Slow Walking the COP21 talks

Slow Walking the COP21 talks

Another busy day here in Paris and Le Bourget, but negotiations of real substance are still slow to take shape.

Just for fun here’s a quick version of the Walk into the conference site’s ‘Green Zone’ called the climate generations space. It’s free and open to the public, and is an easy space where anyone can come in and attend a lecture or stop by a table to get more info on aspects of the climate crisis. It’s also next door to where the world’s diplomats and climate wonks are hard at work on the actual COP21 treaty, which Barack Obama set a high bar for today when he said “I am convinced that we are going to get big things done here.” Diplomats, experts and others frequently flit between the negotiating space the the Green Zone for press events, or just to grab a bite to eat – so this is where we’ll be spending most of our time this week.

Some other news related to the talks: back home in the states:

  • We’re carefully watching a series of votes on energy and climate in the Congress. The House just concurred on a bill to repeal the President’s Clean Power Plan — over the strong objections of thousands of Environmental Action members. Not to worry though, the president is on his way back to DC right now where he’s promised to veto the bill.
  • Next up will be a truly terrible House Energy bill, stuffed full of bad ideas that profit the oil and fracking industries at the expense of our people and planet.
  • Hot on the heels of that House bill, which is not expected to go anywhere right away in the Senate, will be a series of votes on a year-end-spending bill. This so-called “Omnibus” bill must be passed by Dec 11 or the government will shut down again, which means we don’t have a lot of time. And there are a bunch of scary ideas floating around as potential ‘riders’ or ‘attachments’ to that bill:
    • The Green Climate Fund. Before he left, President Obama re-iterated his pledge to contribute $3 billion into the Green Climate Fund, but he did not say whether he’d veto omnibus spending legislation if it doesn’t include money for the fund. This is a key sticking point at the Paris negotiations, where many of the global-south leaders are refusing to endorse a deal that does include clear and strong calls to support their nations in leapfrogging over the coal and oil age and into a clean energy future for all. President Obama met with some of those leaders – in particular those from Pacific Island nations like the Maldives “I understand both the beauty, but also the fragility” of the islands, he told the gathering. “Their populations are amongst the most vulnerable to the ravages of climate change,” the president said. Click here to take action.
    • Crude Oil Exports. Despite objections from tens of thousands of Environmental Action members and many others, we expect the idea of lifting the 40 year ban on crude oil exports will get attached to both the House Energy bill and at least some versions of the Senate Omnibus bill. That’s a bad idea, and Congressional climate deniers know it. But what’s more disturbing is that some of usually-staunch climate allies in the Senate may be considering a deal to go along with that. We’re watching this one closely, and you can take immediate action by emailing your Senators here.
  • Kerry calls for an #ExxonKnew investigation: Secretary of State John Kerry endorsed our campaign calling for a federal investigation into whether Exxon lied about climate science. The Secretary’s support adds to what we already have from Democratic Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders,and he specifically said that the Exxon had behaved “like RJ Reynolds” and the tobacco industry’s communications about the risks of its product, which eventually lead to a Federal RICO investigation and massive fines.