UNFCCC report of countries' climate action plans released: aggregate climate contribution insufficient to keep the world safe, says CSE

October 30, 2015

  • The Synthesis Report assesses the aggregate effect of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of countries. 

  • CSE assesses that the impact of aggregate INDCs is insufficient to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius; they put the world on a global warming path of 3 degrees Celsius or more

  • UNFCCC report confirms previous CSE analysis that world will finish about 70-80 per cent of the remaining carbon budget by 2030, leaving very little carbon budget for the poor from Asia and Africa for basic development needs and survival emissions.

  • CSE’s analysis of INDCs shows that developed countries are doing very little. They will misappropriate more carbon budget by 2030 and beyond.

  • CSE urges Government of India to get an equitable deal at the Paris climate meeting based of sharing of remaining carbon budget within countries.

New Delhi October 30, 2015: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has come out with its Synthesis Report with a view to assessing the aggregate effort of the Parties’ climate action plans referred to as the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The report takes into account 119 INDCs of 147 Parties by 1 October 2015.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Christina Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said that the report represents about 86 per cent of all the green house gas emissions in the world and includes submissions of all industrialized countries and about 75 per cent of the developing countries.  She called this culmination of a two-year effort as a “significant achievement” and an “unprecedented engagement” from all countries.

Dissecting the Synthesis report:

• Aggregate effect of INDCs insufficient to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius: CSE finds that the emissions from the world will not peak even in 2030 and the projected emission level of 57 billion tonnes in 2030 is about 25 per cent more than what the emissions should have been to keep the world on a 2 degrees target. To remain within 2 degrees, the global emissions should peak latest between 2020 and 2030.

• World will finish 75 per cent of the remaining carbon budget of 1000 billion tonnes by 2030: The UNFCCC report confirms CSE’s previous estimate that the world will exhaust 70-80 per cent of its remaining carbon budget by 2030. 

• Global warming of over 3 degrees Celsius is expected: CSE disagrees with the projections put out by agencies, including UNFCCC, that the temperature rise will be about 2.7 degrees by 2100.  Considering that about 75 per cent of the remaining carbon budget will be exhausted by 2030 and global emissions will not have peaked by 2030, CSE projections show that the world is on a temperature path of more than 3 degrees.

• Mitigation efforts from developed countries less than they are by developing countries: Studies by various civil society organizations including CSE show that the efforts from developed countries fall well short of what their efforts should have been considering their historical responsibility.  US and the EU countries climate action plans represent only about a fifth of what they should have been doing based on their economic capability and responsibility of causing climate change.

• Carbon space for basic development needs and survival emissions compromised: With nations such as the US and EU misappropriating more than their fair share of carbon budgets from now until 2030 and further staking a claim on the carbon budget until 2050, the poor from Asia and Africa will have very little space for growth after 2030 when most of the carbon space will have been exhausted.

• A new mechanism required to distribute the carbon budget within countries based on equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR): While the report does not talk about a mechanism for increasing ambition in the mitigation efforts of countries, CSE strongly believes that this will not be sufficient. A mechanism must be evolved and agreed to in Paris to fairly distribute the carbon budget within countries based on the principles of UNFCCC like equity and CDBR. If that is not done, developing countries will have very little carbon budget left to meet their basic human development needs post 2030.

“INDCs are reducing the rate of growth of emissions marginally, but this is not sufficient to keep the world on a safe temperature rise trajectory. Implementation of the INDCs will only lead to higher and higher emissions till 2030. We need a more than INDCs at Paris. Else, we might well be looking at a future of run-away global warming and disastrous impacts of extreme weather events on the poor and vulnerable of the world,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE.

Sunita Narain, Director General, CSE said, “The misappropriation of carbon space by developed countries will lead to little carbon space being left for developing countries for basic developmental needs.  Consumption levels in developed countries will have to be reigned in if emissions are to come down to sustainable levels.  It is important this reality is discussed and resolved in the Paris climate conference.”

For further information, please contact Anupam Srivastava, asrivastava@cseindia.org; 99100 93893