Three years after sealing a landmark global climate deal in Paris, world leaders are gathering again to agree on the fine print, per the AP. The euphoria of 2015 has given way to sober realization that getting an agreement among almost 200 countries, each with their own political and economic demands, will be challenging—as evidenced by President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris accord, citing his "America First" mantra. "Looking from the outside perspective, it's an impossible task," Poland's deputy environment minister, Michal Kurtyka, said of the talks he will preside over in Katowice from Dec. 2-14. Top of the agenda will be finalizing how countries have to count their greenhouse gas emissions, transparently report them to the rest of the world, and reveal what they are doing to reduce them.
Seasoned negotiators are calling the meeting "Paris 2.0" because of the high stakes at play in Katowice. Forest fires from California to Greece, droughts in Germany and Australia, tropical cyclones Mangkhut in the Pacific and Michael in the Atlantic—scientists say this year's extreme weather offers a glimpse of disasters to come if global warming continues unabated. Experts agree that the Paris goals can only be met by cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to net zero by 2050. But the Paris agreement let countries set their own emissions targets. Some are on track, others aren't. Overall, the world is heading the wrong way. Last week, the World Meteorological Organization said globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide reached a new record in 2017, while the level of other heat-trapping gases such methane and nitrous oxide also rose. (President Trump doesn't believe new climate change report.)