Accord on national climate plans

15 December 2014

An agreement was reached at the recent United Nations climate change talks in Lima that all countries will submit details of their post-2020 plans to tackle climate change by the end of October 2015. The combined effect of these efforts will then be assessed.

After several days of negotiations, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced on 14 December that all the parties to the convention had agreed a framework for proposing greenhouse gas emission reduction targets by 1 October 2015. The agreement followed the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP20).

Individual countries will be required to say how they consider their "intended nationally determined contribution is fair and ambitious, in light of its national circumstance, and how it contributes towards achieving the objective of the convention," the UNFCCC said.

The UNFCCC will then study these individual plans and prepare a synthesis report by 1 November 2015 on the aggregate effect of these contributions. This could form the basis for a binding global agreement for 2020 and beyond at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21), set to be held in Paris at the end of 2015.

The agreement also calls for developed countries "to provide support for the preparation and communication of the intended nationally determined contributions of Parties that may need such support."

In a statement, the European Commission said it "stands ready to help in this process and engage in constructive discussions with other countries about their proposed targets."

EU commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Canete said, "The EU came to Lima to lay the ground for negotiations in Paris. Now, we are on the way to Paris. And although the EU wanted a more ambitious outcome from Lima, we believe that we are on track to agree a global deal in Paris next year."

Last month, the USA and China jointly announced separate targets for greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10-15 years.

President Obama said the USA aims to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 levels in 2025. The country plans to submit its 2025 target to the UNFCCC as an "intended nationally determined contribution" no later than the first quarter of 2015.

China, meanwhile, plans to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and "to make best efforts to peak early." It also intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to some 20% by 2030.

In October, European Union heads of states agreed targets for the EU to reduce CO2 emissions, raise efficiency and deploy renewables by 2030. Coming on top of targets for 2020, a new binding goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels by 2030, while an "indicative" and non-binding target should raise efficiency to 27% against the same baseline.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News