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Why the Post-Paris Climate Challenge Is Even Harder Than We Thought

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Climate negotiators gathering in Germany this week are still flush with the success of the Paris Agreement two years ago. But as they begin assembling a rule book for ensuring that the national pledges made in Paris are fulfilled, there comes a hard dose of reality. Those pledges, which constrain greenhouse gas emissions from now to 2030, will only deliver a third of the cuts needed to put the world on track to keep warming below the promised 2 degrees Celsius.

Climate negotiators gathering in Germany this week are still flush with the success of the Paris Agreement two years ago. But as they begin assembling a rule book for ensuring that the national pledges made in Paris are fulfilled, there comes a hard dose of reality. Those pledges, which constrain greenhouse gas emissions from now to 2030, will only deliver a third of the cuts needed to put the world on track to keep warming below the promised 2 degrees Celsius.

And as for 1.5 degrees? Forget it, says a report from the United Nations Environment Programme released last week.

The Paris deal was the end of a long negotiation to find a formula for halting arguably the biggest threat to human society in the 21st century: climate change. It was a victory for climate diplomacy. But the climate responds to actions on carbon emissions, not hot air in conference halls.

Read more at Yale Environment 360

Image: Global temperature anomalies in 2016, with red representing areas that were 2 degrees Celsius warmer than the 20th century mean, and blue 2 degrees below the mean. NASA / NOAA