There’s Plenty That Could Go Wrong With The Paris Climate Agreement

  • Date: 01/09/16
  • The American Interest

There’s plenty that could go wrong politically as countries try to gin up domestic support for the Paris deal.

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When weary delegates finally eked out a climate agreement in Paris last December, greens around the world hailed their efforts as a turning point in human history. But not only was the treaty agreed last year in France eight months ago a watered-down version of what most environmentalists were hoping for, bereft of any enforcement mechanisms beyond “naming and shaming,” it was also just a draft, and it won’t go into effect until a significant majority of UN member nations accounting for a majority of global emissions signs on. To no one’s great surprise, that hasn’t happened yet, and in fact we’re nowhere close to meeting those base requirements. As French president Francois Hollande put it recently, the global community is still “far” from the goals set out in Paris. Reuters reports:

The agreement obligates states to take concrete measures to curb emissions that contribute to climate change. It takes effect once at least 55 nations accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions ratify it. Only 23 countries, accounting for 1.08 percent of emissions, have done so.

“The immediate urgency is to ensure the (climate agreement) is put into action by year-end. That’s far from being achieved. I ask you to double your efforts to push countries where you reside to ratify the accord before Marrakesh,” [French President Francois Hollande] said, referring to the next round of U.N. climate talks in November. […]

 “The United States and China have said they would do it this year and I visited Brasilia a couple of weeks back, and the Brazilians made it absolutely clear that they would, even in the midst of this big, big crisis in the land, they would sign off to Paris in September. 

The U.S. and China have both said they’ll be signing the treaty before the end of the year, but it’s the ink that really matters here, and with such a potentially wide reaching bevy of restrictions on the line, there’s plenty that could go wrong politically as countries try to gin up domestic support for the deal.

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