The United Nations (UN) released a report on Friday, Oct. 30, saying that while climate pledges made by about 150 nations may help slow down climate change, much still needs to be done to achieve the goal of limiting the increase in global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius.
From Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, 2015, country leaders will gather in Paris to come up with a new climate change agreement that will take effect in 2020. The discussions will be based on national climate action plans, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), that aim to restrict a rise in global emissions.
The note by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat did not exactly anticipate an increase in global temperatures by 2100 considering that the INDCs may only be applicable until 2030. However, findings of independent studies suggested that the pledges made by the countries would restrain global temperature rise at 2.7 degrees Celsius.
The report synthesized the overall impact of the 119 INDCs pledged by 147 countries by Oct. 1, 2015. Specifically, it gave out estimates of combined greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and 2030 should the INDCs be implemented. The estimates are studied alongside emission levels in 1990, 2000 and 2010, as well as with anticipated levels considering the pre-2020 actions pledged and limiting the average temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.
The report also determined and explained the trends that signify chances for improved action to alleviate climate change in the long term.
One of the recommendations stated by scientists is to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 to spare the planet from the worst impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, floods and droughts.
In 2010, nearly 200 governments pledged to restrict global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. So far, temperatures have already risen by about 0.9 degrees Celsius. The Paris summit should help pave the way for strong agreements to elevate actions in the years to come.
"It is a very good step ... but it is not enough," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC.
Figueres said world leaders would have to decide how the INDCs would be preserved in the final agreements and how to regularly monitor the pledges.
Figueres also said that the plans set a strong course, implicating that successful interventions would not only help curb global emissions but also bring about various social and economic positive effects on people, governments and businesses.
Photo: UNclimatechange | Flickr