By Gideon Rachman
The relative strengths of nationalism and internationalism were tested in France over the weekend. And this time the internationalists came out ahead. In Paris, Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister, was able to bring down his flashy green gavel and announce that almost 200 nations had agreed a climate change deal.
What hope for the Paris climate talks?
How much progress is likely at this week’s global talks on combating climate change? Gideon Rachman discusses the prospects for agreement on reducing carbon emissions with Michael Stothard and Martin Sandbu.
The latest round of global talks on climate change, dubbed COP21, begins today in Paris. Environmental campaigners want leaders to agree on emissions cuts, with the goal of limiting temperature increases to 2C.
However, prospects of a deal remain uncertain, in part because rich and poorer nations are struggling to agree on how those cuts should be paid for. Developing countries believe that those who have already become wealthy on the back of burning fossil fuels should shoulder most of the financial burden.
Read our bluffer’s guide to the talks here.
The US climate change divide
As world powers prepare to negotiate a new global accord on greenhouse gas emissions in Paris, one of the big questions is what happens in the US, the world’s second biggest emitter. Ben Hall discusses the issue with Pilita Clark and Demetri Sevastopulo.
A breakthrough in the fight against climate change
The US and China surprised the world last week with an outline agreement in which both countries agreed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Gideon Rachman is joined by Pilita Clark, FT environment correspondent, and Paul Bledsoe, senior fellow on climate and energy in the German Marshall Fund in Washington, to discuss how big a breakthrough it is.
US and China taking climate change seriously
Gideon Rachman is joined by Pilita Clark, environment correspondent, and Richard McGregor, Washington bureau chief, to discuss renewed efforts to tackle climate change. The Obama administration appears to have succeeded in making climate change a public health issue, and has set a target of reducing US power plant emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. Meanwhile rumours abound that China could include strict targets in its next five year plan, although sustaining economic growth remains its priority.
By Scheherazade Daneshkhu
Some good news for a change. Food security - the availability and affordability of food – has got better, according to research published on Wednesday.
The 66-page report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by DuPont, the chemicals company, found that despite last year’s freak weather patterns - drought in California, heatwaves in Australia and floods in Russia – food security improved in almost three-quarters of the world’s countries. Read more
By Toby Luckhurst
Europe is beset by rising energy prices, driven by the increasing competitiveness of shale production in the US, political commitments to lower emissions and an over-reliance on Russia in the wake of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
Britain’s Big Six, the six dominant energy companies, face accusations of overcharging, but they in turn claim that prohibitive emissions targets and governmental “green levies” are to blame for the price increase. While the US is benefiting from a shale gas boom that is predicted to give it an edge over both the EU and China for the next two decades, fracking is struggling to take off in Europe due to high costs, geological difficulties and public ambivalence to the environmentally destructive production methods. European politicians are considering abandoning the 2030 renewable energy targets in light of these high costs.
These articles analyse the causes of and possible solutions to Europe’s energy crisis. Read more
Sunny Stockholm – Getty
Stockholm looks bright and brisk today, unlike some of the scientists and government officials who were heading into a large brick conference centre on the city’s waterfront at 8am this morning.
They had been working through the night until 2:30am to finalise the most comprehensive climate science report in six years for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The bulk of the report is finished, having been drafted by 259 scientists from 39 countries over the last four years, with the help of more than 600 contributing authors.
The Stockholm meeting, which started on Monday and is closed to the public and journalists, is finishing its most widely-read section: a 31-page summary for policymakers that governments have to approve before release, in consultation with some of the scientists who wrote it.
The summary is based on the larger report and its basic conclusion – that human influence on the climate caused most of the global warming recorded since 1951 – cannot change.
But the way its many findings are expressed are very much up for debate and with just one day left before the summary is due to be released on Friday morning, delegates are braced for another long night tonight. Read more
Climate change special: should we be worried by the latest findings on global warming?
As the world’s leading climate scientists gather in Stockholm to discuss new findings on climate change, Clive Cookson, science editor, is joined by environmental correspondent Pilita Clark and Simon Buckle, policy director at Imperial College’s Grantham Institute of Climate Change, to discuss climate sensitivity and the steps that the international community must take to mitigate against global warming.