With the first countries beginning to ratify the Paris Agreement, what loose ends still need to be tied up?
Meanwhile, the inclusion in the final text of a 1.5 degree goal prompted UN officials to request a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the global warming impacts of the new target by 2018. However, the IPCC is yet to confirm whether it will accept the research request, with national representatives for the body due to meet in April to make a decision.
Despite this lengthy to do list, some commentators believe we should not get too hung up on how much detail remains to be ironed out. Jonathan Grant, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, says the focus going forward for policymakers and businesses must remain firmly set on delivery. "For me, what's more important is that governments firm up their national plans, raise ambition and start to deliver this," he tells BusinessGreen. "Similarly, businesses made a series of commitments in the lead up to Paris and many of them are now moving from a mode of making statements and pledges to taking action and making changes in their companies."
Huq agrees the focus has now shifted from negotiation to implementation, but insists there's plenty of work left for negotiators to "fine-tune" the details of the Agreement. "We are now moving to implementation, delivering what we promised and not making more promises," he says. "But nevertheless that doesn't mean that there aren't things that still need to be negotiated. So the negotiators won't be out of a job very quickly, even though we do have a Paris Agreement."
The media spotlight may have drifted away from climate negotiations onto pastures new, but there remains a great deal of work to do to turn the Paris Agreement from an impressive piece of paper to a fully fleshed out international treaty backed by sufficiently ambitious climate action plans. Away from the glare of a thousand camera lenses, negotiators, officials, and civil servants will remain busy in the run up to COP22 delivering on the detail and the promise of Paris.
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