The United Nations has assessed the climate change proposals, which have been put forward by 146 different countries. They commented saying that the plans that have been submitted do not go far enough.
They believe that the commitments in their current form will not be enough to stop the global temperature from rising more than 2C. It is widely accepted that this is the point at which climate change would start to have seriously dangerous consequences. However, the statement from the UN said that this goal is still “within reach” if more measures are taken after the summit in Paris.
The plans are referred to as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and it is hoped that they will be the bedrock of the climate action negotiations taking place in Paris in December.
“Four Times Further Than Kyoto”
The United Nations has said that the total number of emissions covered in the submissions now equals about 86%. This is over four times the number of emissions that were covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
In spite of the fact that the total temperature change is still predicted to be somewhere around the 2.7C mark, the report maintains an upbeat tone. Many experts across the planet believe that if the average temperature rises by a margin of more than 2C, it will lead to dangerous changes in the world’s climate.
Many have noted that there seems to be much more determination to forge a lasting agreement in Paris than there ever was in Kyoto.:
“Even much smaller countries like Ethiopia, Bhutan and Costa Rica are identifying absolute limits on the quantity of emissions. I think that signals a real evolution.”
Christiana Figueres is the UN Climate chief, she believes that the INDCs signal major progress:
“The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7C by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs.”
The figure of 2.7C is down from an estimate of 3.1C, which was based upon the plans as they stood in December of last year.
However, even though the growth of CO2 levels in the atmosphere will go down, there will still be more and more being emitted each year. The United Nations has predicted a carbon level increase of 22% by the end of 2030.
INDCs Draw Praise From Campaigners
Regardless of this, there are now significant signs of progress from all parties, which will be welcomed by many environmental campaigners.
“The vast majority of the INDCs this time around, 105 of them, contain concrete greenhouse gas mitigation targets. That’s in contrast to 27 for Copenhagen,” Taryn Fransen said.
“You have quite a few more countries that are now specifying absolute decreases in emissions levels. You have countries like China, South Africa and Singapore talking about peaking emissions through a hard cap.”
David Shukman is the BBC’s science editor, he said:
“If one thinks back to the irritable, dysfunctional days of the Copenhagen summit in 2009, the last big push for an international response to global warming, there has been a remarkable turnaround.
In the aftermath of that failed gathering, it seemed almost inconceivable that within a matter of years new momentum would be returned to what has generally been a faltering process.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the national pledges to take action are of course entirely voluntary.
When the idea of individual submissions was first agreed, it was perfectly possible that many, if not most, of the world’s 196 countries would choose to turn a blind eye, or plead some other pressing distraction, or argue that cutting greenhouse gases is a task to be faced by others.”
Instead, an impressive 86% of global emissions are covered if you add up the total of all the different pledges.”