Paris, France – Tuesday, December 1, 2015: After 130 Heads of State delivered statements hailing the momentum behind a global climate deal, presenting new renewable energy and finance commitments, and laying out the dire need for ambitious action, the question now becomes whether negotiators can pick up that positive vision and find accord on critical issues.
The major initiatives announced include an African solar energy commitment; an international solar alliance launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande; a major private partnership for renewable energy development; and a public initiative launched by 20 countries to double their current existing funding for renewable R&D over five years. Also, a group of 43 developing countries that are highly vulnerable to climate impacts issued a strong call for a long-term goal of total global decarbonization and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
These declarations, announcements, and initiatives illustrated the depth of high-level commitment to signing a successful, comprehensive, and universal climate deal at the end of these next two weeks in Paris. It remains to be seen how these speeches will affect the spin-off groups and text-based negotiations currently taking place, where gaps remain on key issues.
On the ground in Paris, CAN members made the following comments:
"Developing countries won the day, and it was refreshing to hear again a concrete call for ambitious action. India came to play ball—they’re not here to disrupt the talks, they want an agreement, and they’ve shown flexibility on issues like the stocktake. Despite all the positive energy and announcements on things like finance for least developed countries, however, there weren’t enough concrete offers and breakthroughs on key components. The rhetoric is set. The question now is whether the negotiators and ministers will deliver."
-Liz Gallagher, E3G
"While two degrees will protect most people, most countries, and most ecosystems, it will not protect them all. If we want to protect everyone, we need to set the target at 1.5 degrees. If we set the target at 2 degrees, roughly 100 million people will fall through that crack—most, but not all, in developing countries. Globally, there is sufficient technology and sufficient money, but there is insufficient political will. We have 13 days to develop the political will."
-Saleemul Huq, ICCCAD
"Renewables are here in Paris in a big way – vulnerable countries want the Paris Agreement to deliver a global 100% renewable energy goal, India launched a solar alliance to boost the technology in poor countries and Africa committed to 300GW of clean power by 2030. If you'd asked anyone in Beijing a couple of years ago whether coal consumption would fall within the next ten years, no-one would have believed it possible. But it fell last year by 2.9% and is falling even more, with an accelerated take-up in renewables. That shows just how fast change can happen." Li Shuo, Greenpeace China