Local emission cuts not enough to deliver Paris Agreement

Emission reduction pledges made by over 2,000 companies and nearly 6,000 cities, states and regions worldwide will not be enough to deliver the Paris Agreement without further national action.


That is according to a new study led by researchers at Yale University, which forecasts that 2030 greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by 2.2 billion tons if local pledges are realised globally.

This amounts to roughly double Canada’s emissions for 2016, but would still not be sufficient to restrict temperature rises to well below 2˚C above industrial levels,

In the US – where president Trump has signalled his intention to abandon the Paris Agreement – cities, regions and businesses will only be able to provide half the emission cuts needed for the country to fulfil its international pledges. 

“Many actors are signing up to take actions, but their ambition and ability to move us faster and closer to reach the Paris climate goals in time is limited,” said Data-Driven Yale director, Angel Hsu.

“What’s needed now is financing, policies, and support to urgently realise these efforts.”

The study is the most comprehensive assessment of city, region and company pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and comes ahead of next month’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

It forecasts that the EU could achieve a reduction equal to Italy’s total emissions for 2016 if local pledges are realised, while China could deliver reductions equivalent to what it generated though industrial processes in 2014.

The study also predicts that emissions could be cut by a third in 2030 if international cooperative initiatives like the Global Covenant of Mayors grow their membership, meet their goals, and add to existing action.

The US, for example, could meet and even exceed its original Paris Agreement pledge if all international cooperative initiatives reach their goals.

“The effect of international initiatives’ climate goals is particularly encouraging, and speaks to the potential for deeper cuts when national governments partner with city, region, company, and civil society actors,” commented professor Dr Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute, who co-authored the research. 


Image credit | iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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