Paris Climate Agreement May Unravel Next Year, India Fears

cartoonThe fact that the US had kept out of the Kyoto Protocol after negotiating till the last moment, as well as the current election rhetoric by the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Paris agreement, have impacted the negotiations between key developing countries and the US. “President Obama is pushing hard to get the Paris agreement going as his legacy. But he can only join the agreement. He can’t ratify it. What if developing countries ratify it, helping the Paris agreement come into force by 2016-end, but the next US President walks out of it with a simple executive order? We have to be mindful of the possibilities,” said one of the [Indian]negotiators. –Nitin Sethi, Business Standard, 10 June 2016

China said the U.S. should do more to help developing nations to cope with climate change and bring the Paris deal on greenhouse gases into force, raising an issue that has divided the main presidential contenders. “I believe the U.S. government can do better,” in particular by transferring advanced technologies to help developing countries and providing funds to improve their capabilities in tackling climate change and extreme weathers, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative on climate change, said in a briefing on Monday. —Bloomberg, 6 June 2016

Donald Trump is sowing doubt over the Paris climate change pact as his hostility towards the deal and the growing swagger of his campaign focus attention on how he could undermine it as president. The Republican candidate last week vowed to “cancel” the painstakingly negotiated agreement, a threat experts said was unrealistic. But his comments put a spotlight on its slow ratification and weak spots in President Barack Obama’s climate legacy. If Mr Trump used the presidency to cast doubt on the need for climate action, he could weaken the resolve of other leaders sceptical about the deal. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the agreement may not start until 2018. –Barney Jopson and Pilita Clark, Financial Times, 29 May 2016

The Brussels bureaucracy made its first step towards ratifying the Paris climate agreement on Friday. In a nudge to national governments, the European Commission published a draft motion for the Council of leaders to consider. No timeline has been agreed, however. Lawyers are still debating whether the EU can ratify before each member state has its laws in place. Bulgaria, Czechia and Croatia are among those unwilling to formally endorse the deal before the bloc’s 2030 carbon target has been divided up. That process kicks off next month and is due to be finalised in late 2017. –Megan Darby, Climate Home, 10 June 2016

There are many who will not like this recent paper published in Nature Communications on principle as it talks of the hiatus in global temperatures for the past 20 years or so, that the Little Ice Age was global in extent, and that climate models cannot account for the observations we already have let alone make adequate predictions about what will happen in the future. It also makes what has happened in the past 50 years seem a little less unusual. The team found that northern hemisphere warming and droughts between the years 950 and 1250 corresponded to an El Ni√±o-like state in the Pacific, which switched to a La Ni√±a-like pattern during a cold period between 1350 and 1900. They found periods of predominantly El Ni√±o-like patterns for several hundred years that alternate with La Ni√±a patterns, impacting on global climate over the last 2000 years. Climate models cannot reproduce this. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 10 June 2016