The U.S. greenhouse-gas regulations start ambling down the long road to implementation. The U.S. Senate has voted to block the Obama administration’s signature climate-change regulation—which is a symbolic move that the White House has quickly vetoed. That legislation, though, was notably supported by two Democratic senators: Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota (a former director of Dakota Gas), and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. American readers will recognize those two states as the resource-cursed centers of the coal and fracking industries, respectively.
Congressional Republicans are also threatening to block $3 billion in aid, part of the $100 billion promised to climate-threatened countries six years ago.
China is planning a cap-and-trade program to limit carbon emissions. This year, 155 new coal-fired power plants received a permit to build in China, reports The New York Times. “China already has more coal capacity than it will ever need,” says a senior Chinese hydropower executive quoted by the paper.
Though that story’s headline says the new plants “cast doubts on China’s energy priorities,” its body text identifies a subtler mechanism: While the national government sets energy goals, provinces have to regulate local economic job growth as well as meet their own energy needs. Building coal plants is an easier way to create both jobs and energy than investing in riskier green tech.
In other words: Local governments, starved for growth, lead to the construction and maintenance of fossil-fuel resources. Wonder where else that story is playing out.
Less than two weeks to the most anticipated climate talks since 2009.
The negotiations will go on in Paris despite the recent terrorist attack there, taking place in a “highly secure venue” in the city’s Le Bourget suburb. The city has said it intends to ban major public demonstrations, though activists with the Global Climate March also say they’re still negotiating with authorities. A spokesman for 350.org tells Slate’s Eric Holthaus: “The government can prohibit these demonstrations, but it can not stop the mobilization and it won’t prevent us from strengthening the climate movement. Our voices will not be silenced.”
Local news worldwide is beginning to fill with news of local marches and rallies. Anglican News reports that “50 pilgrims” began the 200-mile walk to Paris on November 13. Yeb Sano, the Filipino negotiator who fasted during UN talks two years ago, is in the middle of a 500-mile march from Rome to Paris. And outside of Europe, the Indian Country Media Network reports on a similar march last week in Washington, D.C. Catholic groups are meeting across Australia as well.
Very little word about how issues of climate justice might be resolved before the talks, though it remains the great unsettled issue.