Beijing Blanketed In Heavy Smog

From Kyla in Paris

Things are more “dynamic” this week. We’re starting to see groups of countries within the G77 (such as the small island nations, the Africa group and the Latin American group) starting to voice their political concerns more directly – many of these are around the issue of getting an ambitious text — a new draft is expected mid-week.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia won another Fossil of the Day yesterday for calling for ‘no discrimination’ against any form of energy sources, including fossil fuels.

Today at COP21 is gender day with several events focusing on this issue. Nick Stern will also be speaking on the credibility of the INDCs. And there will also be a discussion on “do we prepare for a peak or for impacts beyond 2C” of warming?

Top stories

COP21: Optimism, tough targets and falling global emissions data

The news coming from the climate talks is fairly upbeat, with some of the world’s biggest polluters in agreement that the warming limit should be 1.5C, rather than 2C, report Suzanne Goldenberg and John Vidal. There’s recognition that the talks are just that – talks – and BBC News carries a video about what happens if the climate conference fails.

In general the optimism is high through the “last lap”, with anticipation of ambitious funding plans for developing nations to clean up their economies taking shape and business leaders also supporting the 1.5C goal.

Clean energy investors are seeing little immediate benefit from the promises however, and believe that they won’t filter through to the markets until 2021. And the UK energy secretary Amber Rudd has indicated that Britain will fail to achieve all its objectives in the talks.

And new data suggests that global emissions are likely to stall and even decline slightly this year, write Matt McGrath on the BBC, Alex Morales on Bloomberg and Pilita Clark in the FT from Paris.

Energy markets: 7-year low in oil price drags down FTSE and Wall St, “tax carbon $15/tonne”, says oligarch

US stocks fell on Monday as oil prices slid to their lowest point in nearly seven years. The FTSE also suffered as oil companies Shell and BP dropped 4% and 3.3% respectively.

And Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska calls emissions targets “balderdash” as he suggests the only way for emissions to fall meaningfully is to instigate a global carbon tax, starting at about £15 a tonne. This is not part of the discussions at the moent, despite the enthusiasm for such a system from six of Europe’s leading oil and gas companies and other corporations who are keen to see a global carbon trading agreement.

China smog and solar; India coal expansion

Beijing has raised the red alert over its smog – suspending schools, restricting car travel and banning outdoor barbecuing and fireworks. This is the first ever red alert for pollution in effect in Beijing.

Adam Rose from Reuters reports that China could finally be cracking the urban and suburban solar market thanks to a new funding model that allows buyers to get panels installed for free. China and other nations committed to environmental programs have turned to California to see how its done, where popular new models for renewables proliferation often originate. And China has called on the EU to scrap tariffs for solar PV exports.

The drop in emissions from the EU was cancelled out by Indian coal expansion, reports Emily Gosden from Paris. India will determine both the coal and solar market, according to Henry Hewitt from Oilprice.com.

And India yesterday announced a programme to open eight more long-term ecological observatories to study climate change. The news comes just after the weekend floods devastated Chennai killing hundreds of people.

In other news

Africa: Renewable energy drive that could make continent world’s cleanest

UK: Heavily polluting ‘diesel farms’ to make millions from subsidies, IPPR warns

Food security: Climate change breeds perfect storm of food woes.

Australia: Small is beautiful: the community solar projects taking on big energy

Scotland: Nine firms apply for Scottish fracking rights