Highlights of the climate pact to be signed in New York

Highlights of the climate pact to be signed in New York


Leaders and envoys from more than 160 countries will sign on Friday the climate-change pact the world adopted in principle in Paris last December. These are the key points in the Paris Agreement:

The goal – The purpose is to hold global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, and to strive for 1.5 C (2.7 ) if possible.

The lower goal was a demand of poor countries and island states at high risk of climate change effects such as sea-level rise and drought.

But many experts say that even 2 C will be a tough ask. Scientists warn that on current greenhouse-gas emission rates, we are headed for a 4 C warmer world, or 3 C if countries meet their self-determined targets for curbing carbon.

The world will aim for climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions to peak “as soon as possible”, with “rapid reductions” thereafter.

There are no binding deadlines or goals for countries as there were in the Kyoto Protocol, whose constraints applied only to wealthy economies.

By the second half of this century, says the Paris pact, there must be a balance between emissions from human activities such as energy production and farming, and the amount that can be captured by carbon-absorbing “sinks” such as forests or carbon storage technology.

Developed countries, which have polluted for longer, should take “the lead” with absolute emissions cuts. Developing nations which still need to burn coal and oil to power growing populations and economies are encouraged to enhance their efforts and “move over time” to cuts.

Rich countries are required to provide support for developing nations’ shift to renewable energy.

In 2018, and every five years thereafter, countries will take stock of the overall impact of what they are doing to rein in global warming, according to the text.

In 2020, they will revisit their non-binding carbon-curbing pledges—submitted last year to bolster the core agreement.

Some countries had set targets for 2025, and others for 2030, which will be updated five-yearly.

Developed countries “shall provide” funding to help developing countries make the costly shift to green energy and shore up defences against climate change impacts.

Rich nations must report every two years on their finance levels—current and intended.

Not included in the agreement itself, but in a non-binding “decision” that accompanies it, reference is made to the $100 billion (88 billion euros) a year that rich countries had pledged in 2009 to muster by 2020 as a “floor”, which means it can only go up. The amount must be updated by 2025.

Rich nations blamed for their historic contribution to carbon pollution balked at the idea of any kind of financial compensation for countries now hit by climate impacts.

But the agreement does recognise the need for “averting, minimising and addressing” losses suffered, reports AFP, PARIS.


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