WATCH: Damian Ryan on what to expect from the COP21 Paris negotiations

Ilario D'Amato
7 September 2015

LONDON: The Climate Group’s Head of International Policy and a veteran of COP conferences, Damian Ryan, explains the mechanics of this year’s COP21 climate summit in Paris in a new exclusive Climate TV interview.

Highlighting the prospects for a global deal in Paris later this year and the key actors involved in getting us there, Damian Ryan underlines this particular meeting as crucial “because it would see the end of a period of negotiation, which is supposed to resolve in a new global climate deal to tackle climate change from 2020.

“In fact, the negotiation period has been much longer, all the way back to around 2006 when the first talks began on the successor of the Kyoto protocol – which is the treaty that was signed in 1997 for rich countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”


Everyone is expecting a clear, bold climate agreement to come out of Paris. But at the COP in 2009 in Copenhagen there were the same expectations, and the talks failed – so is there the same risk today? “I think it’s unlikely,” says Damian Ryan, “and one of the key reasons for that is because most of the negotiators who are going to be in Paris were also in Copenhagen. They are very aware of the ghost of Copenhagen on their shoulders, and also very aware of what went wrong and what needs to get right. In addition to that, I think there’s been a lot of change at the side of the process itself: we’ve seen a huge fall on the cost of renewable power technologies, for example.”

With almost 200 countries called to form an agreement, however, there are many challenges to achieve such a goal: “This isn’t a treaty between two countries of the same economic development, technical capability or political capability,” explains Damian Ryan. “We’ve got the whole world there: very advanced countries on one hand, very poor and developing countries on the other. Therefore, coming up with a treaty which addresses all these concerns is obviously going to be a difficult process.”

Damian Climate TV

“There are a number of key issues that divide countries. A particular one, is the idea of historical responsibility on climate change, which splits in very simple terms developed countries versus developing countries.”

Other critical issues are climate finance for supporting developing countries, and investing and financing the new low carbon technologies. “But as opposed to Copenhagen, when negotiators ministers and leaders were told that the low carbon future was on the horizon,” concludes Damian Ryan, “now they can actually see it in action.”


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Climate Week NYC is a key event in the international calendar that brings together leading governments, investors, businesses, innovators and opinion formers. The Climate Group launched Climate Week NYC in 2009, and has acted as the secretariat since its inception.

Host to more than 100 affiliate events from September 21-28, Climate Week NYC 2015 is the collaborative space for climate events in support of the UN Summit to adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda. | @ClimateWeekNYC | #CWNYC

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