The Paris climate talks: Yes oui can!

On Monday, November 30, 2015, roughly 40,000 heads of state, diplomats, scientists, activists, policy experts, and journalists will descend on an airport in the northern Paris suburbs for the biggest meeting on climate change since at least 2009 — or maybe ever. The summit is organized by the United Nations and is primarily aimed at producing an agreement that will serve as the world’s blueprint for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the impacts of global warming. This is a major milestone in the climate change saga, and it has been in the works for years.

At the heart of the summit are the core negotiations, which are off-limits to the public and journalists. Like any high-stakes diplomatic summit, representatives of national governments will sit in a big room and parse through pages of text, word by word. The most important part of the document is the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are commitments made individually by each country about how they plan to reduce their carbon footprints.

The United States, for example, has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, mostly by going after carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Nearly every country on Earth has submitted an INDC, together covering about 95 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The INDCs will be plugged in to a core agreement, the final text of which will be hammered out during the negotiations. It will likely include language about how wealthy nations should help pay for poor nations’ efforts to adapt to climate change; how countries should revise and strengthen their commitments over time; and how countries can critically evaluate each other’s commitments.

Full coverage here…

 

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