Country climate plans will slow global temperature rise: UN releases INDC synthesis report

Reading time: 6 minutes
30 October 2015

LONDON: One month before the global COP21 climate talks in Paris, the United Nations has released a critical report assessing the collective impact of the 146 submitted national climate plans, called INDCs – concluding that global temperatures can be kept within safe levels and bring economic benefits to governments, citizens and businesses.

The report from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) shows plans from the countries – which together cover 86% of global emissions – will lead to a fall in per capita emissions of up to 8% in 2025 and 9% in 2030, a decrease that is adequate to keep global temperatures under the scientifically-agreed ‘safe’ limit of 2 degrees Celsius.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, comments: "The breadth and, in some cases, depth of the INDCs presented to date show that we are in a much better position going into COP21 than we were before Copenhagen six years ago. With increasing availability of low cost clean technologies and the additional commitment by states, cities and companies, there is no reason for governments not to push for the most ambitious deal people in six weeks time. And let’s make no mistake, despite this encouraging progress, we still need an agreement that reduces emissions even further and sets us firmly on the path to a fully decarbonized global economy."

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, said in a statement: “Governments from all corners of the earth have signalled through their INDCs that they are determined to play their part according to their national circumstances and capabilities.

“Fully implemented these plans together begin to make a significant dent in the growth of greenhouse gas emissions: as a floor they provide a foundation upon which ever higher ambition can be built. I am confident that these INDCs are not the final word in what countries are ready to do and achieve over time – the journey to a climate safe-future is underway and the Paris agreement to be inked in Paris can confirm, and catalyze that transition."

The collective INDCs would slow emissions growth by around a third for 2010-2030 compared to 1990-2010. Because submitted INDCs include three quarters of developing countries, together the emissions reductions cover almost four times the level of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which was the world’s first international agreement of its kind – but only committed developed countries.

Christiana Figueres believes this spread of ambition will have a serious impact on global emissions and subsequently support economic growth: “The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs. These plans set a determined course, clearly recognizing that successful climate action achieves not only low emissions but a host of other economic and social benefits for governments, citizens and business.

“Backed by financial support for developing countries, a clear long term destination of climate neutrality in the second half of the century and a ratcheting up of ambition in a structured, transparent and timely way, the INDCs provide an inspiring part of what will become the Paris package.”

To learn more about what the INDC synthesis report means for Paris, you’re invited to join our live Twitter chat with Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at World Resources Institute (WRI), on Wednesday November 4 using hashtag #AskWRI.

The WRI Director comments: “Country climate action pledges, or INDCs, are vital building blocks for the global agreement. Now, more than 150 countries – covering more than 90% of the world's GHGs – have submitted contributions, helping to create the foundation for a robust and lasting climate deal. As we embark on the final stretch before COP 21 in Paris, I look forward to answering your questions on the INDCs countries have already put forward, and where we go from here."

Join us live on @ClimateGroup on Wednesday November 4 at 9am New York time/1pm London time, and ask questions using hashtag #AskWRI.

To learn more about INDCs, read our Insight Briefing, which was released earlier this year and examines the impact INDCs are likely to have at Paris and beyond.

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