Will Paris climate summit end in 'zombie' deal?


Check-list from think tank E3G categorises key issues that will contribute to the success or failure of the Paris agreement

Will the Paris climate change summit starting next week result in a "zombie" deal or inject some "va va voom" into efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions?

That is the question posed by a new check-list from environmental think tank E3G yesterday, which sets out a way to measure the strength of the international climate change agreement expected to be signed at the UN Paris climate summit next month.

In an effort to put the conference in the context of broader climate change objectives, E3G analysts mapped out three potential scenarios for the outcome of the talks.

In the first scenario, dubbed "Le Zombie", details would only be agreed at the negotiator level rather than by ministers or leaders. The deal is limited to countries that have already stated their national plans, known as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs), leading to a lack of precision and significant risk of the deal collapsing.

In the next, more upbeat, scenario, ministerial progress is translated into negotiating positions thanks to effective French diplomacy. A deal with guarantees on financial and adaptation support is agreed, but developed country leaders dominate the talks with developing nations taking a back seat.

The final, most positive scenario - which E3G calls "Va Va Voom" - sees all major components of the deal outlined with sufficient clarity and guidance to keep the world on track to 2C and provide momentum to drive climate change action into the mainstream.

"We need an ambitious but honest agreement," said Liz Gallagher, climate diplomacy programme leader for E3G, who compiled the scenarios. "Paris won't be the ultimate conclusion but must accelerate climate action to keep us within a stable climate.

"What matters at COP21 is not just the details in the text, but what happens after; how governments, companies and cities transform their futures."

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

More on Politics

Credit: COP28

'A no nonsense approach': COP28 kicks off with plea for governments to 'restore faith in multilateralism'

Sultan Al Jaber formally appointed as COP28 Presidents, as agenda row is avoided and hopes build for early agreement on new Loss and Damage Fund

James Murray
clock 30 November 2023 • 4 min read
COP28: What to watch out for at the Dubai Summit

COP28: What to watch out for at the Dubai Summit

From tripling renewables to fossil fuel side hustles – BusinessGreen takes a look at the top priorities and key talking points ahead of the start of the Dubai Summit

James Murray
clock 27 November 2023 • 11 min read
Business leaders warn Prime Minister risks 'sacrificing hard-won credibility' on climate action

Business leaders warn Prime Minister risks 'sacrificing hard-won credibility' on climate action

Letter from top clean tech CEOs urges government to deliver proper response to US and EU green investment plans

James Murray
clock 24 November 2023 • 6 min read