Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit

Shipping has historically been an overlooked sector in discussions around climate change.

This is curious, as shipping accounts for a substantial proportion of global carbon dioxide emissions, at over 3% and growing; if the sector were a country, it would rank as the sixth biggest emitter of CO2 in the world.

The problem is that shipping, including container ships which carry around 80% of global trade, is largely reliant on particularly dirty forms of fossil fuels, collectively known as marine bunkers, which are high in carbon and other pollutants such as sulphur.

But, as shipping is by its nature international, this poses a challenge in allocating emissions to specific countries. And thus it has largely been excluded from negotiations under the UN climate convention, which in 2015 reached the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

For shipping and its multinational transport twin, aviation, responsibility for addressing emissions was hived off to other international bodies, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization(IMO). And both have for years dragged their feet on addressing the issue.

Watchdog Has 'Serious Concerns' Corporate Conflicts of Interest Could Stall Climate Progress at Shipping Talks

Read time: 3 mins

By Megan Darby, Climate Home News

The UN shipping regulator has been stacked with industry representatives, undermining efforts to tackle the sector’s carbon footprint.

So warned Transparency International on Tuesday, as talks on a climate target for international shipping started in London.

The anti-corruption watchdog raised “serious concerns” about potential conflicts of interest at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in preliminary findings of a study.

Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

Read time: 8 mins

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
 

Canadian Youth Delegation: Tar Sands Creating "Commitment Issues" for Canada at COP18

Read time: 4 mins

Canada's leadership is failing to uphold international commitments to reduce the country's emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This failure on the global stage is the direct result of Canada's domestic policies, according to the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP18's recent report “Commitment Issues.”  

Canada's determination to develop Alberta's tar sands constitutes the nation's primary obstacle to progress on climate action. Bitumen extraction in the region “invalidates Canada's commitment to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius since pre-industrial times and sets a dangerous global precedent for extreme extraction,” the report states.
 
The Canadian government has participated in several significant international agreements and treaties aimed at reducing global levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet, given the country's aggressive oil and gas development, these agreements only serve to highlight Canada's disregard for, rather than participation in, international efforts to prevent dangerous global warming.
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