The Bonn Climate Conference: What You Need to Know

The Bonn Climate Conference: What You Need to Know

• Here are answers to the five biggest questions about Bonn, including: What’s the best-case scenario? And what might set off a fight?

• Here are five world leaders, or sets of leaders, who are emerging as climate change champions as the United States disengages.


At the China pavilion of the climate change conference.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Two years after Paris, the world is still off track

Under the Paris deal, nearly 200 countries submitted proposals for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. Yet not one of the major industrialized nations is on course to hit those goals.

And even those goals are just a starting point — emissions would have to be cut even further to stop global average temperatures from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels, the point at which scientists say drastic consequences will be unavoidable.

• Where do the countries stand now, what have they pledged and what will they eventually need to achieve? These charts lay it out:


Here’s How Far the World Is From Meeting Its Climate Goals

Two years after countries signed a landmark climate agreement in Paris, the world remains far off course from preventing drastic global warming in the decades ahead.

OPEN Graphic

• Separately, a study released on Monday was another indication that the world has not turned the corner on cutting emissions. Industrial emissions had been steady for the past three years, but are projected to rise to record highs this year:


CO2 Emissions Were Flat for Three Years. Now They’re Rising Again.

Industrial emissions of greenhouse gases will likely rise in 2017 after a three-year plateau. It’s a sign that the world is still far from achieving its goals to limit global warming.

OPEN Graphic

The United States is in an awkward position

• The Trump administration has sent a delegation to Bonn, but the American negotiators will be hashing out the details of a climate deal that President Trump has vowed to abandon — “like a spouse who demands a divorce but then continues to live at home,” as our reporter Lisa Friedman put it.

• A shadow American delegation is also at the talks, led by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who have vowed that states, cities and businesses are “still in” the Paris agreement, even if the federal government is not.

• The Trump administration is also sending representatives from energy companies to promote coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Mr. Trump has pledged to support those industries, but the presentation may receive a frosty reception, given that emissions from fossil fuels are a primary driver of global warming and some environmentalists shun nuclear energy.

Syria announced last week that it would join the Paris climate accord, meaning that every country in the world has now signed on to the pact or intends to join — and only one, the United States, has signaled its intention to withdraw from it. (Nicaragua, another holdout, said last month that it would join the agreement.)

• On the Friday before the conference opened, 13 federal agencies released a comprehensive scientific report that affirmed that humans are to blame for most of the global warming that has occurred since the start of the 20th century. That will not surprise anyone at the Bonn conference — but it does directly contradict statements from some top Trump administration officials.


A sphere on display at the Indian pavilion at the conference.

Patrik Stollarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Here’s some of our best climate coverage this year

The Bonn conference is a good occasion to catch up on some climate change reading.

• We answered 17 often-asked questions about climate change. If you’re looking for a climate F.A.Q., look no further. You can even send us your questions at the bottom.

• There is no silver bullet for climate change, but you might be surprised by a particular solution that would be more effective than others. See if you can guess which one it is.

• We went to Antarctica to see its flowing ice sheets for ourselves, and to learn about what they might portend. Read our Antarctic Dispatches here, and take yourself there in virtual reality.

• We also went to Alaska, and found out that its permafrost is no longer permanent. And as it thaws, it is dumping carbon into the atmosphere.

• Arctic sea ice is disappearing, too. Take a look at the trend in this chart. (It will be pretty easy to spot.)

• Shifting from ice to heat: Summers are getting hotter. You aren’t imagining it, and it wasn’t always this way.

• In those hotter summers, the most extreme hot days — with highs of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, or 35 degrees Celsius — are expected to multiply. And if countries renege on their Paris pledges and take no action, it will be even worse.

Could you fix the world’s carbon budget? This feature from The Times’s Opinion Pages lets you try.

• And here are six maps that explain how Americans think about climate change. It turns out that people agree on certain issues more than you might expect.

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