World Wildlife Fund WWF Climate Blog

WWF-US climate blog maintained by the staff of the WWF climate change program.

  • Date: 07 December 2015

Today we begin the second and final week of COP21. As Tasneem Essop mentioned in our closing statement last week, a strong deal must be secured before the end of the climate talks in Paris:
“It’s going to be quite a sprint for ministers to secure a strong deal by Friday. The French COP Presidency now has the responsibility to take us to the finish line. The draft negotiating text, while more clear in terms of options, still reflects most of the divergences amongst countries. This will require immense skill on the part of the French Presidency and absolute cooperation between governments to mediate these differences. We’re hoping that in the rush to the end, Ministers do not trade ambition for expediency, and remain true to the science.”

While some are concerned on making sure a concrete deal is made before the end of COP21, others are more concerned with whether nations can be trusted to fulfill their commitments after COP21 is over. Lou Leonard discusses how trust between nations poses as a challenge to reaching a deal during the climate talks in a piece by the Wall Street Journal.

Today, WWF’s CEO & President, Carter Roberts, spoke at Earth To Paris along with Guggenheim’s Scott Minerd on the importance of protecting the Arctic and ensuring sustainable development in the area.

A chorus of new voices called on leaders for climate action, including many from the US Latino community. Today, Latino organizations and leaders representing labor, education, and the civil and immigrants’ rights sector sponsored a full-page ad in Politico calling Congress to support President Obama’s efforts to reduce US emissions and support developing nations’ efforts to prepare and respond to climate change. Acting at home and cooperating with other nations is needed if we truly want to reduce global warming and slow climate change. See the ad here

  • Date: 04 December 2015

It's Day 5 of COP21, and negotiations continue. Today, city leaders from around the world met in Paris for The Climate Summit for Local Leaders, including Anne Hidalgo the mayor of Paris, and Michael Bloomberg the former mayor of New York City. Other notable attendees on Day 4, include Elon Musk, inventor and founder of Tesla Motors. Talks focused on the role that businesses and local governments can have on controlling climate change.

Another critical moment will come tomorrow, when the final negotiating text is scheduled to be released. See our statement of the first draft of the text here. If we are to make meaningful progress, then it's important that next week's High Level segment starts with a text that is clearly structured, and includes an indication of where agreement has been reached and where disagreements remain. We're still at a crossroads, but the negotiations aren't over so there's time for improvement.

As the first week of COP21 comes to an end, the momentum is still strong and the world is watching as world leaders come together to make history.

  • Date: 03 December 2015

It’s Day 4 at COP21 and following the scene-setting speeches by world leaders earlier this week, the hard part of the negotiations begins today. French foreign minister and president of the climate talks, Laurent Fabius, said, "We must speed the process up because we have much work to do." Fabius recognized that "there's very strong momentum," but he also emphasized that it was not enough.

One of the critical issues to reaching an agreement will be ‘differentiation.’ This is how to determine fairness in the climate agreement – essentially, which countries will do what based on their responsibility and their capability to take climate action. In other words, how do you determine a fair sharing of efforts to address climate change? WWF held a media briefing today on differentiation and how it should be addressed in the final agreement.

“Clearly, finding all the solutions to protect the world from the ravages of climate change is going to take hard negotiations and multiple drafts,” said Tasneem Essop, WWF’s head of delegation at the UN climate talks in Paris. “We’re still early in the process, but negotiators have a lot of work to do if they’re going to turn this draft negotiating text into an ambitious and fair agreement.” Read more from this statement here.

Oceans and the preservation of coral reefs were another big focus of the day. The effect of climate change on the oceans is devastating. Scientists estimate if the current rates of temperature increase continue, the oceans will become too warm for many coral reefs by 2050. Learn more about oceans and climate change here.

Your voice counts! Become a part of the conversation, tweet your leaders to let them know you support the Green Climate Fund.

Also, follow along with WWF throughout COP 21 as we continue our daily coverage.

  • Date: 02 December 2015

It’s Day 3 at COP21 with China and our forests being the hot topics of the day.

China has made serious commitments towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the next few decades. A new WWF report with research by the Energy Transition Research Institute models China’s electric power future and finds that China has the technical potential to generate 84 percent of its electricity needs through renewable sources by 2050. Not only would that be better for the environment but less expensive than continuing to rely on coal.

“This report shows us what is possible. To achieve this highly efficient and renewable powered future, political will is the critical ingredient,” said Lo Sze Ping, CEO of WWF-China. “The sooner the Chinese government releases clear energy transition signals, the more we can assure sustainable growth of China’s economy.”

