Paris cli­mate deal en­ters force as fo­cus shifts to ac­tion

Malta Independent - - SCIENCE -

The Paris agree­ment on cli­mate change has come into force.

Gov­ern­ments have agreed to keep the global tem­per­a­ture rise to two de­grees Cel­sius above prein­dus­trial lev­els - and prefer­ably 1.5 de­grees.

“This is a mo­ment to cel­e­brate,” United Na­tions cli­mate chief Pa­tri­cia Espinosa told Reuters.

“It is also a mo­ment to look ahead with sober as­sess­ment and re­newed will over the task ahead.”

The Eif­fel Tower in Paris is ex­pected to be lit up in green light on Fri­day to mark the en­try into force of the his­toric cli­mate pact.

Del­e­gates from al­most 200 coun­tries are meet­ing in Mar­rakech next week to con­sider the way ahead beyond Paris.

The deal agreed in the French cap­i­tal less than a year ago com­mits gov­ern­ments to mov­ing their economies away from fos­sil fu­els.

On Thurs­day, a UN review of na­tional pledges to cut car­bon said they fall short of the lev­els needed to keep the rise in global tem­per­a­tures un­der 2C.

The re­port found pledges from gov­ern­ments that have rat­i­fied the ac­cord would see the world on track for a rise in tem­per­a­tures by the end of this cen­tury of be­tween 2.9 and 3.4 de­grees C.

The Paris cli­mate pact comes into force less than a year since it was agreed. The last ma­jor cli­mate deal - the Ky­oto Pro­to­col took eight years to come into force. Paris is the first agree­ment ty­ing rich and poor na­tions in a com­mon en­deav­our to pro­tect the cli­mate. How­ever, the na­tional tar­gets for cut­ting car­bon emis­sions are vol­un­tary. The UN tried a manda­tory ap­proach but coun­tries that were fail­ing to meet their tar­gets sim­ply quit.

The process of the Paris deal is bind­ing, in­clud­ing a com­mit­ment for gov­ern­ments to keep re­turn­ing to the is­sue to ratchet up the clean en­ergy tar­gets that they all agree are in­ad­e­quate. Gov­ern­ments that rushed to en­shrine Paris in law have had one eye on the US elec­tions. Hilary Clin­ton has pledged to take Pres­i­dent Obama’s emis­sions cuts fur­ther. Don­ald Trump wants to tear up the agree­ment.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups and other ex­perts have urged gov­ern­ments to do more.

World Bank group pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim said even with the com­mit­ments made in Paris and en­cour­ag­ing ac­tion on the ground, “we will not meet our as­pi­ra­tion of lim­it­ing warm­ing to 1.5 de­grees un­less we move faster and at the scale that is needed”.

“As the world heads into (the meet­ing) in Mar­rakesh, we must re­gain the sense of ur­gency we felt a year ago,” he said.

In Mar­rakech gov­ern­ments and par­ties will work on de­tails of a “rule­book” which will mea­sure and review global cli­mate ac­tion.

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