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US and Russia ally with Saudi Arabia to water down climate pledge 

Guardian, Jonathan Wattsand Ben DohertyMon 10 Dec 2018 , Move shocks delegates at UN cnference as ministers fly in for final week of climate talks The US and Russia have thrown climate talks into disarray by allying with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to water down approval of a landmark report on the need to keep global warming below 1.5C.

After a heated two-and-a-half-hour debate on Saturday night, the backwards step by the four major oil producers shocked delegates at the UN climate conference in Katowice as ministers flew in for the final week of high-level discussions.

It has also raised fears among scientists that the US president, Donald Trump, is going from passively withdrawing from climate talks to actively undermining them alongside a coalition of climate deniers.

Two months ago, representatives from the world’s governments hugged after agreeing on the 1.5C report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), commissioned to spell out the dire consequences should that level of warming be exceeded and how it can be avoided.

Reaching a global consensus was a painstaking process involving thousands of scientists sifting through years of research and diplomats working through the night to ensure the wording was acceptable to all nations.

But when it was submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Saturday, the four oil allies – with Saudi Arabia as the most obdurate – rejected a motion to “welcome” the study. Instead, they said it should merely be “noted”, which would make it much easier for governments to ignore. The motion has not yet been able to pass as a result of the lack of consensus.

t opened up a rift at the talks that will be hard to close in the coming five days. During the plenary, the EU, a bloc of the 47 least developed countries, as well as African and Latin and South American nations, all spoke in favour of the report. Several denounced the four countries trying to dilute its importance. ………

Scientists were also outraged. “It is troubling. Saudi Arabia has always had bad behaviour in climate talks, but it could be overruled when it was alone or just with Kuwait. That it has now been joined by the US and Russia is much more dangerous,” said Alden Meyer, the director of strategy and policy in the Union of Concerned Scientists….

Ministers have only five days to establish a rulebook for the Paris agreement. A wild card is the role of the host nation, Poland – the most coal-dependant nation in Europe – which will chair the final week of the meeting………

As well as acceptance of the report, there are several other potential fights brewing regarding transparency rules for reporting emissions and proposals for wealthy high emitters to provide financial support to poorer nations struggling to adapt. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/09/us-russia-ally-saudi-arabia-water-down-climate-pledges-un

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December 10, 2018 - Posted by | climate change, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA

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