From Lima to Paris: 10 stepping stones to a climate agreement

January: Davos

World Economic Forum, January 21-24. It’s hard to tell how much climate will be on the agenda here. The pessimistic answer is not much. But if so, that’s a story in itself, and we can expect lobbyists on all sides of the debate to be active here. Winnie Byanyima is one of the co-chairs so the issue is unlikely to go unnoticed.

February: Divestment

Global Divestment Day, February 13-14. One of the most striking recent developments in climate activism has been the global growth of the divestment campaigns. The campaigning group behind it,, have called a global day of divestment as a way to celebrate and consolidate this growing movement.

March: Disaster

The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, March 14-18, Sendai City Japan. We can expect ideas about where we are heading on Paris to be part of debates here, and vice versa.

March: Pledges

One of the important characteristics of the Paris agreement is that it is being built around a set of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) — pledges countries make saying what they plan to do about climate change. This will be an on-going process, but we expect the key ones to be in by end of March. At this point, we should get a sense of what the Paris agreement will look like.

April: Oil spill

April 20th is the fifth anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It’s hard to tell how this will play into global discussions of climate change. But we can expect the environmental media to run a few ‘looking back’ feature articles, possibly putting a lens of the workings of the oil industry
It’s also likely that activists in the US and UK will find a way to mark this.

June: G7 talks

The G7 talks will be hosted by Germany this year — June 7-8 — with Angela Merkel expected to ensure climate change plays some role in the discussions. We can also expect a reasonable quantity of civil society activity around the talks too, offering Europe-based activists a dress rehearsal for Paris.

June: Bonn UNFCCC talks

The UNFCCC talks aren’t just about the peripatetic December events. An earlier stage takes place in Bonn every summer (June 3 – 14 Jun). This is usually a lot quieter, with very little media attention and scant political attendance; a matter for the negotiators and climate policy wonks only. But with the INDCs already on the table and Paris trailed as such a big deal, we might expect this to be a more prominent event than usual.

July: Paris science conference

The Our Common Future conference, Paris, July 7-10, is a space for the scientific community to assemble ahead of the UNFCCC talks in December. It should also offer an opportunity to raise public and political awareness of scientific aspects of climate change, building on the foundations built by discussions over the IPCC reports in 2014.

July: Financing for development

The Financing for Development summit in Addis Ababa, July 13-16.  It’s another example of global talks which overlap heavily with the climate debate, with a focus on the flow of resources from rich to poorer nations. We can expect some of the climate justice aspects of the Paris talks to be trailed here.

September: Sustainable Development Goals

One of the key processes which overlap with the climate debates are those surrounding the setting of Sustainable Development Goals.  As with the UNFCCC process, this is on-going, but will involve a special summit for heads of state at the UN in mid-September.

Written by . Published on December 10, 2014. Last edited on April 19, 2016.

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