There may be a climate agreement as soon as Thursday, as the French government has insisted on seeing a deal adopted in time for the summit’s end on Friday. The goalposts for a deal have changed almost daily since the start of the conference, however, which means the agreement runs the risk of lowering ambitions for the sake of reaching a consensus just to wrap things up in time. And there’s one area that could make or break a strong agreement: the five-year reviews meant to ramp up domestic climate targets, so the lower ambitions of today aren’t locked in for the next 20 years.
The only problem is if the five-year stocktaking comes too late to be meaningful. “What’s happened over the last two days is we’ve seen that cycle, that idea of coming back every five years, beginning to fall off the table,” World Wildlife Fund Vice President of Climate Change Lou Leonard told the New Republic. The importance of timing and transparency for these five-year reviews can’t be understated.
Here’s our progress report on COP21. Blue bars indicate progress toward the goals, compared to yesterday, red bars indicate backward momentum, and gray bars indicate no change:
Here’s a roundup of the biggest news from around the conference:
- Reporting from Paris, Jonathan M. Katz writes that climate deniers from the Heartland Institute could not stay away from COP21, holding a nearby “counter-conference.” (New Republic)
- Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, explains how climate change is the stuff of nightmares. (New Republic)
- More countries, including developed nations, look to a potential 1.5 degrees of warming target. (Washington Post)
- North Korea declares war on deforestation, but the country is still cozy with coal. (New Republic)
- Global emissions dropped in 2015 due to a reduction in China’s coal burning and a growing global reliance on renewable energy. (Slate)
- Activist group Avaaz, which organized the Global Climate March, is still making its voice heard in Paris. This time the group is using “WANTED” posters of “climate criminals.” (New Republic)
- Why “loss and damage” became a buzzword at the climate talks. (Grist)
- Go down the bracket rabbit hole. (New York Times)
- Development groups are now considering climate change to be an integrated part of humanitarian goals. (Time)
- Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China, and India dispute two key sentences in the draft text that would limit investments in carbon-intensive energy. (Climate Change News)
- Developed countries come down on Saudi Arabia for the country’s unwillingness to agree to a ratchet mechanism or aim for decarbonization. (The Guardian)
Read our previous progress reports: