After Paris: Now what for world climate?

December 13, 2015 by Mariette Le Roux
The global climate talks that ran into overtime have been a massive undertaking both diplomatically and logistically, with some
The global climate talks that ran into overtime have been a massive undertaking both diplomatically and logistically, with some 40,000 daily participants

After a champagne moment in Paris, where ministers from around the world crafted a pact to fight perilous climate change, comes the hard part.

Experts are under no illusion that celebrations and high-flown rhetoric are enough when it comes to rolling back greenhouse-gas emissions.

If anything, they say, the divisions that beleaguered the nearly two-week haggle have underscored the political and economic obstacles that now lie ahead.

The deal finally struck on Saturday, a day into extra time, enshrines the goal to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels—and at an even more ambitious 1.5C if possible.

But the bad news is that humanity may already have used up almost 1C of that allocation, the UN's World Meteorological Organization warned last month.

And the emissions-curbing pledges submitted by 185 countries to give the agreement substance, even if fully honoured, set the stage for a 3C warmer world.

The only hope lies in hard-fought provisions in the pact to encourage nations to ramp up their actions over time, and thus keep a 2C goal in focus.

"This is the key thing to ensure that the actions get stronger and stronger so that we get to two degrees and below," WWF climate expert Tasneem Essop told AFP.

2C is the threshold at which politicians hope mankind can avoid the worst climate change impacts: dangerous storms, drought, sea-level rise, water wars, mass migration and the spread of diseases.

The agreement itself admits "with concern" that current national plans are not enough.

As a result, it has built in a number of checks to try and keep the fast-closing 2C window ajar.

Scattered over different sections of the 31-page document, the measures collectively make up what has become known as a "ratcheting up" mechanism.

It could play a vital part in a pact where emissions commitments are voluntary and there is no single timetable for achieving carbon reductions, which scientists point to as a gaping flaw.

According to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a tool developed by four climate research institutes, most country pledges are "inadequate" and "nearly all" governments need to enhance their 2025 or 2030 contributions.

Graphic showing the key points from the agreement to stop global warming. 135x138mm

The first step will be a stock-taking in 2018, two years before the agreement enters into force, of the overall impact of countries' progress in abandoning like oil, coal and gas in favour of renewable sources like solar and wind.

The findings must inform the next round of country pledges to replace those that will enter into force with the agreement, in 2020.

"This will be a significant political moment where governments will be urged to ramp up their efforts," said Mohamed Adow of Christian Aid, which lobbies on poverty issues.

Observers are concerned that unless the 2020 pledges are reviewed soon, the 3C trajectory will be locked in for at least 10 years.

Some countries had set 10-year targets for 2025, others 15-year ones until 2030.

"It just makes it harder and harder to take actions that can in fact bring us down to the levels we need to be," said WWF climate analyst Tasneem Essop.

Once the agreement takes effect, the collective impact of countries' efforts will be reviewed at five-year intervals from 2023.

The outcome of these reviews will "inform" countries in "updating and enhancing" their pledges every five years starting in 2025.

Many had hoped for more a more onerous obligation on countries to ramp up targets.

But this was always going to be a tall order. There were objectors among both developed and developing nation groups—albeit for different reasons.

'It has to be affordable'

The first step in the Paris Agreement will be stock-taking in 2018 of the overall impact of countries' progress in abandoning fo
The first step in the Paris Agreement will be stock-taking in 2018 of the overall impact of countries' progress in abandoning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas in favour of renewable sources like solar and wind

The United States, for example, wants pledges to be purely voluntary to avoid being obliged to take the accord to a hostile Congress for ratification.

China, India and other developing nations, in turn, wanted to make their commitments conditional on assurances of finance to the tune of billions of dollars in the coming decades to help them switch from cheap and abundant fossil fuels to costly renewable sources like solar and wind.

Another part of the problem was fear of failure—negotiators were keen to avoid a repeat of the 2009 UN climate conference in Copenhagen which didn't even come close to sealing a global deal.

Instead of a top-down approach of apportioning emissions targets, it opened the way to a bottom-up approach: nations would set their own emissions-cutting targets and timelines.

The UN's climate science panel says greenhouse-gas emissions have to drop 40-70 percent between 2010 and 2050, and to zero by 2100.