WWF’s Lou Leonard says that 20 of the world's largest economies, one of them being China, pledge to double their public investments in clean energy research, development and deployment.

When you think about climate change, words like fossil fuels, greenhouse emissions and the Arctic often come up shortly after. But what about forests? Forests play a vital role in the earth's global carbon cycle; they are the lungs of the Earth. As mentioned yesterday, we are losing forests at a rate equivalent to 48 football fields every minute. WWF’s Tom Dillon goes into detail on the steps we must take in order to tackle this problem.

Protecting our forests needs to be a serious topic of discussion at the COP21 talks in order to ensure that we can close the emissions gap.

Social Media Highlights: 

  • Date: 01 December 2015

On Day 1 at COP21, while world leaders expressed their concerns about the future of our planet, they also showed great optimism.

WWF believes that in order to maximize the outcome in Paris, a new global agreement should:

1. Create a plan to close the ambition gap, including finance and other support to accelerate action beyond current pledges;
2. Deliver support to vulnerable countries to limit climate impacts and address unavoidable damage;
3. Establish a clear long-term 2050 goal to move away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy and sustainable land use.

Forests were a big theme for day 2. Did you know that 31% of the world’s land surface is covered in forests? Although that sounds like a surplus of green, we’re losing them at a rate of 8 football fields every 10 seconds. Learn more about why forests matter and what forest owners right here in the US are doing to help fight climate change.

Additionally, today, more than 100 companies joined WWF in calling for climate action in Paris with a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal. They pledged to continue efforts to ensure a just transition to a low-carbon, energy-efficient US economy. These companies represent a broad cross-section of driving forces behind the US economy: high-tech, energy, lifestyle, manufacturing, and food and beverage sectors. And combined, they represent more than $2.8 trillion in market capitalization.

Business Backs Low-Carbon USA

For more about how businesses can help spur progress in Paris and beyond, take a moment to read Suzanne Apple’s insights in this OnBalance post.

A low-carbon future continued as a hot topic of conversation, with African heads of state making a massive commitment through the African Renewable Energy Initiative. WWF’s Asrat Yirgu and Samantha Smith weighed in on the transformational announcement.

Stay tuned for more updates!

  • Date: 30 November 2015

It is the opening day of #COP21 in Paris, France. Today we heard from world leaders, including President Obama, on their commitment to a safer climate future.

“Obama set the right vision for international cooperation during his remarks and made a down payment on the kind of action we need. He sent a clear message to US negotiators about how they should spend their time over the next two weeks – focus on elements that foster greater international cooperation and signal to developing nations that the United States is committed to supporting their low-carbon transition.” – WWF’s Lou Leonard

The potential for impact is great. Coming into Paris, more than 180 countries representing over 90% of global emissions have come to the table with emissions reduction pledges. World leaders must demonstrate that they've been listening to growing calls from businesses, cities, and individuals to lead us towards a safer climate future. And from there, they must follow-through on those promises over the next two weeks.

We will be providing coverage and updates throughout the COP on our Live at #Cop21 page, follow along with us.

  • Date: 12 December 2014

It’s the final official day of COP 20 in Lima, Peru and it’s crunch time for negotiators here in Lima. Here are the updates:

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  • Date: 11 December 2014

We’re onto the eleventh day of #COP20 here in Lima, Peru. Below is a quick snapshot of today’s big stories.

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  • Date: 11 December 2014

This week, WWF staff are on the ground in Lima, Peru to participate and try to influence the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, where all of the countries of the world are working toward a global agreement to end deforestation, phase out dirty fossil fuels and avoid runaway climate change. It’s a big job, but maybe the most important of our time.

COP20, as it’s called by those who follow the talks, is a critical annual gathering of climate diplomats from more than 190 countries. A lot is at stake in this year’s meeting: Next year in Paris is the deadline for reaching a new global climate pact, which isn’t a moment too soon. Scientists say the next five years is the key window to start bringing down emissions, before we begin to lose our chance to avoid the worst impacts. This agreement would commit countries to new emissions cuts and provide technology and financial support for saving tropical forests and helping poorer countries fight climate change.

We caught up with head of WWF’s US delegation Lou Leonard on the sidelines of the talks on Wednesday to get his perspective on how the meeting is progressing and what we can expect to see develop before this weekend when the talks are scheduled to conclude.

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  • Date: 10 December 2014

It’s the tenth day of #COP20 in Lima, Peru and today we marched in the #PeoplesClimate March.

A number of us are on the ground sharing updates as they happen. Here are some accounts to follow if you want instant updates: @Lou_Leonard3, @MarianaPanuncio, @pandaclimate, @sevolley, @i_morrison, @WWFnoticias.

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