The Paris Agreement: Understanding the CO2 Reduction Target
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, is a global effort to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In order to achieve this goal, the agreement sets a target for countries to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. But what exactly is this target, and how is it determined? In this article, we’ll explore the Paris Agreement’s CO2 reduction target in detail.
The Paris Agreement’s CO2 reduction target is based on the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This goal was established by the scientific community, which has warned that global temperatures must not exceed this threshold in order to avoid catastrophic consequences such as extreme weather events, sea level rise, and biodiversity loss.
To achieve this goal, the Paris Agreement requires countries to submit their own ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs), which outline their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These NDCs are expected to be updated every five years, with each new iteration setting more ambitious targets than the previous one.
The Paris Agreement also includes a mechanism for reviewing and assessing the collective progress towards achieving the global temperature goal. This process is known as the ‘global stocktake’ and occurs every five years, with the first one taking place in 2023. The global stocktake will assess the progress made by countries towards meeting their NDCs and identify areas where further action is needed.
So, what is the CO2 reduction target that countries must aim to achieve under the Paris Agreement? The answer varies depending on the country. When submitting their NDCs, each country sets their own target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, based on their national circumstances, capabilities, and priorities.
However, there is a collective goal for all countries under the Paris Agreement called the ‘global peaking goal’. This goal aims to see global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as possible, with a view to achieving a balance between emissions and removals in the second half of this century. This means that, by mid-century, the world must be emitting no more greenhouse gases than can be absorbed by natural sinks such as forests and oceans.
In conclusion, the Paris Agreement’s CO2 reduction target is a key aspect of the global effort to combat climate change. The target is aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and countries must submit their own NDCs outlining how they plan to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While each country’s target varies, there is a collective goal for all countries to see global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as possible, with a view to achieving a balance between emissions and removals in the second half of this century.