Can we reach the Paris Climate Goals?

COP 23 in Bonn, Germany, aims to specify the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Experts are of the opinion that the support countries have pledged to date is not enough to achieve the Paris Agreement Goals.

Today, 6 November 2017, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) will open in Bonn, Germany. Presided by Fiji, delegations from 195 nations are meeting to work on implementing the Paris Agreement. Up to 25 000 participants are expected to attend.

During the 2-week climate change conference the aim is to break down the Agreement’s policy into national climate goals to be adopted at the 2018 Climate Change summit in Poland.

The Paris Agreement set the specific goal of holding global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) compared to pre-industrial levels. This is to be achieved by means of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which each country will set for itself. These NDCs are to be regularly updated and made more ambitious.

In the run up to COP 23, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published the eighth edition of the Emissions Gap Report. This report tracks the policy commitments made by countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and analyses how these policies will translate into emissions reductions through 2030.

According to the authors, there is an alarming gap between the reductions needed to reach the 2-degree goal and the national pledges made in Paris. They say that without enhanced ambition the likely global average temperature increase will be in the range of 3.0 - 3.2°C by the end of the cen-tury. The carbon dioxide budget for the 2oC scenario will be close to depleted by 2030, and the 1.5oC budget well exceeded.

The NDCs are to be reviewed and updated every five years. The authors of the Emissions Gap Re-port call attention to the fact that the 2020 update of the NDCs must be far more ambitious if the Paris 2-degree goal is to be achieved.

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