Global climate pledges not enough

2015-10-12 22:30
Global warming (iStock)

Global warming (iStock)

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Rabat - National pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, even if fully implemented, would cap global warming at 3°C rather than the 2°C targeted to avoid dangerous consequences, the European Commission said on Monday.

European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said 149 countries had submitted pledges known in UN language as INDCs, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, ahead of pivotal climate change talks in Paris in December.

"According to our in-house studies, we will be at around 3°C (above levels before the Industrial Revolution) at the end of the century with these INDCs implemented," he said. "...If we do not do something, if we do business as usual, the increase of temperatures will be between 3.8 and 4.7°."

The 149 states that have submitted promises is up from 62 to have done so a few months ago and they cover 90% of global emissions, Canete told reporters on the sidelines of a pre-Paris preparatory meeting in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

"It is a substantial number. Many of them are coming along before Paris," he said. The final goal is 200 governments committing to the halving of world emissions by 2050.

Critics of the Paris process warn that a deal is being built on sometimes vague promises from member states and wind up as a toothless addition to the stack of over 500 global and regional environmental treaties, even as the rise in global temperatures mounts inexorably past the UN ceiling of 2°C, with the prospect of ever more floods, droughts and heatwaves.

The Rabat meeting was meant to assess all the pledges ahead of the Paris gathering aimed at hammering out a global accord.

Wary of the shadow cast by the 2009 Copenhagen summit, the last failed attempt to reach a global climate deal, EU officials and the UN stress Paris is expected to be a step forward rather than the decisive breakthrough. Further talks are foreseen in 2016 in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

Canete said participants in the Rabat meeting were examining which elements should be introduced at Paris to help make a final global warming agreement work.

"European countries are fighting for a long-term goal ...but we need an intermediate target [for the long-term goal] by 2050 to act as a benchmark to see how are performing," he said.

Read more on:    morocco  |  cop21  |  climate change

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