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Brass tacks time for UN climate forum

UN

PARIS: Frontline climate diplomats will seek to translate good intentions into concrete action in Bonn Monday when they gather for the first time since hammering through a historic deal in December.

“Our challenge is now to operationalize the Paris Agreement,” France and Morocco — currently co-chairs of the negotiating process — said in a briefing note.

After two decades of intense wrangling, the 195-nation Paris accord set ambitious targets to cap global warming and help poor countries cope with its impacts, present and future.

Ratification could happen early next year or sooner, a speed record for an international treaty.

But the landmark deal left a large number of crucial issues unresolved, experts and negotiators say.

“The cooperation shown in Paris will mean nothing if we descend into petty squabbles,” Mohamed Adow, a climate expert with Christian Aid, said in a commentary on the Climate Home website.

The most urgent question is how to ramp up national plans for slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

As they stand, these voluntary pledges — which go into effect in 2020 — would see Earth’s surface heat up by at least three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to the pre-Industrial Era benchmark.

But a climate-fuelled crescendo of superstorms, droughts and rising seas convinced the world’s nations to lower the bar to “well below” 2 C, and 1.5 C if possible.

2015 was by far the hottest year on record, and nearly every month in 2016 has also exceeded previous highs.

“History will judge the Paris Agreement… by whether governments, corporations and other actors rapidly increase ambition,” the WWF said ahead of the Bonn meeting.

The next “political moment” when countries could deepen their commitments to curb carbon pollution is a so-called “stocktaking” in 2018, a focal point at the talks next week.

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