Articles on Climate negotiations

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The stage is set for a climate agreement - although it may be political rather than legal. EPA/Yoan Valat/AAP

Will the Paris agreement be legally binding?

Probably not, but that might be for the best if it encourages countries to be more ambitious in their commitments, rather than playing it safe to avoid falling foul of legal obligations.
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?
The Copenhagen talks generated huge interest - but an underwhelming result. EPA/Jens Norgaard Larsen

The Conversation heads to the Paris climate talks

The stakes could scarcely be higher at December's climate summit in Paris, described as the world's best chance of averting climate catastrophe. The Conversation will be there to see if the talks can deliver.
India’s main aim is to get electricity to more of the population - using renewables where possible. Jorge Royan/Wikimedia Commons

India chooses electricity and economics over emissions goals

India has pledged to ramp up renewable energy and make its economy more carbon-efficient. And while that will help cut emissions, the main motivation is to give power to the many who still lack access to electricity.
Malcolm Turnbull, as a former investment banker, should be able to feel the prevailing global winds around climate finance. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Australia’s climate policy is messier than a teenager’s bedroom, but is Turnbull the man to tidy it up?

After years of squabbling over climate policy, do we now have a prime minister prepared to clean up the mess? Given a fair wind at the Paris summit and an election win, Turnbull might just pull it off.
Ros Kelly was the first in a long line of federal ministers to address themselves to the question of Australia’s emissions target. AAP Image/Lee Besford

25 years ago the Australian government promised deep emissions cuts, and yet here we still are

When Australia's government first pledged to set an emission-reduction target, Jon Bon Jovi was riding high in the charts. The progress made in the 25 years since has hardly been a blaze of glory.
The US EPA’s Clean Power Plan will cut power sector emissions 32% by 2030. EPA/Justin Lane/AAP

Obama’s new climate plan is leadership fuel for other nations

President Obama's new targets for emissions from electricity are a crucial step towards a credible US climate policy. And where the United States leads, others are more likely to follow.
Last week’s G7 meeting showed that turning our backs on fossil fuels altogether is no longer a fringe idea. Michael Keppeler/EPA/AAP Image

We can quibble over timescales, but real climate progress is afoot

Advocates of climate action have been saying it for years - we need to wean ourselves off fossil fuels completely. And now, the leaders of the world's richest countries have started saying the same.
The latest climate talks in Bonn, Germany, unexpectedly agreed to a mechanism for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. CIFOR/Flickr

Bonn climate summit brings us slowly closer to a global deal

The mid year Bonn negotiations for the proposed new global agreement to tackle climate change have just concluded. They will be finalised at the end of the year in Paris. What progress is being made? What are the challenging issues that may end up being a focus of negotiations in Paris? What does the roadmap from here look like?
Australia has faced tough questions over whether it is doing its part to cut greenhouse emissions. CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Australia in the spotlight at climate talks, for all the wrong reasons

Australia's grilling by other major nations at this week's climate talks in Bonn show that it still has serious questions to answer over the scope of its greenhouse emissions-reduction targets.
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.
UN lead climate negotiator Christiana Figueres (second from left) has been hailed as having the dynamism needed to drive the Paris talks. EPA/AAP

Why the Paris climate talks won’t be another Copenhagen

The much-hyped 2009 Copenhagen climate summit yielded only a flimsy accord. But, as Nick Rowley writes in part 2 of his three-part essay on the 2015 Paris climate talks, there are several reasons why this year won't see another flop.
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.

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