Nations agree on rules for implementing Paris climate accord

Nearly 200 nations reached an agreement Saturday on a comprehensive set of rules intended to keep the 2015 Paris climate accord alive.

The deal involves requiring every signing nation to follow a uniform set of benchmarks for measuring their emissions and specifying their climate policies, The New York Times reports.

It also calls for the countries to increase their emissions cuts ahead of 2020, when they will meet again, and for oil rich countries to detail the aid they intend to send poorer countries to help them install clean energy.

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The deal is meant to help achieve the Paris accord’s goals of limiting a rise in average world temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times. 

The talks, which took place over two weeks in Poland, were hindered early on after the U.S. delegation initiated a debate over climate science after it issued a staunch defense of fossil fuels, arguing that giving up coal, oil and gas in a rapid fashion was unrealistic. However, observers noted that the American delegation worked behind the scenes with outer parties to make progress, according to the Times. 

“The real test is what happens when countries go home,” Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the newspaper. “All the decision text in the world doesn’t cut a molecule of carbon. You need action on the ground.” 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE has repeatedly expressed skepticism toward climate change, saying most recently that he does not believe a climate report commissioned by the White House that forecasted dire physical and economic consequences for the United States from climate change if action is not taken. 

He withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in June of last year.