Will the agreement drive even greater action in the years to come?
Countries will need to revisit their current pledges by 2020 and, ideally, strengthen their 2030 targets because they discovered that they can achieve more aggressive action than they envisioned at this moment. This will start a process in which countries outline their next set of commitments every five years—setting a framework for continuously ratcheting down emissions over time toward a long-term target of emissions neutrality. Beginning in 2018 and every five years thereafter, countries will have a chance to take stock of the aggregate effort of all national pledges to determine whether the world is on a path to keep the global average temperature to well under a 2 degrees Celsius rise from pre-industrial levels.
This is one of the most critical outcomes of the Paris Agreement—a solid process for reassessing and deepening emissions reduction commitments every five years.
How will the agreement track country-level progress?
The Paris Agreement includes a stronger transparency and accountability system that holds governments accountable to their commitments. The new transparency regime is legally binding, and applies to all countries. Countries must report their greenhouse gas inventories and progress towards their emissions reduction targets every two years. The reports will also require reporting on adaptation and will provide assistance to developing countries that need help to improve their reporting. These national level reports will be subject to an independent “technical expert review.” Countries will then be subject to a “multilateral examination” to consider progress toward their mitigation targets.
These strengthened tools will shine a spotlight on whether countries are following through with their commitments as we will have publicly available and regular opportunities to track progress. These transparency and accountability tools will be aided by the powerful domestic motivation to follow through on their new commitments since countries have realized that acting on climate change is in their own national interest.
How will developing countries be assisted in reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change?
In Copenhagen, countries agreed to establish the multilateral Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help mobilize funding in developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Nearly $11 billion has been pledged to the GCF from 31 countries, including a $3 billion pledge from the United States. In addition, countries agreed to help mobilize $100 billion by 2020 through public and private financing to assist developing countries in reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. These investments help spur additional global action on climate change and help countries address its devastating impacts.
The Paris agreement further catalyzes action and implementation over time, as developed countries have agreed to continue the existing collective mobilization commitment on finance ($100 billion annually), through 2025. And prior to 2025, developed countries would set a new collective quantified goal of mobilizing at least $100 billion for climate finance. Other countries are encouraged to also help mobilize finance. To provide predictability on climate finance, developed countries will communicate every two years on projected levels of public climate finance for developing countries, while developing countries will report on climate finance on a voluntary basis. Regular updates send a signal for where low-carbon investments can be made, and the resources available to help the most vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.
What are countries’ post-2020 climate targets?
United States: cut economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 level by 2025 and make best efforts to curb its emissions by 28 percent.
China: peak carbon emissions no later than 2030, increase non-fossil fuels to 20 percent of the energy mix, and reduce carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60 to 65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
India: reduce emissions intensity by 33 to 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, increase cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel energy resources to 40 percent by 2030, and create additional carbon sequestration of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2equivalent by 2030.
Mexico: cut greenhouse gas and short-lived climate pollutants 25 percent below business-as-usual (BAU) by 2030, implying a reduction of 22 percent for greenhouse gas emissions and 51 percent for black carbon.
European Union: reduce emissions to at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 through only domestic measures.
Brazil: reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, increasing renewable resources to 45 percent of the energy mix by 2030, and increasing the share of non-hydropower renewables in the electricity mix to 23 percent by 2030.
South Korea: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from BAU levels by 2030 across all economic sectors.
Indonesia: cut emissions by 29 percent from BAU levels by 2030.
Japan: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels by 2030.
Australia: reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
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