Paris - 2015

This December, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will hold its next Conference of Parties (or COP) in Paris.  This 21st annual meeting is one of the most anticipated ever, with plenty of  expectations for a major global agreement.

The Energy Institute’s vice president for climate and technology, Stephen Eule, will be on the scene monitoring the events on behalf of the American business community.  Eule is a veteran of many COP’s and understands that for all the hype, these conferences generally produce agreements that are not legally binding.

Eule will be providing regular updates on this page on the conference, as well as his own analysis as to what it all means.  Check back for regular updates.

In the meantime, Eule has been setting the stage for the Paris COP with in depth of analysis of the U.S. commitment and how other nations are approaching the meetings.

Read our analysis of the The 1.5°C Solution here.  

The Energy Institute’s vice president for climate and technology, Stephen Eule, will be on the scene monitoring the events on behalf of the American business community. Eule is a veteran of many COP’s and will be providing regular updates on this page on the conference, as well as his own analysis as to what it all means. Check back for regular updates.

COP21 Update #3 - December 11, 2015  Here we are near the end of COP-21, and there are still lots of issues outstanding in the most recent iteration of the text of the agreement released last night (Thursday). If you’ve been following these reports, you can probably guess what they are. 

New Draft Agreement Text: The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?- December 9, 2015 After a great deal of anticipation, new draft agreement text was issued earlier today, which includes text for a draft agreement and decision.

Intellectual Property Rights Update - December 9, 2015 So although this is a significant improvement over previous language calling out IPR, it just punts the issue down the field (something that, when all is said and done, I’m sure we’ll see more of with other issues.) 

Business to UNFCCC: We Have a Lot to Offer- December 9, 2015 The business community is not asking for a role in the negotiations—that’s not our job. But whether at the institutional level, or across the UNFCCC, business input could be developed and communicated by business itself, through a process that represents all sectors and nationalities, on a voluntary basis designed to solicit and convey the full range of responsible views, something that isn’t happening now.

COP21 Update:  Chamber Warns of Efforts to Weaken Intellectual Property Rights – December 8, 2015 Intellectual property rights are once again in the dock at these talks, with India and other developing countries pushing to remove the barriers to technology transfer that IPRs are supposed to raise—a notion that’s been debunked many times.

Half Time at COP21 - December 7, 2015 With the conclusion of the first week of the UN climate change talks in Paris, known as COP-21, it’s fair to say the 196 Parties made one step forward, and one step back towards a new accord. Here’s the state of play as the second week gets underway.

Senator Corker Questions Secretary Kerry over Paris Climate Deal In a September 22 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker is demanding the Obama Administrations disclose its plans for the new climate change agreement that will be hashed out in Paris in December.

Senators to Obama Administration: “Show us the numbers!” Kudos to Republican Senators on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee for trying to get to the bottom of the Obama Administration’s international climate pledge.

Mind the Gap: The Obama Administration’s International Climate Pledge Doesn’t Add Up In recent testimony before Congress, the Energy Institute’s Karen Harbert took the Obama Administration to task for failing to explain how the country was supposed to meet the greenhouse gas emissions goal outlined in the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution—or INDC—it submitted to the United Nations. It looks like others are beginning to catch on.

Karen Harbert’s Testimony There are four main points I wish to make regarding the Obama Administration’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and related issues: (1) The U.S. INDC Lacks Basic Information to Allow a Rigorous Assessment of the Goal (2) The Commitments are Hugely Unequal (3) The Administration’s Plan is “All Pain” and (4) “No Gain”—U.S. Industries and Emissions will Just “Leak” to Other Countries

Stephen D. Eule's Testimony Stephen D. Eule's written testimony presented to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in advance of COP 21 on Examining the International Climate Negotiations.

7 Things to Know About COP21 The top 7 things you should know about the Obama Administration climate plans for COP21.

Not So Fast: EPA Chief’s Coal Comments Unhinged from Reality As with the American people it serves, the EPA owes it to the rest of the world to present an honest picture of the energy and environmental realities under which the Paris climate agreements are being negotiated. 

UNFCCC Report on Country Pledges and Global GHG Emissions: Gonna Take You Higher The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recently released Synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions, its stab at analyzing the impact country pledges will have on global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

India's Conditional Unconditional Climate Pledge India released its climate pledge on Friday, and as we expected, it doesn’t amount to much. That hasn’t stopped environmental groups from praising it, though, in hopes it will generate further momentum for a post-2020 deal in Paris later this year. Let’s face it, at this point, just about anything will do.

U.S.-China Climate Change Announcement: Something Old, Something New President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping recently issued a joint announcement on climate change. Anyone expecting to find something new in this latest release will come away sorely disappointed.

China’s INDC: Significant Effort or Business as Usual? China yesterday submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, or INDC, to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The INDC sketches China’s post-2020 commitment that is expected to be part of a new international climate change pact to be adopted in Paris

The European Union’s 2050 Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goal is Unrealistic While much of the focus has been on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets included in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted by governments to the UN, one question that lingers is what, if any, long-term emissions goal will be endorsed at the Paris meeting. The European Union is pushing a goal that would slash global GHG emissions to 60% below their 2010 level by 2050, a goal backed by other governments and many green groups.

The G7 on Climate Change: Same Old Wine . . . Same Old Bottle? Let’s face it: Breakthroughs aren’t what they used to be, especially when it comes to climate change negotiations. Take today’s G7 Leaders’ Declaration. Hailed as adding needed momentum to the UN-sponsored talks set to conclude a new international climate change agreement in Paris later this year, the joint communiqué amounts to little more than a reiteration of previous G7 positions on the same issue.