"How China, the US and Others Watered Down a Key UN Climate Document"

"A behind-the-scenes account of the political horse-trading, published by Earth Negotiations Bulletin, shows how national interests were reflected in the influential document."

"China, the US, Saudi Arabia and Norway are among countries that have significantly changed a United Nations document that will shape global climate policy for years to come, according to a record of international negotiations ahead of the publication thereof. The report published this week was written by Earth Negotiations Bulletin, the only news organization allowed to attend the proceedings when 195 countries met to approve a summary of climate science findings from the past five years. The paper they debated, intended to advise policymakers, is separate from the much longer Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which is purely technical and not vetted line by line by country negotiators. fossil fuels threaten human well-being and the stability of much of life on Earth, with the most serious consequences likely to quickly become out of reach. One of the most controversial conclusions was that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 60% and carbon dioxide pollution must be reduced by 65% ​​by 2035 from 2019 levels to have a 50% chance of halting global temperature rise. within 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. That’s the goal world leaders agreed to in the landmark Paris Agreement and what scientists say is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Chinese negotiators successfully lobbied to remove a reference to those exact reductions in the final summary for policymakers, ENB reported, though agreeing to include the numbers in an adjacent chart. China, the world’s largest emitter of global warming gases on an annual basis, aims to reach peak emissions before 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2060. A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a belated request for comment. afternoon in Beijing.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, was “strongly opposed” to the inclusion of a sentence stating that fossil fuel use is the “root cause” of climate change, according to ENB. The Middle Eastern country also objected to several references to the challenges faced by technologies designed to suck carbon from the atmosphere, the ENP report said. Finally, one reference was included. Saudi Arabia has been a strong proponent of carbon capture technology, which would theoretically allow more fossil fuels to be burned while maintaining the temperature limit of the Paris Agreement. But the process is extremely energy-intensive and expensive, and has yet to reach the scale needed to reduce emissions quickly enough. Climate models show that reducing the use of highly polluting fuels this decade would be a more effective way to tame emissions. A spokesman for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment."

Laura Millan and Eric Roston report for Bloomberg March 23, 2023.

Source: Bloomberg, 03/24/2023