Tuesday 27th September 2016                 Change text size:

US and China among counties unveiling climate pledges



power plant emissions by Martin Nikolaj Bech via Flickr

The two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the US, are among the countries that have unveiled climate change plans in recent days. The growing number of commitments to tackle the issue suggests that a global climate change agreement can be reached at a UN summit later this year.

In a joint partnership the US and emerging economy Brazil have both agreed to obtain up to 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Reaching this target would mean tripling the amount of renewables in the US and doubling clean energy in Brazil.

Brazil has also committed to restoring up to 12 million hectares of forest in order to reduce carbon pollution. Deforestation is playing a major role in rising global temperatures and restoring forests is one way to mitigate some carbon emissions.

Top greenhouse gas emitter China has stated it will try to cap its rising emissions before 2030 as well as increasing its use of renewable and nuclear energy to 20% of its energy mix by the same year.

South Korea also announced its intention to cut emissions by 37% by 2030, a stronger target than was expected.

International research group, the Climate Action Tracker, previously labelled South Korea’s four options for climate change as “inadequate”. It argued that all the proposed options were less ambitious than South Korea’s 2020 pledge and would allow emissions to increases after the end of the decade.

In April, the organisation stated that climate change pledges made ahead of the UN summit in December are not ambitious enough to limit warming to the internationally agreed 2C. The organisation, which aims to assess how ‘fair’ the action of each government is, has assessed many countries, including the EU bloc, as ‘medium’, while only two were ranked as role models.

Countries representing more than half of global emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases have now out forward their pledges, leading to hope the a global agreement can be reached later this year.

Photo: Martin Nikolaj Bech via Flickr

Further reading:

Lord Stern calls for countries to raise ambition of climate pledges

Climate pledges don’t go far enough, say scientists

G7 pledge to cut out fossil fuels by 2100

US pledges to cut emissions by 28%

France pledges $1bn to Green Climate Fund


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