Global temperatures are changing at a far faster pace than ever before, dramatically affecting the Arctic ice cap
Global temperatures are changing at a far faster pace than ever before, dramatically affecting the Arctic ice cap

And many hope the battle lines will fade as new low-carbon technologies are developed, costs come down and a hoped-for global price on CO2—a vital pollution-cutting incentive—emerges.

Indian negotiator Ajay Mathur told AFP this week that the relatively higher cost of green energy competed with the imperative of uplifting millions of people from poverty in developing nations like his one.

"The key challenge, it has to be affordable," he said.

Felipe Calderon, chairman of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, a think tank, said the transition to a low-carbon economy was already underway, and would be boosted by the agreement's dictate to peak fossil fuel emissions "as soon as possible."

"From now, on, the smart money will no longer go into fossil fuels, but into cleaner energy, smarter cities, and more sustainable land use."

Explore further: Highlights of the proposed UN climate accord

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VINDOC
1 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2015
Climate scientist can reduce a lot of CO2 by holding their breaths for an hour or two. Or maybe all the world leaders quite flying all over the world in private jets. Or maybe none of this crap is real and this is just a ploy to destroy capitalism and protect the elites. I personally pick the later.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Dec 13, 2015
After Paris: Now what for world climate?


It will continue to change, as it always has done. And to the AGWites surprise, it might just get colder.

'Earth as a Stellar Transformer -- Climate Change Revealed'
https://www.youtu..._gLRIuGc
leetennant
5 / 5 (4) Dec 13, 2015
Climate scientist can reduce a lot of CO2 by holding their breaths for an hour or two. Or maybe all the world leaders quite flying all over the world in private jets. Or maybe none of this crap is real and this is just a ploy to destroy capitalism and protect the elites. I personally pick the later.


Hahahaha.
Boy you guys really got nothing left, have you?

AGreatWhopper
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2015
Honest debate is one thing, but these ego identity deniers need to be culled. Do they have conventions or meet-ups of some sort? I need to be checking into that instead of wasting time on here.
jljenkins
5 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2015
@cantthink If you had a serious hypothesis and data to support it, would you write it up or make a youtube video? There's *only* one reason people make youtube videos of that sort. They're lying.

Now, are you consciously promoting a lie, or are you too stupid to know one when you see one? If you're such a legend in your own mind, give your name, anonymous coward.

AGW is right. *Way* too many blanks sucking air.
antigoresockpuppet
1 / 5 (3) Dec 13, 2015
ROFLMAO Go ahead and celebrate. We won. The deal explicitly states that no country directly affected can hold those that caused the problem responsible, even if the relationship is clear, ever. That's very important not just for AGW but for business to continue in places like London, when the Netherlands could have apprpriated language from the climate cabal and held the UK responsible (air). Deal indemnifies those that have consciously promoted a skeptical position. Without that clause the Saudis and the oil corps that have worked so hard to save the world from AGW alarm would be liable for damages in low lying countries and more.

We'll get to the targets for the next generation, and everyone that promoted fossil fuels when AGW "data" was extant is indemnified. I can live with that. Let those under 40 that largely believe in AGW bear the burden.

Funny that the chicken littles met near the Paris attacks soon after. Sugar Daddy will explain when finished nob polishing.
jim_xanara
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2015
Hansen agrees with you. I've always said Obama reminds me of Tricky Dick Nixon. Lots of secret wars, a personal loathing and vendetta against whistle blowers, economically middle of the road, gives with one hand and takes with the other. While trumpeting the AGW alarm, he's handed "deniers" a lasting win. We can still get what we want now. The AGW cult cannot. lol People are stupid. He did this with American healthcare. He took single payer off the table before the debate started. Hey, folks, single payer is what contemporary state health care is. By taking it off the table before the discussion started and getting something else implemented, you now have no possibility of single payer health care. Oh, and look at that! A huge windfall for the insurance companies. The same insurance companies that tanked the economy in 2007.

This is the same thing and the libtards are so stupid they'll actually count this a victory when their guy has just terminally screwed the pooch.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2015
@cantthink If you had a serious hypothesis and data to support it, would you write it up or make a youtube video? There's *only* one reason people make youtube videos of that sort. They're lying.

There are the things called conferences, where ideas are exchanged. Big people do these types of things. Sometimes they're filmed, and even produced to be viewed on yourtube. I guess you could look up the data to see if they're lying.

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