Countries Need to Redouble their Climate Change Actions

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As countries update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in preparation for the Glasgow COP26 in November, the United Nations urgently calls on all parties to redouble their climate efforts. The goal is to prevent global temperature increases beyond 2°C or keep it at 1.5°C as agreed in the Paris Agreement.

The 191 parties or countries committed to reducing their GHG emissions have requested a Synthesis Report from all the latest and updated NDCs to assist with their climate actions ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26.

The synthesis report is from the 86 updated NDCs and 113 new ones by the 113 parties. These new or updated NDCs consist of 59% of all Parties and account for almost half of global GHG emissions.

The NDCs are outline of how the country will pursue and achieve its domestic climate mitigation measures.  Taken all together, the NDCs shall determine whether the world will achieve its long-term goals of achieving the Paris Agreement, which is to peak global GHG emissions as soon as possible and to endeavour rapid reductions with the help of the best available science.

The Paris Agreement requires each party to submit their NDCs every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat to enhance the ambition over time. The Paris Agreement provides that successive NDCs will represent a progression compared to the previous NDC and reflect its highest possible ambition (Nationally Determined Contributions, 2021).

The NDCs that 113 Parties submitted so far project a 12% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030. Within this group, 70 countries expressed carbon neutrality goals by 2050, leading to around 26% emissions reductions by 2030.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, congratulated the parties who have submitted updated or new NDCs. She said that the synthesis shows that countries are making progress towards the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. This means that the in-built mechanism set up by the Paris Agreement to allow for a gradual increase of ambition is working.

NDCs of developing countries made their commitment to reducing emissions conditional to the financial support from wealthy countries. According to Espinosa, this will make the pledge of USD 100 billion climate support from G7 countries to developing countries crucial. “Developing countries need this support in order to act as ambitiously as possible”, she says.

Findings from the synthesis report are also worrying as it shows a sizable increase in global GHG emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, of about 16%.  According to the latest IPCC report, this increase can lead to a 2.7C temperature rise by 2100 unless there are urgent actions from all the parties.

Incoming COP26 President Alok Sharma highlighting the importance of urgent emissions reductions says:

“This report is clear: ambitious climate action can avoid the most devastating effects of climate change, but only if all nations act together. Those nations which have submitted new and ambitious climate plans are already bending the curve of emissions downwards by 2030. But without action from all countries, especially the biggest economies, these efforts risk being in vain.”

Although the new or updated NDCS shows marked improvement in climate adaptation and mitigation, which aligns with the SGD goals, COP 25 President Carolina Schmidt urged countries, especially the high emitters, to deliver their commitments.

He said, “I make an explicit call especially to the major emitters to deliver their commitments so that together we can prevent the temperature from rising more than 1.5. The IPCC report shows us that we can achieve it, but only if we are all working decisively in the same direction.”

To read the full NDC synthesis report, click the link below:

Source Citations:

Full NDC Synthesis Report: Some Progress, but Still a Big Concern. (2021, September 17). United Nations Climate Change Press Release. Retrieved from  https://unfccc.int/news/full-ndc-synthesis-report-some-progress-but-still-a-big-concern

Nationally Determined Contributions. (2021). United Nations Climate Change. Retrieved from https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs/nationally-determined-contributions-ndcs

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