Sustainability Reads Special — A Focus on COP21 Week 2: December 7- December 13

On Saturday, December 12th 2015 the world passed a historic international climate change agreement at the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris. After 20 years of negotiations, this is extraordinary, regardless the ambition inside the deal. If you missed the past week, we have some articles and news that highlight just what happened in the negotiations, as well as a great infographic from WRI that explains what exactly the agreement entails.

The Paris Agreement: Turning Point for a Climate Solution
According to WRI, the agreement offers “clear direction” with: (1) long-term goals and signals; (2) a commitment to return regularly to make climate action stronger; (3) a response to the impact of extreme climate events on the most vulnerable; (4) the transparency needed to ensure action takes place; and (5) finance, capacity building and technology to enable real change. Key provisions of the agreement include: long-term mitigation goals; five-year cycles of action; five-year comprehensive global stocktake; adaptation; loss and damage; finance; transparency; capacity building; and legal form. By and at WRI.

Climate coalition breaks cover in Paris to push for binding and ambitious deal
An alliance representing more than 100 countries, including both developed and developing countries, emerged on Tuesday at the UN climate negotiations. The coalition, referred to as the High Ambition Coalition, consists of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, the US and all of EU member states. Brazil also joined on Friday. Most notably, the alliance did not include China and India. The alliance was focused on achieving various things at the conference, but specifically wanted (1) the agreement at Paris to be legally binding; (2) to set a clear long-term goal on global warming that is in line with scientific advice; (3) to introduce a mechanism for reviewing countries’ emissions commitments every five years; and (4) create a unified system for tracking countries’ progress on meeting their carbon goals. This coalition was significant because it formed a major new power at the talks that wanted to come to as strong an agreement as possible. By Karl Mathiesen and Fiona Harvey .

The U.S. Doubles Down on Climate Financing and Ambition at Paris

Fairness Out, Shame in. The Psychology of the Paris Climate Talks
This year’s climate talks in Paris broke from previous years’ negotiations in various ways, including the approach that was taken to get all countries on board. The “top-down” approach favored in previous years was replaced with a “bottom-up” approach, which allowed countries to determine their own commitments they are comfortable with, without sanctions from the UN. The new approach is embedded with a new psychology as well. With the abandonment of the top-down approach, questions of fairness were sidestepped as each country could decide for themselves what they’d like to do. The bottom-up approach takes on a psychology of shame instead, where countries who fail to do their share risk jeopardizing their international reputation and negotiators will be confronted judgment at the bargaining table. By Katie Worth on PBS.

Thanks to WRI for creating this great infographic!

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