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US Way Behind The Paris Climate Agreement Pledge: Report

The state of California just passed a bill committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Other announcements are expected.

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Developed countries are being urged to honour Paris Agreement. Flickr

The United States will fall well short of its 2025 greenhouse gas reduction target for the betterment of the climate unless major additional steps are taken, according to a new report.

While U.S. states, cities and companies have promised to step up their efforts to fight climate change as the Trump administration pulls back, the report finds their actions will not be enough to meet the emissions reduction pledge the United States made in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

But the report outlines steps that can get the United States “within striking distance of the Paris pledge.”

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropy is releasing the study, entitled “Fulfilling America’s Pledge,” to coincide with a major conference on global action to tackle climate change taking place in San Francisco.

Under the Paris agreement, the United States promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2025.

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The U.S. flag flies on a towboat as it passes a coal-fired power-plant on the Ohio River. VOA

U.S. emissions were down 12 percent in 2016, the latest data available.

Economic forces are helping push emissions down, the study notes, regardless of President Donald Trump’s intention to pull the United States out of the agreement and his administration’s efforts to roll back climate regulations. Coal-fired power plants are closing faster than ever, despite Trump’s support for the industry, and renewable energy continues to expand rapidly.

However, many states, cities and businesses remain committed to the Paris agreement. If this “coalition of the willing” were a country, the report says, it would be the world’s third-largest economy.

Their actions currently put U.S. emissions on track to drop by 17 percent by 2025. However, that falls far short of the Paris pledge.

 

The report lists 10 “high-impact, near-term, and readily available” strategies to accelerate progress. They include speeding up the transition from coal to renewable energy; increasing electric vehicle use; improving building efficiency; and stopping leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

 

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The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words “Paris Agreement is Done,” to celebrate the Paris U.N. Climate Change agreement in Paris. VOA

 

These steps would bring U.S. emission reductions to 21 percent.

If that “coalition of the willing” takes bigger steps — “within realistic legal and political limits” — the report says reductions could reach 24 percent.

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The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week is a venue to announce new actions. The state of California just passed a bill committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Other announcements are expected. (VOA)

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Escalating Consequences of Climate Change Hit Countries Globally

India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally

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Climate
As Climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. Pixabay

The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

It was released in the Spanish capital on the sidelines of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 that is being held in the backdrop of climate impact biting globally.

According to the report, India has also been badly affected, ranking fifth in the overall global vulnerability index in 2018, ranked first in terms of fatalities and second in the world in terms of losses in millions of dollars.

India’s overall ranking has drastically fallen from 14th in 2017, to fifth in 2018.

The report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries.

Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018, while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’ i.e. the most affected.

The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

To explain this drastic fall in ranking in a year, David Eckstein, Policy Advisor (Climate Finance and Investment) with Germanwatch said: “India’s high rank is due to severe rainfall, followed by heavy flooding and landslides that killed over 1,000 people.”

The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst in the last 100 years.

Climate
A report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries. Pixabay

According to Eckstein, India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people. Last but not least, India also suffered from extreme heat. While the human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damage was quite severe.

Other countries ranking in the bottom 20 in the overall climate risk categories are the US at 12th, Vietnam at sixth, Bangladesh at seventh and France at 15th.

The report also points to the importance of negotiations at COP25. As climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives.

So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it.

But at COP25, for the first time, financial support for climate-related loss and damage is high on the agenda.

For the poorest and most vulnerable countries, this climate summit is, therefore, of the utmost importance. They demand that states agree a deal to support those who are suffering, or at least acknowledge the necessity, with a pathway towards real help.

Otherwise the poorest countries will continue to rely on loans to cope with the consequences of climate change, which means they are threatened with excessive debts, undermining often already vulnerable economies.

In the talks that will last till December 13, India has been ambitious in its actions.

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The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally. Pixabay

It has emphasised that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 and progressively and substantially scale up their financial support to inform parties for future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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India is also stressing upon the need for fulfilling the pre-2020 commitments by developed countries, and that pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.

The Indian delegation will be led by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is attending the summit from December 9. (IANS)