CAN Submission - Views on Options and Ways to Further Increase the Level of Ambition - February 2012


Views on Options and Ways to Further Increase the Level of Ambition

28 February 2012

Submission to the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action 

Current unconditional pledges and lenient accounting rules are set to result in global emissions of 55 GtCO2e in 2020. According to the Climate Action Tracker current pledges put the world on a pathway towards 3.5°C of warming and several potential global-scale tipping points. These tipping points include possible dieback of the Amazon rainforest, irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheets, risk of release of methane hydrates in ocean floor sediments and permafrost thawing. The window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change is rapidly closing.  

An emissions pathway consistent with keeping global temperature increase to below 2°C with likely probability requires global emissions to peak by 2015 in accordance with the most ambitious scenario assessed by the IPCC.  According to UNEP, global emissions in 2020 should be not higher than 44 GtCO2e, compared with 50 GtCO2e today.  After 2020, global GHG emissions would have to steeply decline by at least 80% by 2050 below 1990 levels, and continue to decline thereafter towards net negative emissions to have a likely chance to not exceed 1.5 degree in the long-term. While in theory there may be emission pathways consistent with current pledges (i.e. leading to 55 GtCO2e in 2020) and still keep long-term warming below 2°C, in practice such a scenario would require a rate of global reductions between 2020 and 2050 around 3.8% per year, which is economically and hence politically very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Proposals to not increase ambition for the 2013-2020 timeline beyond current pledges should be treated as what they are: attempts to dodge responsibility. 

At the same time CAN urges Parties to see a transition to emissions pathways consistent with 2°C/1.5°C as offering opportunities including early-mover advantages for new markets and clean technologies, driving innovation, investments, employment and economic – low emission – growth. Additionally, tapping into the abundant potentials for domestic renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, and shifts towards more sustainable lifestyles support national energy security, lowering dependencies on energy imports, as well as increased health benefits through reduced air pollution.