Paris Talks on COP 21, day two. A report from John Vidal.

John VidalJohn Vidal Environment reporter for the Guardian, is in Paris and sends his reports on what’s going on from a particular perspective, that of the Newspaper who started the “Keep it in the Ground” campaign to leave oil and fossil fuels where they are.



I’m out in Paris as part of the team of Guardian correspondents covering the UN climate talks. Yesterday was the big set piece day for speeches by heads of state and government. They were meant to stick to 3 minutes each but of course many spoke for much longer and the speeches carried on well after dark. Barack Obama said the fact the talks were going ahead was an “act of defiance” following the terrorist attacks 2 weeks ago.


Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff at Paris climate conference in Le Bourget

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, implored countries to come to a deal: “Please, let’s meet on the middle ground, show some flexibility and sense of compromise for the common good. We can’t go on like this. We can’t waste any further time.”

I spent the first two days talking to the heads of the most important developing country negotiating groups and I must say they have rather more faith than I do that they will get a deal. Now that the leaders have jetted out, there are only three days of negotiations left before the politicians COP212arrive and, boy, there are mountains to climb over cuts, long term goals, finance, equity, and the principle that the rich countries should act first and dig deeper because they are responsible for the historical emissions. My feeling now is that there will be a monster collision and rows in a few days time, but then all parties will come to their senses and realise that everyone has to compromise. It will be painful, but it’s the only chance of success.


John Vidal
Environment Editor

Here’s today’s reading list: