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Why It’s So Hard to Compare Countries’ Climate Goals

How much nations pledge to cut emissions can vary considerably depending on the base year they use in their accounting.

(From L-R)Russia's President Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, United Kingdom's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and others are seen on a screen during a climate change virtual summit from the East Room of the White House campus April 22, 2021, in Washington, DC.

(From L-R)Russia's President Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, United Kingdom's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and others are seen on a screen during a climate change virtual summit from the East Room of the White House campus April 22, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Photographer: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

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There is just no accounting for climate change.