Articles on United Nations Climate Summit

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Christian Hartmann/Reuters

COP21: what it is and why it matters

The 2015 "Conference of Parties" in Paris will bring together 195 nations rich and poor as well as the EU to try and hammer out a definitive climate agreement. So how does it all work?
UN chief climate negotiator Christiana Figueres told a Melbourne conference Australia risks becoming an outsider at this year’s crucial Paris talks. EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN/AAP

UN climate chief: other countries are ‘further ahead than Australia’

UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has hinted that Australia risks becoming an outsider at this year's Paris climate talks if it doesn't match the ambition of many other countries' climate pledges.
Pope Francis and UN head Ban Ki-Moon, who met at the Vatican to discuss climate change, hope to influence this year’s crucial Paris climate talks. EPA/L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO/AAP

The Pope’s climate message will extend his advocacy for the poor

Pope Francis is set to release an encyclical on climate change next month, which he hopes will influence this year's Paris climate talks as well as continuing his work on behalf of the world's poorest.
Safeguarding rainforests is an area where the United Nations has made great strides - hopefully the Paris summit can deliver more of the same. Sze Ning/Flickr.com/Wikimedia Commons

A global deal that drives good decisions: what success at the Paris summit should look like

In the final part of his essay on the Paris climate talks, Nick Rowley explains how a successful deal, whether binding or not, needs to influence directly the domestic policies of the world's nations.
Hopes for a singular breakthrough at the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks were dashed, but that doesn’t mean the negotiating process isn’t making quiet progress. EPA/Henning Bagger/AAP

The Road to Paris: three myths about international climate talks

Hopes are high that a global climate deal can be reached in Paris this year. In part 1 of a three-part essay on the prospects for such a deal, Nick Rowley sets out three myths about the UN talks that need to be dumped before we go forward.
The UN at 70 - over the hill or still in its prime? UN

Five challenges for the UN in 2015

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Like all anniversaries, this is an occasion for profound reflection. To put it politely, the list of global challenges that the UN…
It would be a stretch to call the latest climate talks in Peru a raging success. EPA/COP20

Climate talks slouch towards Paris as Lima summit finally wraps up

The UN’s climate negotiations in Lima (known as COP20) over the past fortnight were held in a military compound normally used by the Peruvian Army. Each day, negotiators at the COP passed an obstacle course…
Handshakes as the Lima conference went into overtime to deliver an agreement. But there is still plenty of uncertainty about how next year’s Paris deal might look. EPA/COP20

Australia comes in from the cold as Lima deal leaves lots to do

The world is a step closer to a new climate agreement that will see all countries, not just developed ones, take action on greenhouse emissions after 2020. The two-week Lima climate summit, which ran two…
At UN climate change negotiations, human rights issues are increasingly the focus. 350.org

Talking climate change in Lima: who is pushing for what

Senior officials representing nearly 200 countries gather in Lima, Peru this week for the final stages of United Nations-led climate change talks. The meetings, which began December 1, are intended to…
Arguably for the first time, the United States and China have truly listened to one another on emissions cuts. EPA/Petar Kujundzic

US-China climate deal: at last, a real game-changer on emissions

The new US-China climate deal is a game-changer. The United States, the world’s biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cut emissions by 26-28% by 2025 relative to 2005 levels, while…
Australian coal needs to find some new customers. Stephen Codrington/Wikimedia Commons

China’s war on pollution could leave Aussie coal out in the cold

China’s recent move to limit imports of the dirtiest coal from 2015 onwards is a scary prospect for Australian miners. The proposed restrictions will ban the burning of coal with high levels of ash or…
Chinese President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will both skip the UN climate talks, but that doesn’t mean the world’s biggest emitters aren’t acting. EPA/AAP

Leaders skip UN talks as China looks to go it alone on carbon

There are a few notable absentees among the more than 120 world leaders gathered in New York for today’s United Nations Climate Summit. Perhaps most notable of all is the head of the world’s highest-emitting…
A protester at recent Australia climate change rallies in the lead up to the UN climate summit in New York. AAP Image/NEWZULU/ZOE REYNOLDS

Australia can get to zero carbon emissions, and grow the economy

Today more than 120 world leaders are gathered in New York for the Climate Leaders’ Summit. With global emissions continuing to rise, it is easy to be pessimistic. But new research released today shows…
World greenhouse emissions reached a new record in 2013 and will be even higher in 2014, driven largely by the continued use of fossil fuels such as coal. nito/Shutterstock

Global carbon report: emissions will hit new heights in 2014

As heads of state gather in New York for tomorrow’s United Nations climate summit, a new report on the state of the world’s carbon budget tells them that greenhouse emissions hit a new record last year…
Economic reforms such as a national carbon price could usher in dramatic changes on China’s energy landscape. Vmenkov/Wikimedia Commons

China heads for price on carbon; energy market overhaul is next

In the lead-up to the UN leaders’ summit on climate change, China is shifting up a gear in its drive towards national emissions trading. Yet for carbon pricing to be effective, market reform in China’s…
Economic growth is incompatible with the rapid emissions reductions that are now necessary. AAP Image/David Crosling

We need economic ‘degrowth’ to stop a carbon budget blowout

A newly released report called Better Growth, Better Climate draws the seductive conclusion that “we can create lasting economic growth while also tackling the immense risks of climate change”. But while…

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