UN says carbon-cutting pledges keep climate targets within reach | News | DW | 30.10.2015
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UN says carbon-cutting pledges keep climate targets within reach

The United Nations (UN) has said that carbon-cutting pledges from 146 nations for a global climate rescue agreement would help to slow the world's temperature rise. The plans will be finalized in Paris next month.

A 66-page review, published by the UN's Climate Change Secretariat on Friday, said that the pact would leave the "door open" to capping global warming below the danger threshold.

The proposed strategies would restrict a rise in world emissions to the equivalent of 56.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2030 - four billion less than expected without the action plan - from 49.0 billion in 2010.

If fully implemented, plans led by China and the US would "begin to make a significant dent in the growth of greenhouse gas emissions," Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, said in a statement.

"An unprecedented world-wide effort is underway to combat climate change, building confidence that nations can cost-effectively meet their stated objective of keeping a global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit)," the assessment said.

Drastic reductions still necessary

The Secretariat warned on Friday, however, that even if these 10-to-15 year plans are fulfilled, humanity will have used up three-quarters of its carbon "budget" by 2030.

Greenhouse gas output must be reduced even more to meet the 2 degrees Celsius target endorsed by the UN 195-nation climate body and avoid devastating climate impacts, the board said.

"The longer we wait, the harder and more expensive it will become to cut back the fossil fuel emissions that drive climate change," the UN said.

Scientists confirmed earlier in October that 2015 has so far been the warmest year on record.

Hopes ahead of COP21

The publication of the review on Friday came just a month before ministers gather at the UN's World Conference on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris between November 30 and December 11 where participating countries hope to finalize the historic global pact.

"The national contributions are a game changer, and distance us from the worst," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.

The so-called "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions," or INDCs, look to be the cornerstones of the Paris pact, which would be the first to unite nations worldwide in one single action plan.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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