COP-21: A summary of the pledges made so far

COP-21: A summary of the pledges made so far

As 2014 was the hottest year on record, and 2015 is likely to surpass that, whilst 2013 broke all records for carbon pollution, there is a fair degree of urgency behind achieving a ground-breaking deal at the Paris Summit in December. Some countries have already ‘declared their hands’ by making pledges in advance of the talks. These give us a hint on the real state-of-play, ahead of COP-21. Up until now, nearly 50 countries have filed their emissions reduction pledges to the UN, covering approximately 60% of the world’s emissions. They include the EU (28 countries, not one), the US, China, Canada, Russia, Australia, and Mexico. Key countries such as India and Brazil, have yet to make official their plans. The national contribution each country is prepared to make, is known at the UN as an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). [Tweet "An important factor to look out for is the baseline year upon which such INDCs are made"]An important factor to look out for is the baseline year upon which such INDCs are made. Under the Kyoto Protocol, nearly all countries have previously tended to use the base year of 1990, which make pledges easier to compare. However, the US, China, and Canada have chosen 2005 as their baseline year, with the result that their promised cuts appear higher than they are in reality. Canada’s target, for instance, of 30% below 2005 levels, is equivalent to only 2% below 1990 levels. The US’s recently up-dated pledge of 32% carbon cuts on 2005 levels, still leaves it far behind the EU’s “at least 40% target”, by comparison.   China, [...]

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