Here’s an update on the second, post-climate summit summit held at the United Nations in Vienna in December 2018.
We’ve learned that the United Nations process on climate change will continue for another 2 years: C-16 through C-17.
C-16 is the second (and last) UN climate conference until 2030. Some of its legacy includes the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Decade for Action on Climate Change that brought about the Global Climate Action Plan, the negotiations that will get us to a permanent agreement to keep greenhouse gas emissions to below 2 degrees Celsius, including keeping half a degree below the ceiling set in the Paris Agreement, and the negotiation of the Green Climate Fund (and its 25 members).
Now we know that the C-17 process will also be slowed in terms of progress toward a legally binding agreement to keep global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Here’s how negotiators from 189 countries, with collaboration from the Climate Action Secretariat, explained this in their last communiqué in December 2018:
“…this meeting has confirmed the need to address for the longer term the legal and institutional framework to bring together all parts of the two instruments of parties in the Convention: the Party instrument, the Convention and the protocol.
The Parties called on Annex II Parties to strengthen their preparation for the second round of the Conference of the Parties  with a view to refining the legal framework approach, work around the Annex II instruments and advancing the resolution on the scale and nature of the instrument.”
Let’s resolve that this will no longer be the case. While we have continued to delay action on climate, we’ve added billions of dollars for new technology research that the Russians say is a waste. These research dollars can better be spent elsewhere, like cleaning up our air, growing clean energy jobs or helping developing countries transition to clean energy.
As I’ve said in many of my previous posts, we must keep building that common ground with countries as they implement their commitments as part of the Paris Agreement. The United States will not vote for a limit on emissions in 2020, but we will work with other countries to ensure that they have strong emissions reductions mechanisms. We also will continue to press the UN process to move beyond C-17 and come up with meaningful legally binding commitments that are in the interest of the world.
I would also like to express gratitude to President Trump for his good faith efforts toward bringing the United States to C-17 on the Paris Agreement. His commitment from the beginning of this process has given strong leadership to the United States.
I also would like to thank the United States Congress for its continued recognition that the United States has a moral and economic obligation to the global community to reduce its contribution to climate change.
Your Leadership With Conscience
Briefly put, the United States will not be bound by a mandatory reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2025 through 2035 in the 2020 non-binding Paris Agreement Parties’ Report.
Our administration will continue to call on other countries to uphold their commitments, and will do whatever is necessary, within the law, to support American efforts and to make our economy less energy dependent and more resilient.
With your help, we can achieve C-17.