Was Climate Week successful? [Recharge]

Climate Week had no shortage of speeches, pledges, and marches, but left little in the way of concrete global action on climate change. Catch up on the highlights from the march, the UN Climate Summit, and the rest of last week's events with a special Recharge on Climate Week.

Adrees Latif/Reuters/File
Climate change activists hold a banner as they lead a march of tens of thousands down 6th Avenue during the People's Climate March through Midtown, New York September 21, 2014.
Jake Turcotte/Staff

From climate change to oil prices, Recharge delivers global energy's big ideas to your inbox each weekend. Subscribe for free.

TUESDAY'S UN CLIMATE SUMMIT might most be remembered for what didn't happen and who never showed up. The leaders of two carbon giants (China, India) took a rain check, and much handwringing ensued – justifiably or not. There were speeches and pledges to act on climate change and no shortage of adjoining Climate Week events, but it all ended without a clear, unified plan for a low-carbon future.

Still, this week always sought to be a warm-up for the real climate change negotiations in Lima and Paris, and to that end, most participants appeared satisfied. Heads of state announced new progress and goals. The world's No. 2 emitter called on No. 1 to jointly lead global decarbonization efforts. Hundreds of thousands of private citizens marched in the largest ever public showing of support for renewable energy.

Perhaps most promising was the degree to which business played a role. Traditionally dry and diplomatic, this summit was awash with green pledges from Apple, Ikea, Kellogg, and a host of other multinationals. A handful of energy firms promised to reduce methane emissions – a challenge that will dog the industry as shale production spreads. Even if much of it was public relations, the corporate support is much-needed momentum for a process stuck in neutral.

In the pipeline

Monday, Sept. 29 to Tuesday, Sept. 30: NEW YORK and WASHINGTON –Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with executives of 11 top US companies, before heading to Washington for a one-on-one with President Obama, and meetings with other US officials. Having skipped out on the Climate Summit, Mr. Modi is sure to get some prodding from Mr. Obama on reining in emissions. One official told reporters the conversation would likely yield 'deliverables' on climate and energy, but that won't come easy.

Monday, Sept. 29: PARIS and THE INTERNET – IEA issues its Solar Technology Roadmaps report. As solar technology spreads, its future depends as much on grid integration as deployment. Look for the latest best practices for synching solar with existing fossil fuels.

Monday, Dec. 1 to Friday, Dec. 12: LIMA, PERU – The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties convenes for formal negotiations, and to forge a draft agreement that will serve as the basis of a vote in Paris next year. This week, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru's environment minister and president of COP20, gave the Monitor a preview.

Drill deeper

Climate change summitry's force of nature: Christiana Figueres
[The Christian Science Monitor]
UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has a daunting job: wrangling a climate agreement out of 193 countries who rarely see eye to eye on emissions targets or who should make the biggest cuts. Yet Figueres is crusading fiercely to make 2015 climate talks in Paris count, driven by a love for the planet and boundless energy.


Why climate change policy won’t hinge on international talks [Fortune]
"Spend too much time watching the international climate talks and you’ll miss the real climate action," writes Michael Levi, energy fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Focus on what’s happening in national and state capitals if you want to know what’s really going on."  

It's Climate Week. Where are Republicans?
[The Christian Science Monitor]
As Obama urged bold action at the UN Climate Summit last week, Republicans kept quiet. In the past, the GOP has blasted Obama for his green policies. But if the economy continues to recover, and the public profile of climate threats keep rising, it will open the door for bipartisanship on adaptation and renewables.

Energy sources

EY: "Having already dominated the onshore wind and utility-scale solar PV sectors, China is now setting its sights on other sectors, such as offshore wind, tidal and distributed solar."

Harvard Project on Climate Agreements: "Although the negotiations are still at a relatively early stage, it appears likely that the 2015 agreement will reflect a hybrid climate-policy architecture—one that combines top-down elements, such as for measurement (or monitoring), reporting, and verification, with bottom-up elements consisting primarily of 'nationally determined contributions'."

India environment minister Prakash Javadekar via The New York Times: "What cuts? That’s for more developed countries. The moral principle of historic responsibility cannot be washed away ... India’s first task is eradication of poverty. Twenty percent of our population doesn’t have access to electricity, and that’s our top priority. We will grow faster, and our emissions will rise."

From climate change to oil prices, Recharge delivers global energy's big ideas to your inbox each weekend. Subscribe for free.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Was Climate Week successful? [Recharge]
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today