As far as climate change is concerned, all eyes are on Paris, where the UN Climate Conference will converge this December. The hope is that the conference will produce a deal that leads all countries to radically reduce their carbon emissions— with the goal of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Already, we’ve seen a draft of the language negotiators will use to frame up the discussion, and watched as the influential G7 put climate change at the top of their foreign policy agenda.
Now, 36 countries have submitted what’s called their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), or the amount by which they plan on cutting their emissions.
Here’s what they’ve committed to:
China has yet to submit its UN plan, but has publicly committed to peaking carbon by 2030, while major countries like India have yet to make any indication of what they are planning to do.
Economists are adding up the numbers that have been formally submitted to the UN— along with figures that countries like China have publicly committed to— and, unfortunately, so far the total reductions won’t keep us under 2 degrees of warming. Despite the math not adding up yet, there is still a long way to go and lot of countries left to commit to reductions before Paris.
What’s clear now is that if we define success in Paris by the INDC total alone, we may just be headed toward another disappointment. What needs to happen at the UN Climate Conference is the development of, and commitment to, a long-term pathway to continued emissions reductions over time.
Let’s keep putting pressure on our representatives to demand just that: a lasting mechanism for ensuring that every UN country has the incentive and support to keep dropping emissions for a long time past December.