- Last Updated: 20 December 2015 20 December 2015
"I don't know that it is possible to say right now are we going to end up with 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9°C? But it's got to be within that range. There is no doubt that it has to be below 2°C."
"It’s very obvious that lower temperatures provide more security and more safety. That is unquestioned."
~ Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC [See Hickman (2015, June)]
The United Nations climate conference in Paris, France (November 30 - December 11, 2015) went one day extra to reach a deal.
Tabs below connect you to resources that are relevant for understanding the Paris conference and the outcomes.
This page connects you with the conference itself, some varied sources for tracking conference developments, and atmospheric projections for gauging progress. Use these links to connect with the negotiations that affect your future. It also features bottom-line numbers for gauging progress at the negotiations.
UNFCCC Paris COP21 Information Hub
UNFCCC COP21 | Advance Agenda
COP21.gouv.fr Conference Host Website
Numbers for Tracking Progress in Paris
Here, CO2.Earth brings focus to bottom-line numbers that reveals how far the world has progressed, and how far it has yet to go.
Pledges vs. 2°C Target
Global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions (GtC per year)
Government pledges as of October 20, 2015
Analysis by ClimateInteractive.org as of October 27, 2015
units = billion tons CO2-equivalent per year (GtC / year)
(1 billion tons = 1 gigatonne)
bau = business as usual
indc = intended nationally determined contribution
Data and calculations shown above are reported by ClimateInteractive based on INDCs ("INDC strict" scenario) received to date and analyze with a scientifically-reviewed climate simulator that can be downloaded for free. The tool is calibrated against results reported in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.
Climate Interactive notes that this table presents data for one of several possible pathways that may avoid a global average temperature increase of 2°C above pre-industrial levels. It has posted this and other assumptions at on its scoreboard science and data page.
CO2.Earth notes two limitations for tracking the progress of negotiations.
First, data is unavailable for an 'avoid 1.5°C' emissions pathway, a target preferred by most countries. Second, CO2 emissions are combined with other greenhouse gases. If this data were available--from the UNFCCC, Climate Interactive or other sources, it would be included here because it informs the public and enhances accountability for participants in climate negotiations that affect all people.
What do the numbers in the table say to you? Here are some takeaways offered by CO2.Earth:
- Significant progress has been made relative to the business as usual scenario
- Pledges by governments are closest to an 'avoid 2°C pathway' in the short term (e.g. 10 years) than for the longer term
- Pledges by governments so far do not stabilize anything on a planetary scale (emissions, atmospheric concentrations, temperature or climate)
Another question is what will it take for parties to the UNFCCC to achieve its target to avoid warming of 2°C. Climate Interactive (CI) offers an expert analysis and reaches this conclusion:
"Staying below 2°C requires all countries to take immediate action with deep, long-term emissions reductions."
The links below show differences in the way quantified emissions and temperature impacts get reported:
Report Excerpt: “The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs,” said Ms. Figueres.
CO2.Earth 2100 Projections (from Climate Interactive simulations)
Hickman, L. (2015, June 11). The Carbon Brief inteview: Christiana Figueres. Carbon Brief. Retrieved from http://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-interview-christiana-figueres/ [link]
Pledge and Review Model
"The UN climate regime is evolving from a ‘global deal’ model, in which countries negotiate emissions targets, to a ‘pledge-and-review’ model, in which each country deﬁnes its own goals, subject to some form of intergovernmental review. In this environment, governments’ views on sub- and nonstate climate action are shifting. Instead of seeing such actions as alternatives to or sub- stitutes for national and intergovernmental commitments, sub- and nonstate actions are increasingly seen as both complements to and ‘means of implementation’ for national pledges."
~ Sander Chan et al (2015)
This article sheds light on the opportunty to convert the "bottom up" groundswell of climate actions by cities, businesses, civil society groups into a coordinated force that advances effective climate responses. If you are trying to understand UNFCCC climate treaty processes, consider reading this article.
Chan, S., van Asselt, H., Hale, T., Abbott, K. W., Beisheim, M., Hoffmann, M., . . . Widerberg, O. (2015). Reinvigorating international climate policy: A comprehensive framework for effective nonstate action. Global Policy, 1-8. doi:10.1111/1758-5899.12294 [free until Feb 2016]
Tracking the Conference
Climate Conference News & Commentary
EcoWatch COP21: Paris climate talks
The Conversation Latest Paris summit news, research and analysis
ClimateChangeNews Climate Home
RTCC UN Climate Talks
AOSIS Press Releases
Track Earth's Vital Signs
CO2.Earth 2100 Projections
CO2.Earth Stabilization Watch
CO2.Earth Track the CO2 Trend
CO2.Earth Global Surface Temperature
These are many stories worth telling at the Paris Climate Conference. This is a small sample.
Climate Home 2015 Oct 30 10 takeaways from report on climate pledges
AP 2015 Oct 18 African countries reject draft as basis for negotiation
Guardian 2015 Oct 18 France launches global drive for climate deal
C&EC INDC Fact Sheets
Process: Paris Knowledge Bridge
The world looks to Paris in December 2015 where countries are to adopt a new climate change agreement. This agreement, if successfully agreed to by 195 states, will guide the future of climate governance and our planet.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) made four videos that introduce the history, issues, actors and dynamics of global climate governance.
Use the link below to acccess the four 15-minute videos from the IISD website. Together, they tell a story of climate governance by people who make, implement and remake institutions for climate change. The videos contain interviews with 60 individuals from Assistant Secretary General Janos Pasztor and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, to frontline delegates drafting the text for a new agreement and working to influence policy.
Climate Nexus UNFCCC Jargon Buster