Ah, Paris! Where the smells of history and fresh coffee mingle with every street you pass. Where the Eiffel Tower rises proudly from the face of the Earth. Where every conversation between two young people smoking cigarettes looks like a scene from an independent movie.
Getting Ready to Rock the Proverbial (and Literal) Casbah
We landed in the city with nary a hitch (save for one woman being violently and continually sick in the seat in front of us, bless her miserable soul) and immediately set about obtaining our credentials for Earth to Paris, a global event that will convene experts, advocates, CEOs and other leaders to discuss the citizen side of climate action.
We’ll be covering that event on December 7. Tomorrow we’ll don our Sunday best and hit up the World Climate Summit to rub elbows with the men and women who are working to “accelerate the green economy” with innovative solutions for reducing climate change.
Meanwhile, the official COP21 negotiations continue…with several hitches.
‘Some Hurdles’ in the Final Negotiations
On Saturday, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the body overseeing the climate negotiations, released the final draft of the Paris climate agreement. French President Francois Hollande has said the draft still lacks a decent review mechanism for monitoring countries’ emissions compliance as well as the means of transitioning developing nations off of fossil fuel and onto sustainable technologies. Hollande underlined the importance of overcoming these hurdles by noting that future generations “will be very strict when they judge what was done by heads of state here.”
Another point of contention: India, the third-largest polluter on the planet (after China and the US), said the rules governing transparency and accountability should not be the same for developed and developing nations. As I mentioned in my last note, this is one of the stickiest of the COP wickets. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pointed out, India does not have the ability to measure its automotive emissions per vehicle as accurately as the United States, putting the former nation (and those like it) at a major disadvantage.
Nations are also talking about peaking greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible,” with deeper cuts for developed countries and a longer grace period for developing ones. The Hindu reports that achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060-80 has been proposed.
OPEC Cries ‘Wee-Wee-Wee’ All the Way Home?
In unrelated but interesting news, the most recent meeting of OPEC (which may or may not be the world’s only legally-protected cartel, depending on how you define “cartel”) ended in tears. Well, not tears per se. According to the Financial Times, “After a marathon seven-hour session that ended in chaotic scenes outside the Opec secretariat in Vienna, the only agreement reached by the cartel members was to meet again in June.”
Last time the 13 major oil-producing nations got together, oil was around $60 a barrel. Now it’s at $40, and for the first time in years, the group has failed to specify a production ceiling for its product. “They have abandoned the pretense that they are producing 30 million barrels a day,” Neil Atkinson of Lloyd’s List Intelligence told FT, “and formalized the decision taken a year ago to produce as much oil as necessary to preserve market shale while leaving prices to the market place.”
OPEC members may also be watching COP21 and waiting to see how it all shakes out before they decide what their world looks like moving forward.