As Old Divisions Return, Can UN Climate Meeting Bring Paris Agreement To Life?

Front-line negotiators from more than 190 nations will gather for climate talks in Bonn on Monday. They face a daunting task: bring the 2015 Paris Agreement to life. The rift between rich and developing countries that stymied climate talks for more than two decades before the 2015 accord put all nations on the same page has reemerged.

 The world’s only climate treaty pledges to cap global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius and prevent manmade CO2 from leeching into the atmosphere by century’s end. But it left a mountain of critical rules and procedures to be worked out.

“This may sound like a technical exercise, but it matters,” Todd Stern, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and the top climate diplomat under Barack Obama, said in a recent speech. “Guidelines have a lot to do with how strong the regime becomes.”

The deadline for completing this “rule book” is the November climate summit in Katowice, Poland. The agreement itself goes live in 2020. Negotiators have had more than two years to hammer out the fine print but — as per usual — have procrastinated.

“It’s no secret that things have not been going swimmingly so far,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Washington-based advocacy and research group.

How quickly the world weans itself from fossil fuels, improves energy efficiency, and learns how to suck CO2 out of the air will determine whether climate change remains manageable or unleashes a maelstrom of human misery. […]

Voluntary national pledges made under the treaty to cut carbon pollution, if fulfilled, would yield no better than a 3C world. Once-every-five-year reviews of these commitments don’t kick in until 2023. Negotiators know this is too late.

“The scale and pace of climate action must increase dramatically, and immediately so,” reads a UN summary of written submissions to the Fiji-inspired Talanoa Dialogue, designed to inspire more ambitious CO2-slashing pledges.

Still, negotiations have bogged down. Under pressure, the rift between rich and developing countries that stymied climate talks for more than two decades before the 2015 accord put all nations on the same page has reemerged.

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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April 28, 2018 at 12:19PM

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