21st Session Of Conference On Climate Change COP21 Opens At Le Bourget

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From Kyla in Paris

Good morning from Day 2 in Paris. It was a busy day yesterday as everyone milled around finding their bearings and trying to track down a croissant that didn’t require a half hour queue.

The day consisted of the COP21 opening ceremony where Ban Ki-Moon urged nations to seek an ambitious deal and Francois Holland asserted that “What is at stake with this climate conference is peace.”

The rest of the day consisted of each leader’s national speech. Some, such as Barack Obama went over their allotted three minutes while others such as David Cameron kept it very succinct. So succinct in fact that no mention of renewable energy or coal was made – he only stressed that current governments must answer to future generations’ questions if they fail to act on climate change now. (An irony not lost on many given the recent onslaught to every green initiative in the UK.)

The day ended with New Zealand and Belgium being awarded the ‘Fossil of the Day’ for their poor performance: New Zealand for urging countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies while at the same time propping up the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $80 million, and Belgium for being one of the few EU countries lagging behind on their carbon pollution reduction and renewable energy targets.

Today, expect announcements by the Prince of Wales, indigenous leaders and CEOs on forest issues as well as high level dialogues on ‘biodiversity and climate change’ and carbon pricing. There will also be a side-event addressing carbon capture and storage in developing countries.

Choking up: China and India engulfed as leaders’ speeches urge action on climate

Both Beijing and New Delhi have been engulfed in smog as leaders take to the stage in Paris to talk up the urgent need for action on climate change. French president Francois Hollande described the climate as at “breaking point”, and in a six-hour press conference Pope Francis warned that warming the world was “at the limits of suicide”. In China the PM2.5 pollution went “beyond index” in the afternoon.

President Obama opened his speech with a tribute to Paris, and pledged to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ensure a “low carbon global economy this century”.

David Cameron warned that “earth is in peril”. And Indonesian environment and forestry minister has been quoted in the FT saying “We will be judged at Paris” for to the high-emission forest fires that have blighted the country this year.

Economic sense: Australia’s climate costs, Gates’ & Goldman’s investments, leftie conspiracy

In Australia, climate change (in the form of lost productivity from extreme heat) is costing the economy $8bn a year.

Meanwhile the Breakthrough Energy Coalition comprised of the world’s biggest tech billionaires is aiming to develop liquid hydrocarbons from sunlight.

And Goldman Sachs lays out its low-carbon investment plans, picking stocks such as Tesla, Albermarle, SolarEdge, Vestas and Gamesa – covering solar, wind and battery technology developers. The bank has said that new wind turbines and solar panels worldwide will provide more energy over the next five years than U.S. shale-oil production has over the past five.

And Philip Johnston asks in the Telegraph if global warming is a big leftie conspiracy.

Moving forward: Pricing, taxing or subsidies?

The Economist carries comment complaining that renewables are being provided subsidies without carbon pricing, which is counterproductive.

While the WSJ sees unusual alliances forming within the carbon tax debate.

Meanwhile in the US major solar firms are facing a decline in the investment tax credit (ITC) that has supported the boom in solar.

In other news

Smarter renewable power: six innovations

Stop blaming India and China for the West’s 300 years of destroying the environment

New generation wave energy: could it provide one third of Australia’s electricity?