INDC Analyses Show Improvement, Need for Radical Action
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The UNFCCC Seceretariat has released an updated synthesis report outlining the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted by 189 Parties as of 4 April 2016.

The report finds that full implementation of both the conditional and unconditional actions outlined in the INDCs would result in total aggregate global emission levels of 55 (51.4-57.3) Gt carbon dioxide (CO2)-equivalent (eq) in 2025 and 56.2 (52-59.3) Gt CO2-eq in 2030.

While this emissions trajectory does show an improvement over likely pre-INDC scenarios, it is far from those consistent with the goal of limiting warming to 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

unfccc_etc_wcrp2 May 2016: The UNFCCC Seceretariat has released an updated synthesis report outlining the aggregate effect of the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) submitted by 189 Parties as of 4 April 2016. The report finds that full implementation of both the conditional and unconditional actions outlined in the INDCs would result in total aggregate global emission levels of 55 (51.4-57.3) Gt carbon dioxide (CO2)-equivalent (eq) in 2025 and 56.2 (52-59.3) Gt CO2-eq in 2030. While this emissions trajectory does show an improvement over likely pre-INDC scenarios, it is far from those consistent with the goal of limiting warming to 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Similarly, a separate analysis performed by Ecofys for the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) examines 17 INDCs that cover 78% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and determines that more radical action is required to meet the world’s mitigation goals. The analysis finds that the energy supply must be more rapidly de-carbonized and energy productivity will have to be improved at a much greater rate than these 17 Parties committed to in their INDCs.

The Secretariat’s synthesis report covers 42 additional countries compared to the last synthesis, which was released in October 2015, ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference, bringing the total portion of global emissions covered to 95.7%. The latest synthesis determines that global aggregate emission levels resulting from the INDCs are expected to be higher by: 40% (33-47%) by 2025 and 44% (34-53%) by 2030 compared to 1990 levels; 35% (28-41%) by 2025 and 38% (29-47%) by 2030 compared to 2000 levels; and 13% (7-19%) by 2025 and 16% (8-23%) by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.

To get back on track toward the 2°C limit, the ETC analysis determines that, at a minimum, the share of low-carbon energy sources in the supply mix should be increased by 1% and energy productivity should be improved 3% annually. Adair Turner, ETC Chairman, noted that the 17 INDCs analyzed “show an increase in the use of low-carbon energy of only 0.4 percentage points per year and improvements in energy productivity by just 1.8 percent per year, far below what is required.” He expressed the hope that the analysis will inform governments as they seek to improve their INDCs during a facilitative dialogue in 2018. The facilitative dialogue is to take stock of collective efforts of countries in relation to the long-term global goal of the Paris Agreement and inform the preparation of the next round of pledges.

Even before 2018, the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, which mandated the Secretariat’s synthesis, will have the opportunity to consider the ambition needed. At its next session in Marrakesh, Morocco, in November 2016, the COP will review the Secretariat’s synthesis report, which also includes a summary of the adaptation components included by many Parties in their INDCS. As Parties digest the information in the report alongside the ETC’s analysis and the climate science available to them, a persistent question that they have been asking is likely to arise again: What regionally-relevant information is available to help determine the actions they should be taking specifically in their countries, in terms of both mitigation and adaptation?

Indeed, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) has reported increasing demand for regional climate information. WCRP held the 37th session of its Joint Scientific Committee (JSC-37) from 25-27 April 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland. At the meeting, the Committee considered a proposal for a WCRP Regional Advisory Council (WRAC) that would oversee the Programme’s regional activities and interface with regional contacts and other external partners. Incorporating regional aspects into its work was also high on the agenda of the 43rd session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC-43), which took place from 11-13 April 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya. The Panel decided to better integrate regional aspects into its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6).

The ETC was formed to help enable the transition to a low-carbon energy system that keeps global average temperature rise to well below 2°C and encourages robust economic development. The Commissioners represent a variety of backgrounds in the energy sector, including investors, incumbent energy companies, industry disruptors, equipment suppliers, non-profit organizations, advisors and academics. WCRP is co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council for Science, and, since 1993, by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO). These three organizations select the scientists to serve on the Joint Scientific Committee, which represents the climate-related disciplines in atmospheric, oceanic, hydrological and cryospheric sciences. [Aggregate Effect of the INDCs: An Update – Synthesis Report by the Secretariat] [UNFCCC Press Release – Synthesis Report] [IISD RS Story on Secretariat’s First Synthesis Report] [UNFCCC Press Release – ETC Analysis] [UNESCO Press Release] [JSC-37 Webpage] [IISD RS Coverage of IPCC-43]

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