2°C target : result of State contributions

© AFP PHOTO/DOMINICK REUTER
© AFP PHOTO/DOMINICK REUTER

29 Oct 2°C target : result of State contributions

Background

In 2009 in Copenhagen (COP15), for the first time it was decided that each country would propose a national contribution (INDC, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions). All the 195 UNFCCC* countries pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG*) emissions by 2025-2030.

On 1st October (the deadline for the submission of contributions to allow them to be included in the synthesis), 146 countries had submitted their proposals. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has assessed the impact of these contributions (the UNFCCC report can be downloaded below).

As things stand, and according to studies, the global trajectory of GHG emissions mapped out by the published contributions would lead to a temperature increase of approximately 2.7 to 3°C at the end of the century. We are moving away from the worst-case scenario, with a global warming of 4.5 to 6°C, which corresponds to the current trajectories of emissions and was until now considered by scientists as being the most likely.

It is important to remember that this is only a first series of contributions targeting 2025 or 2030, whereas the objective of remaining under the 2°C mark is scheduled for 2100.

Thanks to these contributions, the 2°C* target for 2100 can be achieved, provided the momentum is stepped up. One of the issues for the Paris agreement would be to set up a periodic review mechanism, ideally every five years, in order to raise everyone’s ambitions and gradually improve the collective trajectory.

To date (at 30th October), there have been 155 national contributions, accounting for some 90% of global GHG emissions. These contributions will not be reviewed in Paris. The Paris negotiation must establish the framework that will allow each country to reduce its share in GHG emissions.

In a statement on 30th October, Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development and future President of COP21, said:

This confirms the importance of reaching an agreement in Paris during COP21 that determines the rules to periodically review the increase in national contributions. The process for national contributions is a first in the history of climate negotiations. This is a sound basis for the success that is essential in Paris.

1) Unprecedented global mobilisation

The preparation of the contributions has been a major and unprecedented stage in mobilising all actors in the fight against climate change, and has stimulated the national debate on climate issues.

Leaders have been involved at the highest level. In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, the Prime Minister launched preparatory work and the project was subsequently transferred to the President of the Republic for approval. In Japan, the Prime Minister in person announced his country’s contribution during the G7 summit in June.

Each political level, from ministries to local authorities, has been extensively involved. Peru estimates that 13 ministries and 300 experts took part in the hundred or so meetings. Some countries, like Colombia, have even had their contributions endorsed by their national Parliaments.

Civil society has also been consulted: over 60 countries have organized public meetings or online consultations. New Zealand has collected some 1,500 individual comments via the Ministry of the Environment’s website.

2) Towards green economies

The contributions do not simply boil down to quantified targets to reduce GHG emissions. They show that a vast majority of countries have set in motion, in a sustainable manner, their transition towards development models with low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Several countries – including Vanuatu, Cape Verde, Samoa and Papua New Guinea – also aspire to achieving “100% renewable energies” in the next fifteen years.

Renewable energies are no longer considered as back-up sources or technological experiments, but are fully integrated at the core of supply strategies. Several industrialised economies plan to give them a major place in their energy mix:Japan aims to achieve a 22 to 24% level in its power generation using renewable sources by 2030 (against approximately 13% in 2013), and the European Unionexpects that they will account for 27% of its final energy consumption (against 11.8% in 2013).

Sustainable forest management emerges as a priority. Many forest nations have planned to halt – or reverse – deforestation trends. For example, Mexico has set the target of 0% deforestation by 2030, and Brazil wants to end illegal deforestation by this date. The Democratic Republic of the Congo plans to plant some 3 million hectares of forest by 2025 at the latest. Cambodia aims to cover 60% of its territory with forests by 2030.

3) Plan for a more effective adaptation to climate change impacts

By assessing risks and vulnerabilities, countries can more effectively define national adaptation priorities. About a hundred countries, i.e. almost two-thirds of contributions, have decided to include a component on this topic in them, such as, for example, the establishment of a National Adaptation Plan. Burkina Faso wants to map flood-prone areas in cities with over 5,000 inhabitants. The Maldives have planned to relocate the commercial port in Malé, the capital, on an island that is less vulnerable to strong winds and rising sea levels.

Over 50 countries also mention their wish to develop effective warning systems in order to be able to detect extreme climate events and more effectively protect their populations.

The climate challenge has, in particular, now been mainstreamed into national development strategies. Colombia considers that it is essential to take the climate challenge into account if it is to achieve the national objectives of “peace, equality and education”. The benefits of climate policies are taken into account: 6,000 green jobs created in Macedonia by 2030, 58,000 in Tunisia, 40,000 in Senegal… Another example is Kiribati, whose efforts to implement renewable energies are based on an approach to reduce fossil fuel imports. Finally, the benefits of climate policies for public health, the quality of life and social cohesion are emphasized by several countries.

Some developing countries also plan to strengthen cooperation between them: China wishes to set up a Fund for South-South cooperation on climate change.

Download the press kit about the analysis note about national contributions

* FOR A BETTER UNDERSTANDING

UNFCCC: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and aims to “to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The UNFCCC Secretariat is playing a key role in the organisation of negotiations. The Executive Secretary is Christiana Figueres.

GHGs: While a small quantity of greenhouse gases is produced naturally, the majority is emitted by human activities. The massive use of fossil fuels such as hydrocarbons (coal, gas, oil), deforestation and intensive livestock raising and agriculture produce large quantities of greenhouse gases which are concentrated in the atmosphere. These emissions accelerate global warming.

2°C: According to the research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a temperature increase of over 2°C would lead to serious consequences, such as a greater frequency of extreme climate events. In 2009, in Copenhagen, countries affirmed their determination to keep global warming to 2°C compared to the preindustrial era.

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