Sustainability Reads Special– A Focus on COP21: November 23- December 6

With the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change starting last Monday, November 30 in Paris, we are focusing our Sustainability Reads on COP21 occurrences and updates.

Paris talks creep towards agreement in final week, but deal could be ‘watered down’
With one week done and one left to go, the climate talks in Paris aren’t as super-charged as many had hoped, with little concrete progress and continued disagreements on most issues. Yet negotiators are still confident. US special envoy for climate change Todd Stern said that a high-ambition coalition was being formed by many countries and that the US was focused on getting a strong agreement. The most contentious issues have been whether or not to mention that the latest science says the world should be aiming to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees (India and Saudi Arabia rejecting to), getting big developing countries to financially help poor countries, and monitoring countries’ commitments every five years. In the final agreement there is likely to be some trade-offs regarding these issues. By Lenore Taylor at The Guardian.

The World Takes to the Streets Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
Sunday, November 29th, the day before the first day of the Paris climate talks, people took to the streets all over the world. Marches, rallies, films, concerts and bike rides took in solidarity for meaningful action at this year’s talks.  Australia, the Philippines, Tanzania, China, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Vietnam, Uganda, Brazil and Colombia were are just some of the countries where citizens came out to march and demand their leaders for the end of fossil fuels. On EcoWatch.com.

China says it will cut power sector emissions 60% by 2020
On Wednesday December 2nd, the third day of climate negotiations in Paris, China announced that they would cut emissions of major pollutants in the power sector by 60 percent by 2020, while also reducing reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power generation by 180 million tonnes by 2020. Although this is linked to the emissions standards announced in 2014, it is said to harmonize the efforts nationally,throughout China to cut emissions through coal-fired plants. Reuters.

Amazon deforestation report is major setback for Brazil ahead of climate talks
Statistics released from Brazil’s ministry of the environment last week showed deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon was up by 16% of the previous 12 months. Satellite data revealed that 5,831 square kilometers of land was cut down or burned in the Brazilian Amazon (or about seven times the area of New York City) between August 2014 and 2015. It is the second acceleration of deforestation in three years, after a decade of decline. This will prove problematic for Brazil at the Paris climate talks, and worse for climate change, where deforestation is a major factor.  Brazil has committed to zero illegal deforestation by 2030, although conservationists say much of the Amazon will be done by then. By Jonathan Watts at The Guardian.

Stay tuned for another Sustainability Reads COP21 Special next week, with news from the second and final week of the UN climate talks in Paris.

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