INDCs Could Still Fail To Halt Warming To 2°C

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An assessment of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of 102 countries has concluded that we may still fail to halt global warming to 2°C.

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, are the climate plans made by countries and submitted to the United Nations in the lead up to the Paris climate negotiations set to begin in just a few days. These Contributions are the climate and energy commitments made by countries that are intended to help create a new global climate agreement that will, hopefully, keep global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

If all the currently submitted INDCs are implemented as-is — currently 156 Parties have submitted INDCs, allowing the report to analyze 102 of these Parties, representing approximately 89% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — there will be significant impact on global emissions reduction. According to the new analysis conducted by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and IIASA, Austria, these INDCs would have an impact of reducing emissions by 9 Gt of CO2-equivalent. If the conditional aspects of the INDCs are also implemented — which each require some form of international climate financing or cooperation — then emissions reduction would be increased by a further 11 Gt of CO2-equivalent, and amount to 54 Gt of CO2-equivalent by 2030.

However, and most importantly, even if all of these submitted conditionals are implemented as-is, global emissions will still continue to increase until at least 2030, and leave an emissions gap of 14 Gt of CO2-equivalent to the emission levels deemed necessary to halt warming to 2°C.

Impact of INDCs and climate policies on global greenhouse gas emissions


The report found that if there is any chance of halting global warming to 2°C, global emissions need to peak before 2025. Currently, according to the report, emissions in middle-income countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and South Korea are expected to peak before 2025. Meanwhile, emissions in China, India, and South Africa are expected to peak by 2030 or later, while most high-income countries have already seen their carbon emissions peak in the past.

However, the report also found that the largest relative emissions reductions in 2030 are expected from Australia, Brazil, and Canada.

Conversely, while the aggregate growth of emissions is currently on track to see us surpass 2°C of warming as a planet, there are some regions — the European Union and the United States — which are on track to keep themselves on a pathway that would, if left to themselves, halt warming before 2°C.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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6 thoughts on “INDCs Could Still Fail To Halt Warming To 2°C

  • One thing I think would help to point where effort is needed is an accounting adjustment. Yes the user/emitter of the CO2 should get 100% account to their bill, but the supplier should also get 50%. Just like in drugs the user and drug dealer play a role. So yes there would be two books, burn only and burn plus cause. So for example if we look at tar sands path thru US: Canada would get credit for all the tar mining and transport cost to border plus 50% worst downstream estimate. US would get cost of transport thru US and refineries (including waste) plus 50% worst downstream estimate. Country that flags ship would get credit for the shipping costs. Then country burning (EU or Asia) would get credit for burn. Having both books lets you see where pressure needs to be applied.

    • Yes. OECD countries get a free ride through the exclusion of the emissions embodied in their imports. This is one reason why they should set themselves tougher targets. But remember, these targets are no longer negotiated in the Figueres coalition of the willing. Embedded emissions in imports could be a useful basis for determining fair contributions to concessionary finance.

  • The conclusion is already known and this study just offers confirmation.
    The thing I found surprising is that only 9 Gt of the INDC CO2 reductions are unconditional, and another 11 Gt are conditional. The negotiations in Paris (and afterwards) on financing will be critical. We haven’t locked in the improvement to 2.7 degrees yet by any means.

  • How? As smart.

    They would appreciate our ability to decide not to toss more money down the rat hole of nuclear energy.

    I suppose we’d lose some credit because not all homo sapiens yet understand the economics of energy production.


    • That may one of the larger issues.

      It is a super nuanced industry. I think most people take (or have taken) electricity/energy for granted and I’ve not met many that can write succinctly and interestingly on issues that can be sometimes complicated. Too often newspapers, etc.. interview heads of states, policy makers whose interests, as sometimes evident, is primarily in protecting big industry. And the interviewer doesn’t know that much about the topic and subsequently may not be objective.

      This seems to have changed a bit, though, over the last few years. More and more people are paying attention maybe because of social media. Primarily, perhaps, because it’s becoming cheaper to generate your own power or business models are evolving such as community solar, virtual net metering, etc.

      Regardless of the CPP it’s an economic thing. Economics should be a major part of the message. Maybe even larger or just as large as the environmental aspects. They go hand in hand.

      I don’t think climate change is ever going to be stopped. It’s here. They may be able to mitigate future damage but it’s here and has been for years.

      Favorable RE economics and eventual storage is the bomb to fossils and this needs to be the message. If it can be adopted quickly enough then.. it’ll be better for all of us from an environmental perspective.

      • You’re right. We’ve changed the climate. And I don’t think we have a way to take things back to where they were in a short time frame.

        The best we can do is to stop additional warming by stopping GHG emissions. It may take us 30 years or so to finish that task, it’s enormous.

        Hopefully while we work on stopping GHG emissions some clever people will devise a way to remove much of the stuff we’ve put into our atmosphere. Otherwise it will take a century or more for the CO2 to be removed naturally. And that wouldn’t be good enough to really return things to where they were. It’s not likely we would ever replace the ancient ice we’re melting.

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