Paris Climate Treaty Goes into Force, COP-22 Starts in Marrakesh

The Paris Climate Treaty went into force, or as the Associated Press story put it “became international law,” on 4th November.  Ninety-seven countries accounting for approximately two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions have now ratified the treaty.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a press conference, “We remain in a race against time. But with the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world has the plans we need to make the shift to a low-emission, climate-resilient path.”   

The treaty’s entry into force is well-timed to provide a boost to the Twenty-Second Conference of the Parties (COP-22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will begin meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco on 7th November.  On the other hand, the U. S. presidential election on 8th November could dampen spirits at COP-22 if Donald Trump wins.

Trump has promised in several speeches that as president he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Treaty and stop funding for the UNFCCC, including its Green Climate Fund.  This would put President Trump at odds with the leaders of every country in the world, which is apparently something that doesn’t bother him.

China’s “climate chief,” Xie Zhenhua, took a pre-emptive swipe at Trump on 1st November.  According to a Reuters story, Xie warned, “I believe a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends.  If they resist this trend, I don't think they'll win the support of their people, and their country's economic and social progress will also be affected.”  China clearly wants the United States to abide by the treaty and fulfill its Nationally Determined Contribution, which requires the U. S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.  China’s NDC pledges that its emissions will peak no later than 2030.