Over 190 nations to start crunch talks to revive Paris Agreement

AFP
As the pace of global warming races ahead of efforts to tame it, more than 190 nations begin UN climate talks in Bangkok tomorrow to breathe life into the Paris Agreement.
AFP

As the pace of global warming races ahead of efforts to tame it, diplomats from more than 190 nations begin crunch UN climate talks in Bangkok tomorrow to breathe life into the Paris Agreement.

This year is the deadline to finalize the “rule book” for the 2015 treaty, which calls for capping the rise in global temperatures at “well below” two degrees Celsius, and 1.5 degrees if possible.

The pact also promises US$100 billion annually from 2020 to poor nations already coping with floods, heatwaves, rising seas and superstorms made worse by climate change.

“The Paris Agreement was like a letter of intent,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University. Unless detailed rules of implementation covering dozens of unresolved issues are agreed upon, he and other experts said, the landmark treaty could run aground.

Lamenting “uneven progress” to date, co-chairs of UN talks last month urged rank-and-file negotiators to produce “clear and streamlined options” that ministers and heads of state can push across the finish line at the December UN climate summit in Poland. “If Parties do not achieve this in Bangkok, a satisfactory outcome in Katowice will be in jeopardy,” they wrote in the unusual appeal.

The most persistent sticking points in the UN talks revolve around money.

Developing countries favor outright grants from public sources and demand visibility on how donor nations intend to scale up this largesse while rich countries want more private capital in the mix, prefer projects with profit potential, and have been reluctant to make hard-and-fast long-term commitments.

This tension flared spectacularly in July when the UN’s flagship climate finance initiative, the Green Climate Fund, suffered a boardroom meltdown after members could not agree on funding priorities.

An even more daunting — and arguably urgent — task facing diplomats in Bangkok and Katowice is ratcheting up voluntary national commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We need to see announcements of increased ambition from some of the big countries that put out 2030 commitments,” said Alden Meyer, policy and strategy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington.


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