Envoys at a round of United Nations climate talks were finishing two weeks of discussions with little progress on how to cut [CO2 emissions] as a heatwave scorched Europe’s capital cities.
The discussions in Bonn, Germany, involving almost 200 nations were aiming to write rules for a sustainable development mechanism that would channel aid for environmental programs to poorer nations. It’s part of the effort to flesh out the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, where all nations agreed to make voluntary cuts to fossil fuel emissions.
The delegates remained deadlocked on accounting rules and governance for the system, pushing the debate to their next meeting in Chile in December. They’re also likely to water down a statement on a scientific report about the risks of rising temperatures even as Berlin and Paris were facing highs near 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit)…
The Paris deal called on nations to work toward capping global temperature increases since pre-industrial times to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and acknowledges the need to strive for 1.5 degrees. That would still be the quickest shift in the climate since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. Without deeper cuts in greenhouse gases, the world is on track for warming of at least double the targeted pace.
This year’s discussions are focused at writing rules for market structures that would help rein in fossil-fuel pollution. Those include a program to follow on from the Clean Development Mechanism that came out of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. That program was once worth $8 billion before questions emerged about the value of the certificates it issued for reductions of the projects it sponsored. Now, the offsets trade for pennies.
Envoys want to build a Sustainable Development Mechanism as a follow-on program. The system needs to be in place in 2020 when the Paris Agreement begins to take force. Developing nations are eager to reap aid flows that would come from the program, while richer nations led by the European Union are focused on the integrity of the system. U.S. President Donald Trump wants to withdraw from the Paris deal.