UN Climate Summit Can’t Overlook Coal-Power Financing From Emerging Countries

Morgan Kelly, Office of Communications ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

When global leaders converge on Paris on Nov. 30 for the 2015 United Nations climate change conference, their goal will be to deliver an agreement that, for the first time, seeks to safeguard the Earth's climate by having all nations that are significant sources of carbon dioxide rein in their emissions.

A threat to that plan might be the unchecked growth of coal-intensive energy in the world's developing nations — a dangerous trend recently accelerated by the expansion of Chinese firms seeking business internationally, according to researchers from Princeton University, Tongji University in Shanghai and the University of California-Irvine.

The Paris conference is the 21st annual meeting to revisit and strengthen the international environmental treaty known as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Created at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, commonly known as the "Earth Summit," the treaty sets goals and procedures for signatory nations to contain and reduce carbon emissions.