Leaders Move to Convert Paris Climate Pledges Into Action
PARIS — Before the applause had even settled in the suburban convention center where the Paris Agreement was adopted by consensus Saturday night, world leaders warned that momentum for the historic accord must not be allowed to dissipate.
“Today, we celebrate,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union's energy commissioner and top climate negotiator. “Tomorrow, we have to act.”
“今天，我们欢呼庆祝，”欧盟能源委员、首席气候谈判代表米格尔·阿里亚斯·卡涅特(Miguel Arias Canete)说。“明天，我们就必须行动起来。”
With nearly every nation on earth having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet — a universal commitment that had eluded negotiators and activists since the first Earth Day summit meeting, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 — much of the burden for maintaining the momentum now shifts back to the countries to figure out, and put in place, the concrete steps needed to deliver on their pledges.
The task may prove most challenging for India, which is struggling to lift more than half of its population of 1.25 billion out of poverty and to provide basic electricity to 300 million of them. Rich countries are intent that India not get stuck on a coal-dependent development path.
“It is essential that the developing countries are able to transform their energy system before they develop a level of dependence on coal that we have in the industrialized countries,” said Jan Burck of the activist group Germanwatch.
During negotiations, India insisted that it would not be able to make the transition without assistance.
“There will have to be new mechanisms,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the agreement was adopted.
China, meanwhile, is investing so heavily in clean energy that some observers think its carbon emissions might have hit a peak — a milestone that China had only promised to reach by 2030.
Its top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, said Saturday that “China will actively implement its nationally determined contributions so as to reach a peak as soon as possible,” but privately its officials have expressed pride that it no longer has the coal-stained reputation it had during the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.<-->纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com<-->
Giza Gaspar Martins, an Angolan diplomat who represents the Least Developed Countries, which negotiated in Paris as a bloc, said of the accord: “This is but one stop on a long journey. This puts a system in place to do climate action, but we will have a lot of work to do.”
最不发达国家组织(Least Developed Countries)作为一个阵营在巴黎参加谈判，其代表、安哥拉外交官吉扎·加斯帕·马丁斯(Giza Gaspar Martins)提到该协议时说，“这只是漫漫长路中的一站。它提供了一个采取气候行动的系统，但我们还有很多工作要做。”
He said the pledges were designed to emphasize participation rather than ambition, but now “we have to make sure our national contributions are aligned with what the scientists tell us we need to be doing.”
Leaders here agreed that while legislation and regulation are essential to set the ground rules for the marketplace, the ultimate goal of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy will require accelerated research and investment, and technological breakthroughs.
By calling — albeit indirectly, and in delicately crafted phrases — for net carbon emissions to be effectively brought down to zero “in the second half of this century,” the Paris Agreement could mark “the beginning of the end of the fossil-fuel era,” as Marcelo Mena Carrasco, a Chilean biochemical engineer and climate negotiator, put it.
就像智利生化工程师、气候谈判代表马塞洛·梅纳·卡拉斯科(Marcelo Mena Carrasco)说的那样，通过要求——虽然是以间接、小心准备的措辞提出——“在本世纪下半叶”实现温室气体净零排放，《巴黎协议》可以算是标志着“终结化石燃料时代的起点”。
That is certainly the hope of the Obama administration. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. government had helped catalyze the agreement by toughening fuel-efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, cracking down on emissions from coal-fired power plants, and reaching a deal with China, the only country that emits even more greenhouse gases.
President Barack Obama has endorsed the idea of a price on carbon — in the form of a tax, or a cap-and-trade system like California's — and leaders of Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany and Mexico endorsed the idea at the start of the Paris conference, but there was not nearly enough support to incorporate it into the Paris Agreement.
While attention is shifting to the marketplace, the U.N. process will move ahead. The Paris Agreement's provisions will not kick in until 2020. Indeed, though adopted “by consensus,” no nation has signed it. Countries will be invited to do so in a ceremony at the U.N. headquarters in New York on April 22; the agreement officially will take effect after at least 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, have signed on.
The United States will be one of them; through careful legal craftsmanship, the Paris Agreement will not be considered as its own treaty under U.S. law but rather as an extension of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the Senate ratified in 1992.
美国将是签署国之一；经过谨慎的法律制定，《巴黎协议》不会被视作依据美国法律制定的条约，而是《联合国气候变化框架公约》(United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change)的延伸，美国参议院于1992年批准了该公约。
The United Nations has several short-term priorities. One is to get the remaining countries that have not submitted emissions-reduction pledges to do so. Venezuela and St. Kitts and Nevis submitted their plans Saturday, bringing the total to 188.
By May, the U.N. climate staff will update its estimate for the combined impact of the national pledges (now known as nationally determined contributions, the qualifying word “intended” having been dropped). Estimates of the first round of pledges suggested that, if carried out, they would still result in a rise of 2.7 to 3.5 degrees Celsius (4.9 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels — far above the newly adopted aspiration of an increase of just 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Climate activists have long used a “power of the people” approach to promote sustainability and organize globally, and the world leaders who met here credited “civil society” for keeping up the pressure.
“Now the work to hold them to their promises begins,” U.S. environmentalist and activist Bill McKibben wrote on Twitter, moments after the gavel fell on the Paris Agreement. “1.5? Game on.”