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Paris climate talks, day 4: What we’re reading

India’s influence, a climate scientist bemoans a “half-baked” deal, and the debate over how to determine whether countries are fulfilling their climate promises.

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The United Nations climate summit in Paris is now well under way. After appearances this week by major heads of state, negotiators are starting to dive into the details of their draft agreement to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

Here’s what Nature is reading on the Paris talks, from around the web.

1. India’s crucial role in Paris

Nature special: 2015 Paris climate talks

All eyes are on India at the UN talks. The country is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, and a prominent voice for developing nations that argue that economic powers such as the United States created the climate problem — and should shoulder more of the burden of fixing it. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a splash at the UN summit when he unveiled a 120-country alliance to increase reliance on solar energy. MinnPost and ClimateWire analyse India’s central role in Paris.

2. A “half-baked” deal?

Climate-scientist-turned-activist James Hansen has strong words for the agreement being negotiated in Paris. “This is half-assed and it’s half-baked,” he told The New York Times. Hansen, the former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, says that the deal as it stands will allow emissions to rise, and nations must do more to prevent catastrophic global warming. 

3. Trust, but verify

Negotiators may be close to an agreement about how frequently countries will have their emissions levels audited, with a consensus forming around checks every five years. But it is still unclear when the reviews would start and what would happen to countries that lag behind their targets, says Reuters.

4. A need for speed

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, the official presiding over the Paris climate talks, says that negotiators need to work faster to meet their 11 December deadline for a final agreement. He's not alone in this view, the Guardian reports, quoting an anonymous European negotiator's ”growing frustration” with the pace of the talks. 

5. Selling satire

Advertisements that mock the climate credentials of major corporations and the Paris talks are popping up on bus shelters around the French capital, The Washington Post reports. (“We’re sorry that we got caught,” reads a poster lampooning Volkswagen, one of the world’s biggest car makers, which admitted earlier this year that it had rigged emissions testing for some of its vehicles.)

Journal name:
Nature
DOI:
doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18942

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