ClimateWire's Chemnick talks Paris signing ceremony, country progress in meeting commitments

As world leaders come together next week in New York for the Paris Agreement signing ceremony, how are countries progressing in their efforts to meet their commitments? On today's The Cutting Edge, ClimateWire reporter Jean Chemnick discusses the significance of the ceremony in the broader context of the agreement and talks about the implementation strategies countries are considering as they work to meet their pledges.


Monica Trauzzi: Welcome to The Cutting Edge. As world leaders come together next week in New York for the Paris Agreement signing ceremony, how are countries progressing in their efforts to meet their commitments? ClimateWire's Jean Chemnick is covering next week's signing ceremony as well as this week's World Bank spring meetings, and she's here with all the details.

Jean, a busy month for the international negotiations for sure. Put next week's signing ceremony into context. The heavy lifting on the agreement has already been done, so why is next week so significant?

Jean Chemnick: Well, in Paris the countries negotiated the agreement and they agreed to it, but they didn't approve it. It isn't in force. In order to go into force it needs to be signed and it needs to be accepted by a certain thresholds of countries, that's 55 countries, and they have to total at least 55 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. So we know now that 147 countries are actually going to be signing the agreement next week, next Friday, which is the first day that it's open for signature. Those countries now also have to ratify the agreement. But it does seem very hopeful that the agreement could be in force as soon possibly as this year, which wasn't looked for a year ago.

Monica Trauzzi: Right. And many countries have signaled that they will be ratifying the agreement rather quickly. But you have a story coming out next week telling Europe's story, which is a bit different.

Jean Chemnick: Europe has been a huge leader in this process as you know. And then going back years before Paris and obviously they had a major hand in brokering Paris as well, but because they're a regional compact as opposed to a single country, they have a more complicated process for ratifying an agreement. They have to figure out first of all how they're going to meet their targets, but then also each of the 28 countries, their parliaments have to ratify the agreement before the European Parliament can ratify it. So it's likely to take well into next year and they won't be one of the first, you know, parties to join the agreement.

Monica Trauzzi: And what do we know at this point about how individual countries are moving to meet their targets?

Jean Chemnick: Well, you know, the French ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, had a breakfast this morning with reporters, and she was saying that she's in contact with poorer countries, with a variety of countries about their INDCs or their commitments to Paris. And she's very optimistic that they will meet these commitments, but for many of the poorer countries in particular, that really hangs on assistance from, you know, wealthier countries.

And they're hopeful that this year there will be more detail about how developed countries will provide those resources, when they'll provide them, you know how much will go for mitigation and adaptation and sort of what the parameters of that aid will be like.

Monica Trauzzi: And this week you've been attending the World Bank's spring meetings, and they have been taking place here in Washington. Climate of course a major component of the discussions. What was most significant to you? What has been most significant to you in your reporting on how the Paris agreement should be implemented? What have they been talking about at the World Bank?

Jean Chemnick: Climate change was a major, is a major component of this week's meeting. You know in part talking about aid to poor countries and how that would be deployed in the most strategic way given that there's really very limited, you know, multilateral bank and private- or public-sector support.

But in addition there is also a lot of discussion about carbon pricing, which was a relatively minor note during the Paris summit, but there was this coalition formed during Paris and they are going to be putting together a joint declaration that will be unveiled next week at the New York signing that calls for countries around the world to coalesce around a price on carbon as one of the ways to make sure that that carbon is reduced and to send a signal to the market. And so that, a lot of that work is going on right now at the World Bank meeting.

Monica Trauzzi: All right. Great reporting as always. And you'll be heading up to New York next week --

Jean Chemnick: I will.

Monica Trauzzi: -- for the signing ceremony? Thanks for coming on the show.

Jean Chemnick: Thanks.

Monica Trauzzi: More Cutting Edge coming next Friday. We'll see you then.

[End of Audio]



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