UN official: Parts of climate accord should be binding

Climate chief for the United Nations Christiana Figueres thinks parts of the global climate change accord need to be binding.

During an interview with Platts "Energy Week" on Sunday, Figureres said the agreement that over 180 countries are working to craft by next year’s talks in Paris “needs to be binding in some respects.”

“The entire package doesn’t need to be binding,” Figueres said. “It needs to binding such that we will understand how predictable the targets are that they are going to put forward.”

Figueres said some pieces may need to be internationally binding, or others will be domestically binding if a country implements certain greenhouse gas laws through its government.

She added that 500 climate change laws are already in place around the world.

“We do have a ticking clock,” Figueres said, stressing the need to to set, and chart a course for countries in Paris.

“The paris agreement needs not to solve all problems but it does need to set, to chart a pathway toward helping countries come to a global peak and then descending,” she said of greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent synthesis report from the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, released Sunday, found that emissions must be cut 50 percent in the next 36 years, and should be at a net zero by the end of the century.

If emissions are not cut those levels than the globe will not be able to stave off an increase in global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, the report, which was the most comprehensive to date from the IPCC said.

Opponents of a global accord, and U.S. actions argue that shifting toward more renewables will hurt the oil and gas sector, and kill energy jobs.

Figueres said oil and gas is “definitely not” the “final answer” for the U.S. or the world, but it is “part of the answer.”

The question is how much it will be part of the answer in the coming decades “remains to be seen,” she said.