Watch out. COP21 is coming.
Reuters has reported comments by Laurence Tubiana, the French envoy to COP21, quoting her as saying that delegates remain divided over fundamental issues, one of which is the framework for measuring carbon emissions – with oil-producing nations arguing that the focus should not only be on fossil fuels but also on emissions from agriculture and other sectors. Tubiana also said current negotiations pointed to a deal that would put the planet on a path to exceeding the 2 degree C threshold – but we knew that. There have been some advances, she said, "although they are difficult to spot". It seems that some 154 out of the 195 participating countries have submitted their national programmes to reduce emissions. That already counts as "a success", Tubiana says, even if it's not enough to put the planet on the path to limit warming.
Meanwhile, the Telegraph's AEP, under the heading: "Paris climate deal to ignite a $90 trillion energy revolution", is reporting that submissions to COP21 from governments amount to the death knell for the fossil fuel companies (and trouble for those economies utterly dependent on the business). Here's a taste:
"Taken together, they commit the world to a reduction in fossil fuel demand by 30 – 40% over the next 20 years, and this is just the start of a revolutionary shift to net zero emissions by 2080 or thereabouts. “It is unstoppable. No amount of lobbying at this point is going to change the direction,” said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate official.
Yet the energy industry is still banking on ever-rising demand for its products as if nothing has changed. BP is projecting a 43% increase in fossil fuel use by 2035, Exxon expects 35% by 2040, Shell 43% and Opec is clinging valiantly to 55%. These are pure fiction. "
Of course, submissions are one thing – promises is all they are – following through is quite another. And these are promises from outfits that are not good at doing what they say. However, Climate Action features a report by FTI Consulting which predicts that 59GW of wind energy capacity will have been installed by the end of 2015, and that between 2015 and 2019, installations are expected to reach 264GW, with total wind installations for the 2015-2024 period now expected to reach 592GW globally. All this adds substance to AEP's confidence, and chimes well with another bright spot that I noted last week: PWC suggestion that there's evidence that GDP has become decoupled from carbon emissions.
Will you be at Paris? I shall not, though I know those who will be joining the carnival of NGOs clustering round the COP fringes, talking to each other, dining well, and generally getting in the way. Personally, I think I might go down to the coast for a sobering walk in the wind.