- Limiting global warming to 2-degree threshold `infeasible'
- Russia, Canada singled out for `inadequate' emissions plans
Pledges from dozens of nations to rein in carbon emissions aren’t enough so far to avoid catastrophic climate change, according to four European research centers.
Plans submitted by China, the U.S., the European Union and other top polluters won’t limit global warming to the 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) threshold that scientists have recommended, the Climate Action Tracker coalition said in a report Wednesday.
Diplomats are meeting in Bonn this week to continue working on the landmark climate-change deal that more than 190 nations expect to complete in Paris this December. At the heart of the pact are plans from individual nations to control their own greenhouse-gas pollution. Those efforts won’t be nearly enough, the researchers said, in one of the first major analyses of the pledges submitted to date. Hitting a lower, 1.5-degree Celsius target, as some scientists have urged, looks even less likely.
“It is clear that if the Paris meeting locks in present climate commitments for 2030, holding warming below 2 degrees Celsius could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond reach,” Bill Hare, chief executive officer of Potsdam, Germany-based Climate Analytics, one of the four research centers, said in a statement. The national pledges “need to be considerably strengthened.”
Nations must either ramp up their emissions promises before Paris or reach an agreement that ensures countries will be required to come back with deeper cuts in the future, the researchers said. Participants in the UN talks have acknowledged the Paris pledges won’t be enough on their own. A major goal of the talks, they say, is to come up with a system that requires countries to make deeper contributions over time.
So far, countries accounting for about two-thirds of greenhouse pollution have filed plans with the United Nations. China, the world’s biggest greenhouse-gas source, has pledged to peak its emissions by about 2030, while the U.S. is aiming for a 28 percent reduction by 2025. The 28-member EU is planning to curb emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.
The shortfall is partly due to “inadequate” plans from Russia and Canada, two of the top 10 emitters, according to Louise Jeffery of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Ten other nations accounting for almost a fifth of global emissions, led by India, Brazil, Iran and Indonesia, have yet to submit their proposals.
“In most cases” the countries that have submitted proposals, officially known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, don’t have policies in place to reach their goals, the researchers said. The exceptions are the EU and China.
“Most governments that have already submitted an INDC need to review their targets in light of the global goal and, in most cases, will need to strengthen them,” said Niklas Hoehne of the NewClimate Institute. “Those still working on their targets need to ensure they aim as high as possible.”