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Paris talks start

Here’s our dispatch from Paris from Kyla:

“Bonjour from COP21! It’s Kyla Mandel here from DeSmog UK. I’m going to be bringing you on-the-ground updates from Paris in your daily Energydesk dispatch. This will include key moments and what to look out for in the day ahead.

While negotiations got started yesterday evening, today is the big day. So what can you expect on the first day of COP21?

The official opening ceremony is set for 10am (Paris time). Then, starting at noon all the world leaders will give their national statements. You can watch them live here.

In addition to the official negotiations, there will be side-events, press conferences, and exhibits each day inside the COP venue.

Today’s events include a press conference led by the Prime Minister of New Zealand on reforming fossil fuel subsidies and a discussion on the impacts of climate change on Canada and the Amazon’s indigenous peoples. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be hosting a meeting to boost efforts in building climate resilience and the heads of Norway, Germany, the UK and Peru will be issuing a joint statement on ‘forests as a key climate solution’. Then, towards the end of the day Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi will be launching the International Solar Alliance. These are all, of course, just highlights. You can find a full list of the side events here.”

Over 130 world leaders have been arriving for the opening day of the Paris talks, and will be giving speeches later today. UK’s David Cameron is expected to give his towards the end of the day, and The Telegraph reports he  will say wealthy countries need to give more foreign aid to halt climate change.

France and India launched a global solar alliance at the start of the COP, as the coal industry fights for space in the emissions debate by claiming “cleaner” coal has a placein the energy mix.

China released a report on the climate impacts on the country, including rising sea levels, flooding and drought. Meanwhile the BBC’s China editor says China’s about-face on climate change makes it the country to watch at the talks.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world took part in protests to call for action at the climate talks.

For the confused, the New York Times sums up a Paris Deal would herald an important first step on climate change.This jargon-buster on the talks might be useful, from Slate.

19 countries to double clean energy investment – tech giants and billionaires start R&D parallel investment fund

19 countries have announced a clean tech push called ‘Mission Innovation’ at the start of the COP talks, which will double their investment in clean tech from $10bn a year to $20bn by 2020. The countries include the US, UK,  China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Canada, France, South Africa and Norway.

A parallel clean tech investment fund called the ‘Breakthrough Energy Initiative‘ has been set up by Bill Gates and is supported by tech giants and billionaires including Mark Zukerberg, Richard Branson and George Soros.

Gates committed $1 billion of his money and was the “intellectual architect” behind the effort to get investors involved. The fund is conditional on investment from governments and is set up to plug the gaps in R&D and commercialise innovative tech. Apparently, Gates is excited by these techs: solar chemical technology, flow batteries and solar paint.

Meanwhile in the UK, David Cameron has comes under fire from Tesco, Unilever, Ikea, M&S and other businesses over green cuts – as the solar power lobby warns of subsidy cuts threat to jobs.

Oil – oil price geopolitics 

The COP isn’t the only thing going on. There’s an OPEC meeting, and oil prices have dipped slightly ahead of this.

Iran has overhauled the way it offers contract to foreign firms in a bid to raise $30bn of new oil contracts.

Russia’s economy could be facing collapse if the oil price dips below $30 analysts warn.

Meanwhile Al Jazeera investigates how ISIL is still managing to sell its oil and who to.

In other news

Canada starts to regain its green glow

Is climate change really to blame for Syria’s civil war?

How the 2016 Presidential Candidates View Climate Change

North Carolina judge rules against 13-year-old in climate change challenge

How South Africa can spread renewable energy to low income areas

New type of ‘flow battery’ can store 10 times the energy of the next best device

Renewable energy in the EU: Which countries are using the most renewable energy?