Paris climate deal enters force as focus shifts to action

The Paris Agreement, aiming to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (preferably 1.5 degrees), has now entered into force.

A photograph capturing world leaders signing the Paris Agreement, highlighting the historic moment of global commitment to address climate change and take action.
Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

“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.”

On Friday, the Eiffel Tower in Paris will be illuminated in green light to celebrate 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.

Paris Agreement insufficient as UN review predicts 2.9-3.4°C temperature rise by century’s end.

Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst

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 Paris deal includes a binding process for governments to regularly increase their clean energy targets, acknowledging the inadequacy of current goals. 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 president Jim Yong Kim calls for urgent action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees at the Marrakesh meeting.

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

What was agreed in Paris?

Paris Agreement goals: limit global temperature rise to “well below” 2C, strive for 1.5C; review progress every five years; provide $100 billion/year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with more support in the future.

How will the US election impact Paris?

He aims to cut funding to the US Environmental Protection Agency despite advocating for clean water and air.

Hillary Clinton backs the Paris deal, saying climate change is a threat to American security. While she supports strict regulation of the energy industry and opposes expanded drilling in Alaska, the environment is not a central focus of her campaign.

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