Page 18 - Respond 2016 Magazine
P. 18

so the paris climate

       deal enters into

       force: then what?

       Excitement is building over the likely entry into force of the UN’s climate deal – but that will only be
       the start of a new set of tricky negotiations.

       By Ed King

       Ratification of the first major emissions-busting climate treaty the   If elected president in November he says he will scrap the deal.
       UN managed to deliver took seven years and left the world’s top   In reality he can probably wreck US low carbon plans, but once
       two carbon polluters with a free pass to burn all the oil, coal and   Barack Obama formally joins, the US is legally bound to the pact
       gas they wanted.                                     for four years.

       When the Paris climate agreement, the successor to the Kyoto   The political momentum generated by entry into force will also
       Protocol, comes into force, it will have taken around 10 months to   boost confidence the world is moving in a greener direction.
       ratify and will account for the majority of emissions from countries.
                                                            It’s hard to put a specific value on a feeling, but try this: in August
       Far from dodging the carbon bullet, this was a deal the US and   investors controlling over $13 trillion in funds said ratification
       China helped develop. Dwell on that for a second. In diplomatic   would offer a “clear signal” to the business community that a “low-
       terms through 2016 we’ve seen the UN hit warp-speed, taking   carbon, clean energy economy is inevitable”.
       nearly 200 countries with it.
                                                            And it raises the stakes for the private sector to adjust, as Bank of
       With the EU’s formal ratification in the first week of October that   England governor Mark Carney explained in a recent speech: “By
       means the twin threshold of 55 countries accounting for 55% of   bringing forward the horizon, it puts a premium on the ability of
       emissions have been met.                             private markets to adjust.”

       Once branded the UN’s ‘2020 climate deal’, the Paris pact has   Political messaging is important, but the practical realities of the
       smashed diplomatic norms and turned the idea that countries   Paris agreement going live are less exciting. So hold your horses.
       cannot work together on climate change on its head.  Not everyone will have formally joined the new pact.

       Once the ratification threshold of 55 countries covering 55% of   Russia appears curiously silent on ratification, the Philippines
       greenhouse gas emissions is passed, it will take 30 days for the deal   eccentric president Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to pull out.
       to become UN law and effectively a new treaty.       Many African and Middle East countries also appear to be taking
                                                            their time to sign up.
       By my calculations that means it will go live the day before the 2016
       UN climate summit in Marrakech opens for business.   In an attempt to assuage concerns, a ‘reflections note’ from
                                                            Morocco’s environment minister Hakima El Haite and France’s
       The mere fact of entry into force is significant on a number of levels.   climate envoy Laurence Tubiana earlier this year indicated these
       For one, no-one thought it would be this fast when the deal was   laggards won’t be excluded as a result.
       struck last December.
                                                            “We consider that no Party should be disadvantaged or excluded
       “The general thinking at that time was it would come into force   from the collective development of the rulebook of the Paris
       in 2020,” said the deputy chief of the UN’s climate body Richard   Agreement simply because it is still in the process of joining the
       Kinley. “We are now poised to see the agreement come into effect   Agreement,” they said.
       this year.”
                                                            The likely outcome is that the first official session of the Paris
       This initial success will be a proverbial two fingers from the UN to   Agreement, known as CMA1 in UN jargon, will be opened and
       doubters who thought it wouldn’t happen, and to one of the Big   swiftly closed. As the world heats, the deal will be placed on ice.
       Apple’s most famous residents: Donald Trump.

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