UNEP hails INDCs a "breakthrough" to 2C target, but ambitious Paris deal still "essential"

Reading time: 3 minutes
6 November 2015

LONDON: National climate plans, or INDCs, are sufficient in limiting emissions by 2030 – but a new universal agreement in Paris next month will enhance the probability of limiting global temperature to 2°C in 2100, according to the new Emissions Gap Report by UNEP.

UNEP’s global assessment analyzes the 119 Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) that have been submitted ahead of the COP21 climate talks in Paris by 146 developed and developing countries, which together make up 88% of global GHG emissions.

The INDCs so far submitted to the UNFCCC – which have also been analyzed by the Compact of States and Regions’ upcoming report and aim to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius – represent GHG emission reductions of up to 4-6 GtCO2e a year in 2030 compared to current trajectories. 

The Emissions Gap Report found that if countries that have not yet submitted an INDC were to do so, and reduced emissions to a similar percentage to those who have, then the emissions gap would narrow by a further 0.5 GtCO2e in 2025 and 1 GtCO2e in 2030.  

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, says the report “confirms that the INDCS represent an important and positive improvement over previous emissions scenarios”.

This research considers new policies submitted by cities, regions and countries alike, and offers fresh information beyond that offered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report scenarios, which assumed no new policies post-2010.

Talking of the impact these INDCs will have far beyond the Paris climate talks, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, says: “If countries start to think about their INDCs and climate targets and actions post Paris as a competition for a huge pool of available investments and capital, we’re one step closer to that climate resilient path.”

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However, UNEP highlights how critical a new global climate deal that can be improved over time will be, in order to keep global temperatures to safe levels. Executive Director Achim Steiner commented that despite INDCs signaling a "breakthrough in terms of international efforts to bend the curve of future emissions", to close the emissions gap, “it is essential that the Paris Agreement adopt a dynamic approach in which ambitions, the mobilization of climate finance and other forms of cooperation can be adjusted upwards at regular intervals."

The COP21 climate talks in Paris at the end of November will host world leaders to build on and develop a framework on global emission reduction efforts and come to an agreement on limiting global warming to below 2°C in 2100.

Speaking to The Climate Group on our digital channel Climate TV, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Environment, Government of India, reiterated that Paris is the moment for unprecedented global collaboration on tackling climate change: “This is the beginning of a new regime, where every country takes action.”

The Climate Group will be on the ground in Paris for COP21. Follow our news, videos and daily updates on our website and Twitter @ClimateGroup

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By Gabriella Romano

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