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CO2 Emissions

Published on March 20th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill


Tracking The Progress Of Emissions Reductions Under The Paris Agreement

March 20th, 2017 by  

In an effort to effectively and efficiently achieve the emissions reductions set as part of the Paris Agreement, we must be able to properly track the progress of these reductions, an effort that the Climate Action Tracker has begun work on with its new decarbonization data portal.

The Climate Action Tracker is actually an “independent scientific analysis” produced by research organisations Climate Analytics, Ecofys, and NewClimate Institute. The groups have combined now to produce what they are calling a “decarbonisation data portal” which provides an interactive means to answer any number of questions relating to the progress being made by countries in their efforts to decarbonize.

 “To meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming limit, the world has to decarbonise, so we’ve set this up to track the rates of decarbonisation in various sectors to better understand what is contributing to the overall emissions trend in different countries,” said Sebastian Sterl, project leader of NewClimate Institute.

“This project is complementary to the Climate Action Tracker’s country assessments, where we measure actual emissions in gigatonnes, against pledges, current policy scenarios and Paris Agreement compatible emissions pathway.”

The move comes parallel to the group’s desire to raise the awareness of the need to better track the individual country goals (the NDCs) and the larger global goals (the long-term temperature goals) made as part of the Paris Agreement. “Independent evaluations of progress will continue to play an important role in providing Parties and other actors with timely information on whether individual goals are adequate, and whether collective action is on track to achieve the Paris Agreement’s global goals,” CAT said earlier this month, before describing a number of recommendations it has for a Paris “tracking system” to be effective:

  • The rule-set should be as precise as possible.
  • It should be acknowledged that not all countries will provide all the necessary information and therefore space should be made for expert analysis — either mandated by the UNFCCC or external to the UNFCCC umbrella.
  • Guidance for the information contained in NDCs would ideally address all types of NDCs in order to facilitate their aggregation; in particular, a minimum mandatory set of requirements for the information that they contain would help ensure their comparability.
  • Guidance for accounting of NDCs would need to ensure environmental integrity of emissions reductions, particularly when it comes to the land-use sector and emissions reductions that are transferred through market-based measures. Accounting rules must also allow mitigation action from the range of different NDC target types to be aggregated in a scientifically robust manner.
  • Parties would ideally agree to place all NDCs on a common timeframe (e.g. over synchronized 5 year periods), so that they are updated at the same time, and apply over the same period. This will make aggregation much easier.

The interactive data portal is a step towards this need for effective tracking, and combines data from 41 indicators of emissions trends across 42 countries.

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About the Author

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 (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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