COP15 Progress Report: Pledges Too Weak, But There's Hope
Images via CAP
There's good news, and there's bad news. The good news is that 110 countries, which are responsible for 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have signed on with pledges to reduce them. The bad news, of course, is that according to the United Nations, those pledges are simply too weak. Here's the news, via Reuters:
the first formal U.N. list of backers of the deal, compiled since the text was agreed at an acrimonious 194-nation summit in December, showed support from all top emitters led by China, the United States, the European Union, Russia, India and Japan.Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat who's due to resign this summer, says that despite this achievement, it's not enough to limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F). That said, it is indeed progress, as the Center for American Progress notes in an unusually optimistic report on the Copenhagen pledges, which states that "achieving these commitments could hold us to a 3-degree increase rather than the 4.8 degree rise we would see by 2100 under a business as usual scenario. These commitments also represent a vital first step toward achieving the 2-degree goal."
It also notes that as a result of the pledges, "Developed countries increased their reductions from 3.6 to 4.9 gigatons annually by 2020 and developing countries boosted theirs from 8.7 to 8.9 gigatons by 2020." Which is a significant net loss of projected emissions.
So, to reiterate, despite the overwhelming perception that COP15 was nothing but a disappointment, there's reason to believe that it's actually an encouraging step forward--not nearly encouraging enough, of course--and not only that it's still certainly worth pursuing further international negotiations, but that more binding agreements are potentially within reach.