A Green Dream
How Long Will it Take to Ratify the Paris Climate Deal?

That’s the trillion dollar question, and there’s no clear answer in sight. Coming out of the talks, greens were punching the air and patting each others’ backs in celebration, but the watered down draft deal agreed upon in Paris last December needs to be approved by at least 55 UN member states representing 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions before it goes into effect. The leaders of the G7 countries just announced that they plan on doing their part by ratifying the agreement before the end of the year, but they alone won’t be enough to meet those dual 55 thresholds. Getting that far may take another two years, according to Reuters:

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, chair of the 48-nation group of least developed countries at [talks in Bonn about implementing the Paris deal], said the Paris Agreement had many ambiguities. “When you go home, you do your homework and … find that what you have created is a kind of monster from a legal point of view because it is open to many interpretations,” he said. […]

“My bet is 2018, everything will be done (in) a maximum two years,” Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate ambassador, told Reuters when asked how long it would take to negotiate a set of rules. Several other delegates gave similar estimates.

Moscow threw a wrench into proceedings earlier this week when its chief climate negotiator pointed out that the deal, in its current form, lacks any sort of set of codified rules, and pointed out that it took five years to hammer out a similar set of rules following the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement.

But while Russia has been the biggest country to express concerns over the post-Paris treaty process, it’s far from the only one. A group of less developed countries have been urged not to immediately ratify the deal out of a fear that doing so would forfeit whatever leverage that bloc still has over negotiations. This kind of politicking threatened to sink talks last December and was ultimately why Paris produced such a weak (and unenforceable) deal, and it’s clear it’s not done yet—not by a long shot.

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