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Average global temperature may rise by around 2.7 degree Celsius by 2100, UN report

Vishwa Mohan,TNN | Oct 30, 2015, 04.52 PM IST


NEW DELHI: Promises made by 146 countries as part of their efforts to fight climate change will slow emissions into the atmosphere and also bring down per capita emissions in next 15 years, but these commitments are not enough to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius by 2100 — a scenario which will have major disastrous consequences all around the world in the form of sea-level rise and extreme weather events.


If the countries want to save the world from adverse impacts of temperature rise, they — mainly the big polluters like China, US and European Countries - will have to scale up their emission cut targets substantially in coming years. This conclusion can be drawn from a new UN synthesis report on the aggregate effect of national climate action plans — called intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) — of 146 countries. The report was released in Berlin on Friday.


"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," said Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


The report, released by the UNFCCC secretariat, captures the overall impact of national climate plans covering 146 countries, including China, US, European Union nations and India, as of October 1. This comprises 119 separate INDCs from 147 Parties, including the EU (representing 28 countries).


Referring to the countries' commitments, the report noted that these collective efforts would bring down the global average per capita emission by 8% by 2025 and by 9% by 2030 from the 1990 levels.


"These INDCs represent a clear and determined down-payment on a new era of climate ambition from the global community of nations. Governments from all corners of the earth have signaled through their INDCs that they are determined to play their part according to their national circumstances and capabilities," said Figueres.


The INDCs, comprising different actions of these countries, will be the basis of negotiation to arrive at a legally binding global climate deal in Paris summit which is scheduled to be held from November 30 to December 11.


The new climate change agreement to be agreed in Paris can anchor the INDCs in terms of recognition, accountability and adequate support that will encourage the extra, required ambition to emerge.


"And because greater action will be required over time, it is important to note that the INDCs do not indicate any locking in of the level of global emissions in 2030. Many nations will overachieve on goals set based on what is seen as achievable today. National contributions can be adjusted upwards over time, especially as mobilization of climate finance and other forms of multilateral cooperation, which are catalysed by the new Paris agreement, will allow governments to go further and faster, even before 2030", said a statement issued by the UNFCCC.


The 146 plans include all developed nations and three quarters of developing countries under the UNFCCC, covering 86% of global greenhouse gas emissions - almost four times the level of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the world's first international emission reduction treaty that required emissions cuts from industrialized countries.


The UN report does not directly assess implications for temperature change by the end of the century under the INDCs because information on emissions beyond 2030 is required. However other independent analyses have, based on a range of assumptions, methodologies and data sources, attempted to estimate the impact of the INDCs on temperature leading to a range of average estimates below, at or above 3 degrees C.


The UNFCCC will next month come out with an accompanying report, "Climate Action Now" -- a summary for policymakers. It will underline the enormous emission reduction potential and multiple economic benefits possible from best practice climate policies across major sectors from energy to transport, from buildings to forests.


Key findings:


1. The majority of INDCs are national in scope and some include immediate action, underlining government recognition of the urgency to raise ambition before as well as after 2020, when the new climate change agreement takes effect.


2. The report shows that the INDCs represent a substantial slowdown in emissions growth achieved in a cost effective way, making it still possible and affordable by 2030 to stay below a 2 degree temperature rise.


3. As well as the impact on per capita emissions, the report shows that INDCs are expected to slow emissions growth by approximately a third for 2010-2030 compared to the period 1990-2010, delivering emission reductions of around 4Gt by 2030 compared to pre-INDC scenarios.


4. All industrialized country INDCs and many developing country INDCs are un-conditional. Conditional contributions represent about 25% of the total range of emission reductions.


5. All INDCs cover Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and many also cover methane, nitrous oxide and other potent greenhouse gases.


6. Over half of all INDCs also include a long-term perspective on the transition toward economic growth based on low-emission, high resilience development. Many foresee near climate neutrality by 2050, meaning a point where remaining human emissions are absorbed by natural systems, are stored or used.


7. Reflecting the need to factor existing climate change into national planning, 100 of the INDCs include measures to reduce vulnerability and build resilience.