When the United Nations ratified the Paris Agreement earlier this month, it was lauded as a critical step forward in combating climate change. But the real labor begins Monday, in Marrakech, Morocco.
That’s where the UN will convene to discuss how it will achieve specific emissions goals. The Paris deal, which goes into effect Friday, asks each member nation to curb emissions in relation to its size and economic situation. The endgame is to prevent warming more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. But the planet isn’t yet on track to meet that goal, officials say.
“The science shows that we need to move much faster,” said Erik Solheim, director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). “The growing numbers of climate refugees hit by hunger, poverty, illness and conflict will be a constant reminder of our failure to deliver.”
UNEP has projected that, if annual emissions exceed 42 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2030, it will likely be impossible to meet the 2-degree goal. But even with pledged reductions under the Paris Agreement, emissions could still be pushing 56 billion tons by that deadline.