Why #COP21 won’t deliver the deal we need: Interview with Oscar Reyes

Last week, I interviewed Oscar Reyes on the background to and likely outcomes of the climate talks in Paris just wrapping up. His answers were prescient as the talks look set to deliver a decidedly insufficient agreement, one that locks in more warming shrouded in lofty rhetoric. This interview gives context to the talks and the perspective for the continued fight for climate justice.

Oscar is a Barcelona-based climate policy researcher. He works with the Institute for Policy Studies and has also been affiliated with the Transnational Institute; he has a long history of excellent critical writing and activism on climate issues.

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Michal Rozworski: What concretely is going to be debated, and what are its limits?

Oscar Reyes: In Paris, countries are trying to create a protocol that will replace the Kyoto Protocol from 1997. The Kyoto Protocol put some limits on emissions, but at the same time it brought in carbon markets and created lots of loopholes.

Is this deal going to do better than Kyoto? My guess is no. Every country will make a statement about what they want to do to reduce emissions. We know that the collective action of countries is meant to restrict warming to 2 degrees or even 1.5 degrees. What’s promised is not going to meet that target. The better outcome would be some kind of mechanism for increasing those later.

Another key piece of the COP21 talks is finance. If countries in the Global South are to not follow the kind of fossil-fuel-intensive development of the North, there needs to be some cash resources to help that transition. Under the UN climate convention, developed countries are supposed to pay these additional costs, but we know that they aren’t intending to.

They’ve started talking about a figure of around $100 billion per year, and they’re nowhere near even that. So there’s a scramble now to come up with different ways of counting this $100 billion without doing much extra, which given global flows of infrastructure investment and finance won’t be too hard.

On the other side, we have the G77, the largest grouping of developing countries, which has said this is not an acceptable definition. We’ll see where this goes but finance will be a key part of the talks.

Is there any concerted pressure from the Global South to really start shifting both rhetoric and policies at this official level this time around? (more…)

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COP21, climate inaction and corporate power

This week marks the beginning of the COP21 climate talks in Paris, the latest episode in a UN framework that has been trying, and failing, to reduce global carbon emission for over two decades now. For my first interview, I caught up with Oscar Reyes, Barcelona-based climate policy researcher, to get an overview of what to expect from the talks. Oscar works with the Institute for Policy Studies and has also been affiliated with the Transnational Institute; he has a long history of excellent critical writing and activism on climate issues.

In the second part of the episode, I speak with Shannon Daub, Communications Director for the CCPA British Columbia office. Shannon discusses the CCPA’s important new project that will trace the fossil fuel industry’s networks of money and influence across Canada, particularly the Western provinces. Climate inaction and corporate power: a key duo to examine on the eve of another summit that looks to tinker at the edges of a very dangerous status quo.

profit drown

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