Climate action ahead of Paris: Unprecedented global effort but more ambition needed

Countries' climate plans announced ahead of the UN summit reveal unparalleled efforts to tackle climate change. However, an ambitious global climate deal needs to lay the foundations for further efforts to keep global warming in check, a high-level Forum co-hosted by the European Commission concluded today.

The world is witnessing a major shift from action by few to action by all. Experts gathered at the high-level INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions)International Forum in Rabat, Morocco, concluded that the intended climate action plans put forward by countries demonstrate governments' strong commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, as world leaders prepare for the final stretch before Paris, recognition of the need for a long-term goal and a dynamic approach to address the initial shortfall in effort increases. More will be needed: global ambition level should be regularly revisited and strengthened to keep the world on track to avoiding dangerous climate change.

EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "Countries have done serious work, approved at the highest political level, to design comprehensive climate strategies, many for the first time. This is unprecedented. The initial contributions on the table make a significant difference, but these alone will not be enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees. That's why in Paris we need to agree a long-term goal to guide our efforts, a process for taking stock of the progress made and raising ambition, and robust transparency and accountability rules. The new deal must show to the world that governments are united, determined and serious when it comes to fighting climate change."

The forum focused on the overall effect of countries' contributions to the new international climate agreement, which is due to be concluded at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December. The plans outline how each country intends to participate in the global efforts to tackle climate change and contribute to the internationally agreed objective of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

So far, 149 countries, representing almost 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have communicated their intended greenhouse gas reduction plans to the United Nations. According to expert estimates, the proposed contributions mean that emissions would peak and start to decrease at global scale during the next decade. This represents progress, but falls short of what is needed to put the world on the most cost-effective pathway to the below 2°C objective. Early action saves costs later and helps prevent the most severe consequences of climate change.

The INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions)Forum was organised by the European Commission, the Moroccan government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It brought together around 200 participants, including Ministers, government officials, academic experts, private sector and civil society representatives from over 40 countries.

The forum comes just before the last session of UN climate talks before Paris (Bonn, 19-23 October) and the publication of the UN synthesis report on the aggregate effect of countries' intended contributions (1 November).

Read more:
• INDC Forum website
• Press release

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