Climate Literacy

December 10, 2015
By: Janet Brown, Associate Director

Pins and Needles

The nearly-final draft of the agreement was just released! This is what everyone has been waiting on pins and needles for all afternoon. There was a palpable sense that we were all holding our breath, and are now finally able to release it. A few big wins:

  • The agreement recognizes that “when developing policies and taking action to address climate change, Parties should promote, protect, respect, and take into account their respective obligations on all human rights, the right to health, and the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and under occupation, and the right to development, and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women;
  • The agreement emphasizes with serious concern “the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges and global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 [and aggregate emission pathways] consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C, recognizing that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change”
  • The COP will also reconvene on November 2018 to review capacity building. This is great, since some thought this may not happen until 2020 or later, and timely reconvenings to review and strengthen emissions pledges will be critical for staying within a 1.5 degree target.

These are HUGE wins! While the current INDC commitments (aka emissions pledges) from countries do not get us to the goal of limiting temperature increase to below 2 degrees, let alone 1.5, the language of the COP21 agreement strongly encourages all countries to pursue aggressive reductions. Although this is not the 100% final text, and negotiators are now going through a two-hour comment period, it does bode well for us to come out of Paris with a strong agreement. More will be coming out in the next 24-48 hours, so stay tuned!