Dec 2, 2019

UN climate summit opens on heels of sobering emissions data

Photo: Pierre- Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

COP25, a big United Nations climate summit, opens Monday in Madrid, Spain.

Why it matters: It follows fresh reports in recent days showing how the world is far off track from even beginning the steep emissions cuts needed to meet the Paris agreement's goals.

What we're watching: Negotiators will be trying to tackle outstanding decisions about how to implement the Paris deal. A big one is rules for international carbon credit markets.

  • "The issue is paramount to the integrity of the Paris Agreement and negotiators have warned that weak rules could undermine the entire accord and even lead to an increase in emissions," Climate Home News reports.

The big picture: More broadly, the summit is aimed at pushing big polluters to raise their ambition ahead of submitting revised emissions pledges next year.

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres, at a press conference yesterday, said global efforts have been "utterly inadequate."
  • "In the crucial 12 months ahead, it is essential that we secure more ambitious national commitments — particularly from the main emitters — to immediately start reducing greenhouse gas emissions at a pace consistent to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050," he said.

The intrigue: The Trump administration, which is abandoning the agreement, is not sending high-profile officials or top White House aides to the talks.

  • The U.S. delegation is led by Marcia Bernicat, the principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
  • However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is there today with a group of Democratic lawmakers.

Go deeper: Once a critic, Chamber of Commerce now backs Paris climate agreement

Go deeper

UN climate emergency talks limp on

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Negotiations at COP25, the 25th United Nations Climate Change conference, continued into the night Saturday as "major economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments," Reuters reports from the Madrid summit.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Ben Geman: This impasse shows how hard it's proving to transform the Paris climate agreement's vision into more concrete steps. It comes as the harms of the changing climate become more apparent in the present.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Dec 15, 2019

Global carbon emissions rise again — but more slowly

A chimney of a brick factory emits smoke during sunset in Jalandhar, India, 2018. Photo: Shammi Mehra/AFP via Getty Images

The growth of global carbon dioxide emissions slowed this year as coal consumption dipped, per new data from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project.

Why it matters: It underscores how the emissions trajectory is nowhere close to the steep cuts scientists say are needed in the years and decades ahead to meet the goals of the Paris climate deal.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019

A half-empty glass on emissions

Data: Global Carbon Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

A major new report on global carbon dioxide emissions growth is largely bad news, but if you squint you can find some (rather small) bright spots.

Driving the news: The rate of increase decelerated this year as coal consumption dipped and economic growth slowed, but emissions still hit a record high, per new data from a research consortium called the Global Carbon Project.

Go deeperArrowDec 4, 2019