The Paris Agreement on climate change, initially signed in 2015, is a legally binding international treaty designed to mitigate the effects of global warming. The agreement aims to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
One of the key components of the Paris Agreement is the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These are each country`s pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Countries are required to update their NDCs every five years, with the first update due in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many countries to delay their NDC updates, but as of April 2021, over 70 countries have submitted updated or new NDCs. These NDCs represent a significant step forward in global efforts to combat climate change.
Some of the most significant updates include China`s commitment to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, and the United States` pledge to reduce emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Other countries have also made important commitments, such as India`s goal to achieve 450 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and Brazil`s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 37% below 2005 levels by 2025.
These NDC updates are crucial steps towards meeting the Paris Agreement`s goal of limiting global temperature rise. However, it is important to note that the current NDCs are not sufficient to achieve the 1.5-degree Celsius target. A recent report from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that even if all countries fully implemented their NDCs, global temperatures would still rise by 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Therefore, it is important that countries continue to strengthen their commitments and work towards more ambitious targets. The next opportunity to do so is at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021.
Overall, the Paris Agreement NDC updates represent progress towards a more sustainable future. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change.