What might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

What are the implications for South Africa of the Paris Agreement on climate change? Here is my initial take, following an earlier assessment of the contents of the Agreement The Paris Agreement is characterised by much broader participation than the Kyoto Protocol. Much more will be required for South Africa, together with all other countries, in terms of regularly communicating contributions. These contributions will be ‘nationally determined’, but subject to strong international review at the individual and collective level. This… Read moreWhat might the Paris Agreement mean for South Africa?

Paris Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb

Late on Saturday 12 December, a new Climate Agreement was adopted in Paris. Here is my take on the key elements. Be warned, it is a longish read – but then climate is a complex, super-wicked problem. And solving it is not easy. The key points are in bold … As Nelson Mandela said on his long walk to freedom: “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to… Read moreParis Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb

Geneva was quick – but how deep will Paris go?

Climate negotiators almost pride themselves on talks going beyond the deadline. So when the most recent round finished its main task, to agree elements of a draft negotiating text, on Day 3 of six, there was confusion. In a mild panic attack, the collective unconscious said “What do we do now?” Various reasons may have contributed to fast work. The new Co-Chairs (from the US and Algeria) cracked the whip, with a refreshingly business-like style. The G77& China, chaired this… Read moreGeneva was quick – but how deep will Paris go?

How low can you go? Climate talks in Lima

Climate negotiations in Lima[1] last week decided on national contributions – with light information and very weak scrutiny. It did put together the elements of a deal in Paris, though differences on detail remain large. But with lack of adequate long-term finance, and a refusal to balance support of adaptation and mitigation, Lima did not make reaching in a deal in Paris easier. INDCs: Intended nationally determined contributions A major outcome expected from Lima was to specify “contributions” by countries… Read moreHow low can you go? Climate talks in Lima

US-China: Going in the right direction, but far and fast enough?

The US and Chinese Presidents announced on 11 Nov 2014 that the US is to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025 China is to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to peak earlier, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20% by 2030. The annoucements were a concerted move by the two largest economies in the world, and so has undoubted political significance. They have potential to create momentum… Read moreUS-China: Going in the right direction, but far and fast enough?

Unless we change high-emissions development path, high risk of irreversible climate change

The latest climate science affirms again that warming of the climate system is “unequivocal”. If we don’t change our high-emission development paths, even if we try to adapt, warming by 2011 “will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally (high confidence)”. The IPCC’s synthesis report makes clear that the time for action is rapidly running out. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assesses the state of knowledge of climate change every five… Read moreUnless we change high-emissions development path, high risk of irreversible climate change

Majuba coal silo collapses and pushes grid to the edge

1-2 Nov 2014 A coal silo at Majuba power station collapsed, which seems to lead to disruption with 1800 of its 3842 MW. Majuba had problems with coal seams earlier, but its 3843 MW capacity had been running at 97% average availability over the last three years; according to Eskom. Eskom announced 8752MW “unplanned outages” last week. With another 1800 MW at Majuba out, about 25% of its power stations are broken Anton Eberhard has suggested commission on inquiry as… Read moreMajuba coal silo collapses and pushes grid to the edge

Backwards Australians on carbon pricing

Source: AFP

Tony Abbot has fulfilled his campaign promised and repealed Australia’s carbon pricing mechanism (CPM). What his Coalition Party has misnamed a ‘carbon tax’  and made a political football. The cost to the climate will be paid by future generations, including Australians. It takes a huge step backward for Australia doing its fair share. A sad day for the climate. The ‘carbon tax’ was in fact a very well-designed emissions trading scheme, which in its first phase had fixed prices. New… Read moreBackwards Australians on carbon pricing

NAAA, I want my MMAA!

Ah, some more of my favourite things, new acronyms! This time for the UNSG’s Climate Summit 2014. NAAA: National Action and Ambition Announcements. MMAA: Multilateral and Multi-stakeholder Action Announcements. NAAAs take place in the morning, MMAAs in the afternoon. Participation at UN headquarters is by invitation only, and no side events – shocking! Action and ambition behind closed doors? The rest of us get to follow a Climate Week – or can watch on web-cast at webtv.un.org. But quibbles aside,… Read moreNAAA, I want my MMAA!

Of INDCs, elements and plumbing

The UNFCCC climate negotiations in Bonn focused in the big picture on national contributions, the 2015 agreement and rather fuzzily on pre-2020 ambition. The is the work in the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), and lest one forgets, there are two standing Subsidiary Bodies keeping on building the ‘plumbing’ of the Convention on many detailed issues. The future of the climate regime attracts attention, but the devil– and sometimes perhaps also the solution… Read moreOf INDCs, elements and plumbing