Washington, D.C. — The parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change meet in Bonn, Germany, through June 11 to continue negotiating a new climate agreement that will be adopted this December in Paris. As the contours of the agreement come into focus, it is becoming clear that the final agreement will involve national greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets that are collectively inadequate to solve the climate problem and that countries are not even legally obligated to meet.
To many, this would seem like a failure of the negotiations. As explained in a Center for American Progress column released today, however, an agreement with legally binding targets could threaten the participation of some of the world’s heaviest emitters or encourage them to adopt only conservative goals that they know are achievable. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s binding targets now cover only a fraction of world emissions. Canada withdrew from the agreement; Japan, New Zealand, and Russia refused to renew commitments; and the agreement never even received a vote in the U.S. Senate.
“The Paris agreement may include national emissions reduction targets that are nonbinding and collectively insufficient to curtail dangerous warming,” said Gwynne Taraska, CAP Senior Policy Advisor and author of the column. “But the agreement can still be successful if it gains the participation of the world’s major emitters and ensures that the targets are only a first wave in a series of increasingly ambitious emissions reductions.”
Click here to read the column.
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