The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report
The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.
The report, released in October, was commissioned by a 2015 Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but now the roughly 200 countries gathered for the 24th conference in Katowice, Poland have failed to formally acknowledge it.
The failure hinged on language. The majority of delegates wanted to "welcome" the report, but the U.S. joined with other oil-producing countries—Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait—Saturday night to insist the report be only "noted," The Guardian reported. Because UN rules insist on consensus, delegates were therefore not able to publish any text relating to the report.
"It's not about one word or another, it is us being in a position to welcome a report we commissioned in the first place," Ruenna Haynes from St. Kitts and Nevis said, BBC News reported. "If there is anything ludicrous about the discussion it's that we can't welcome the report."
The move tenses the atmosphere for the last five days of talks at COP24, during which ministers, who arrive Monday, will work to establish a rulebook for implementing the Paris agreement to limit global warming to "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It also raises concerns that the Trump administration is evolving from simply withdrawing the U.S. from international efforts to fight climate change to actively disrupting those efforts.
"It is troubling. Saudi Arabia has always had bad behavior in climate talks, but it could be overruled when it was alone or just with Kuwait. That it has now been joined by the U.S. and Russia is much more dangerous," Union of Concerned Scientists director of strategy and policy Alden Meyer told The Guardian.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia had fought to limit the conclusions of the IPCC report when it was released in Korea earlier in the fall, but eventually agreed to let it be released as is, BBC News reported.
The scientists who worked hard on the report also expressed dismay at Saturday's failure.
"What is so disturbing in our [report] ... that four governments cannot even 'welcome' its findings?" French climate scientist Val. Masson-Delmotte asked in a Twitter thread. "A 1.5°C and a 2°C worlds are VERY different in terms of mean climate, extremes, sea level rise, and climate-related risks, with the emergence of climate change hotspots challenging basic water, food, economic security and the risk of irreversible loss of wildlife," she continued, hinting at the real-world stakes of ignoring the report.
Former UK climate negotiator Yamide Dagnet of the World Resources Institute expressed hope that the arrival of the ministers Monday would turn the tide and persuade COP24 to acknowledge the report after all.
"We hope that the rest of the world will rally and we get a decisive response to the report," Dagnet said. "I sincerely hope that all countries will fight that we don't leave COP24 having missed a moment of history."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Susan Cosier
First there was Fred Stone, the third-generation dairy farmer in Maine who discovered that the milk from his cows contained harmful chemicals. Then came Art Schaap, a second-generation dairy farmer in New Mexico, who had to dump 15,000 gallons of contaminated milk a day.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill that that bans the sale and manufacture of fur products in the state. The fur ban, which he signed into law on Saturday, prohibits Californians from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023, according to the AP.
By Simon Evans
During the three months of July, August and September, renewables generated an estimated total of 29.5 terawatt hours (TWh), compared with just 29.1TWh from fossil fuels, the analysis shows.
By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
- Mice exposed to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor developed lung cancer within a year.
- More research is needed to know what this means for people who vape.
- Other research has shown that vaping can cause damage to lung tissue.
A new study found that long-term exposure to nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of cancer in mice.
Six months: That's how much time Mexico now has to report on its progress to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) from extinction.