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Could 2015 see the world finally agree a historic climate deal?

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Talks on climate change in Paris in 2015 could be the breakthough moment, according to IPPR’s expert on international climate change, writing for the Left Foot Forward blog. He outlines how the political conditions for reaching a pact on climate change have been transformed since 2009, which saw the historic failure of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. Key to this are stronger commitments from President Obama and the EU.

Joss Garman, IPPR Senior Research Fellow, said: “In his second term President Obama, together with Secretary of State John Kerry, is leading the global effort. Investing a staggering $90 billion in clean energy, his administration has also overseen a doubling in home grown renewable energy generation. As importantly, Obama has made climate change one of his top foreign policy priorities. Success of US diplomacy on the issue was visible again last month when the climate sceptic Australian government, under intense pressure from Obama at the recent G20 summit over their Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to isolate Australia on the issue, backed down and donated to a UN global fund designed to help developing countries use cleaner technologies. Later this month, Obama will fly to Delhi to continue his diplomatic offensive.

“Alongside these new commitments from the world’s biggest polluters, Europe also just agreed for the first time since 2007 to up its game.  The EU will put into law a doubling of cuts in carbon pollution between 2020 and 2030, and leaders have left open the door to go further if there is an international agreement reached in Paris. New analysis published in December shows that if all existing government promises on climate change are met, global temperatures would still rise by around three degrees – beyond the threshold at which impacts become dangerous and irreversible.”

“At the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 world leaders pledged $100bn a year by 2020 to help poorer countries develop more cleanly. Since then donor countries, mired in the financial crisis, have failed to set out how this money will be raised and when governments can expect to see any of it. Without resolution on this key issue the meeting in Paris could yet collapse because many developing countries will argue that they cannot sign up to carbon cuts without knowing how much assistance they will receive to help them industrialise more cleanly. Allowing another momentous failure to pan out in Paris as it did in Copenhagen would likely prove terminal for the UN climate process, and risks prompting years more inaction that the world cannot afford. Yet securing some robust, common global rules to provide a framework for ramping down carbon pollution faster and faster in coming years as the cost of clean technologies continues to fall is an eminently possible outcome from Paris.”.

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