The 21st United Nations sponsored Conference of the Parties (COP21) will be held in Paris this December. The goal of COP21 is to produce the first meaningful, legally binding international climate treaty since the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
Paris may be our last collective chance to enact meaningful climate action to prevent a 2ºCelsius (3.6ºF) rise in global temperatures within this century. Scientists warn that passing the 2ºCelsius tipping point may result in persistent, unpredictable, and extreme weather that will be disastrous for much of life on Earth.
In advance of COP21, countries have agreed to make greenhouse gas reduction pledges, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). These pledges will guide the negotiations. Each nation’s contribution is to be determined by national circumstance. No firm standards were set regarding pledges. We should all be concerned that, to date, most countries have made weak pledges that exploit this ambiguity.
The Citizens’ 2015 Global Climate Agreement Campaign has been organized to keep citizens, environmental leaders, and policymakers around the world engaged and informed about the status of country pledges and other issues related to the success of COP21. The Campaign has set the following standards we believe country COP21 pledges should reach:
1. As called upon by the UN, all countries should use their 1990 level of carbon emissions as a baseline from which to measure and pledge future reductions.
2. Industrialized countries should pledge to reduce their emissions by 25% by 2025 with further reductions in five-year increments, i.e., 40% by 2030, etc.
3. Less-industrialized countries should pledge to reduce their emissions by at least 15% by the year 2025 with further reductions in five-year increments, i.e., 25% by 2030, etc.