No Global Plan from COP21 Paris to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Headline news around the world is that a landmark global agreement has been reached.

The BBC headlines

A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations.

The Australian ABC News summarizes

Historic climate deal

  • Deal to limit global warming to “well below” 2C, aiming for 1.5C
  • Greenhouse gas emissions need to peak “as soon as possible”, followed by rapid reduction
  • Deal will eliminate use of coal, oil and gas for energy

Folha de Sao Paulo

A COP21 aprovou neste sábedo (12) em Paris o acordo que obriga pela primeira vez todos os paises signatarios da Convençāo de Clima (1992) a adotar medidas de combate ao aquecimento global.

O chamado Acordo de Paris estabelece que a temperatura global, a partir de agora, só poderá subir ate um teto de “bem menos” de 2oC, na direçāo de 1,5oC.

There is something missing – a plan to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. This is clear from reading paragraphs 17 and 21 of the Agreement.

As I started a couple of weeks ago, the INDCs are not on target for the limiting to 2oC of warming. That would require emissions to be decreasing by 2030. The follow graph from the UNFCCC Synthesis Report on the aggregate effect of the INDCs states this quite clearly.

The 55 gigatonnes forecast in yellow and the required 40 gigatonnes in 2030 are visible. The graphical summary is now recognized within the agreement. Rather than say that genuine emissions reduction plans should be forthcoming, the UNFCCC asks the UNIPCC for some more scary stories and some more modelled emissions forecasts. There is a lot of hot air, but no global plans at all to reach any 2oC target. Nor will there be any global plans in place next year when the leaders of all countries will be asked to sign this agreement.

The Los Angeles Times explains (italics mine)

What is the main goal of the deal?

The stated goal among global climate negotiators has long been to reduce emissions enough so that global temperatures rise no more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2100. That is the level at which scientists say the most catastrophic effects of climate change can be avoided.

That goal was not met in Paris, but few people expected it to be. The commitments that countries made will limit warming to only about 3 degrees. But the agreement includes provisions for revisiting emissions goals every five years with the intention of regularly revising them upward “to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”

Now there are going to be five yearly super-summits to try to achieve the point where global emissions will start reducing.

Kevin Marshall