Most oil majors still mum on Paris climate pact
Many of the world's major oil and gas companies are still grappling with how to respond to the international climate change agreement that 195 nations struck in Paris last month, interviews with several industry officials revealed.
Asked to discuss the U.N. deal to slash global greenhouse gas emissions -- which could threaten the very existence of the traditional energy industry -- top multinational oil corporations shared few details. Most were vague and some were nonresponsive to questions about how and whether the agreement will affect their long-term business plans.
Obama team takes a victory lap, hails 'drama-free' agreement
The U.N. climate change talks that concluded with a global agreement last month were relatively boring, a top Obama administration adviser said yesterday. That, he argued, was why they were successful.
Paul Bodnar, the National Security Council's senior director for energy and climate change, said the Paris summit afforded few of the anecdotes that gave color to past conferences.
Republicans still hunting a way forward on landmark climate deal
If Republicans are preparing to launch an offensive against the historic climate change agreement the Obama administration struck in Paris last month, they're being awfully quiet about it.
While die-hard congressional opponents of President Obama's climate policies did respond to the mid-December news that nearly 200 nations had accepted a long-sought deal, those statements were fewer and less vitriolic than expected -- especially considering that the White House was claiming the accord as a cornerstone of the president's climate legacy.
U.S. climate envoy praises China and France for Paris deal
Nearly a week after world leaders in Paris struck a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Todd Stern, the United States' lead negotiator, is still getting standing ovations.
The lanky, bespectacled lawyer who has led the Obama administration's team at international climate negotiations for nearly seven years reflected on the build-up to the latest U.N. conference on climate change at the Brookings Institution yesterday. The room filled to standing room only quickly.
How Moniz pushed energy innovation onto Paris' main stage
PARIS -- When Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stepped up to the podium as the Paris climate talks entered their final week, the nuclear physicist did so with the confidence of a seasoned diplomat.
"At the risk of -- using a Brazilian analogy -- being a one-note samba," he said, "innovation is one of the foundations for increased ambition as one re-examines targets in the years ahead."
Moniz had been briefed by the U.S. negotiating team. And as the Paris talks rounded a corner, his statement in the press room of the Le Bourget conference center held the samba's three-step, two-quarter rhythm just fine.
White House says climate pact will unleash private cash in clean energy
A top adviser to President Obama predicted yesterday that the global climate accord reached in Paris five days ago would have "a profound impact" on private investments in clean energy, resulting in cheaper technologies able to compete with fossil fuels.
Brian Deese, Obama's climate aide, said the agreement will give confidence to companies and investors worldwide to launch products in emerging low-carbon markets driven by global commitments to slash emissions.
Mayors get down to the hard part of the Paris plan: making it work on their turf
Mayors and staff from dozens of international and U.S. cities flew to Paris these past two weeks to trumpet their own efforts to cut back emissions as delegates from nearly 200 countries hashed out an agreement to do so internationally. Now, with the final U.N. text signed, local leaders are trying to figure out how to build on global momentum back at home.
Green buildings or low-carbon public transportation won't take the world all the way to its emissions reductions goals -- but, city leaders say, they can get it partway.
Paris talks shifted emissions trading into high gear
The climate agreement that negotiators of 195 nations forged in Paris on Saturday represents significant advances for carbon pricing, the head of the International Emissions Trading Association said yesterday.
"We were extremely satisfied to see an openness to markets," Dirk Forrister, chief executive of IETA, said on a call yesterday morning, referring to the deal's final language.
Obama team held its ground, shaped deal around its wishes
PARIS -- The United States got almost everything it wanted in the landmark climate deal struck here this weekend.
The historic agreement by 195 countries handed President Obama an international legacy on global warming without crossing any red lines drawn by U.S. negotiators. And it allowed the administration to tell the American public that it had pushed China, India and other major developing nations to shoulder an unprecedented share of the responsibility for cutting emissions.
But environmentalists are divided on whether U.S. muscle helped broker the strongest practicable deal or whether it bullied smaller countries and lost an opportunity to cut carbon to the extent that scientists say will avoid environmental catastrophe. And Republicans are already calling the deal a "paper tiger" that a GOP president could walk away from.
How the world solved the 'shall' crisis and reached a new climate accord
LE BOURGET, France -- Before America would join its first-ever global climate change accord, before the gavel would fall and the cheers and the tears and applause, before top U.S. negotiator Todd Stern would dance the night away with his staff at a Paris nightclub, there was a word to be fixed. Buried on the 36th line of the 21st page of the agreement was the word "shall." The U.S. team insisted it was a clerical error and demanded that the French conference president fix it to "should." Or, they said, they'd walk.
"The bottom line is, when I looked at that, I said, 'We cannot do this, and we will not do this. And either it changes, or President Obama and the United States will not be able to support this agreement,'" Secretary of State John Kerry told ClimateWire after the evening's drama.
A thesaurus might describe those words as synonyms, but in a U.N. climate agreement they are anything but. The way they were being used in this particular section -- "developed country Parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emissions targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts" -- could have serious repercussions.
Rules for ship, airplane emissions left out of Paris deal
After 195 nations agreed to commit nearly all of the world's countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, heads of state praised the accord and the people who made it happen.
President Obama said the deal "sends a powerful signal," deeming it a possible "turning point for the world." Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called the final version balanced and long-lasting, and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said "the nations of the world have shown what unity, ambition and perseverance can do."