Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC), believes that countries are set to hit Paris milestones a couple of years early. While that would be fantastic many believe that she might be being a bit too optimistic.
UN believes it doable, though far too late for many
In order for the Paris climate pact to take effect in 2020, 55 countries of the 196 who agreed to the deal will need to both sign it and individually, as a country, ratify it.
“I think we will have a Paris agreement in effect in 2018,” said Figueres, while pointing out that this is the easy part and overseeing compliance will not be easy.
The Paris deal is key for this world to survive as we know it, but so much can go wrong implementing something unseen since the rebuilding of much of the world at the end of the second world war. But again, it’s quite possibly too late.
“If you ask me, the Paris agreement is 10 years too late,” said Figueres.
The two biggest producers or greenhouse gasses, China and the United States, are expected to sign the deal on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016 which is just a week from tomorrow.
While Fiji has already signed and ratified the deal, the United States and China have a bit of a bigger impact on the environment in their production of greenhouse gasses. While China can just say it’s ratified, the United States might struggle to do so with the present congressional makeup. In addition to those two superpowers and massive polluters, 128 others are expected to sign the deal on the same day.
U.S. Senator warns about ratification of Paris climate deal
Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Jim Inhofe recently told the world that Obama’s commitments are not shared by the U.S. Congress. While his assessment is bleak and obstructionist (and rubbish) it’s quite possibly accurate depending on the outcome of November’s election.
“I can say this because history is already repeating itself, and I have been on the front lines dating back to the failed Kyoto treaty of 1997,” the Oklahoma Republican said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “For over 20 years, the Senate has called up and defeated every new energy tax and regulation to solve man-made global warming claims.”
“It is important for the 196 countries involved in the Paris climate agreement to understand what I am saying today – Congress, the courts, climate experts, industry are all pointing to the same conclusion – President Obama’s climate pledge is unobtainable and it stands no chance of succeeding in the United States,” Inhofe said. “For the sake of the economic well-being of America, that’s a good thing. A few countries have taken note. Specifically China and India – two of the world’s largest emitters of [greenhouse gases] – who are now second guessing the legitimacy of Obama’s commitments.”
“International communities looking to America to lead the way should think twice before following through on their own commitments,” Inhofe said.
And now for something completely different
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon doesn’t seem to grasp Senator Inhofe’s words. In a recent interview he told the New York Times:
“I am very grateful to President Obama and President Xi Jinping for their leadership and strong commitment. Basically, it was the U.S. and China who really helped [make] this Paris agreement possible. These are the two largest emitters of the world: China and U.S. They agreed that there should be an agreement, and we worked and reached out to many countries. [It] was very positive.”
Signatures and ratification/reality are very different animals.