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Climate action outside the UNFCCC

Report | 11-11-2015

International climate initiatives operating outside the global climate negotiations could deliver greenhouse gas emission reductions of 2.5 GtCO2-equivalents by 2020 and 5.5 GtCO2 eq by 2030, compared to a scenario without climate policy. This is roughly the same amount as national governments have pledged to reduce in the context of the UN-led Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). However, we estimate a 70% overlap between these international initiatives and national pledges, as many sectors are already included in what governments have put forward in the climate negotiations.

Largest reductions expected from companies and cities

In addition to the international climate negotiations under the UNFCCC flag, there is a wide range of public and private initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These include coalitions of cities or companies, initiatives in specific sectors, and programmes focusing on specific greenhouse gases. The largest reductions are expected from company initiatives such as the Top 500 companies in the Carbon Disclosure project, and city initiatives such as the C40 Cities initiative and Covenant of Mayors. Apart from additional reductions to pledges, these initiatives can help to accelerate and increase the effectiveness of climate policy implementation.

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Global greenhouse gas emission level achieved by international cooperative initiatives compared to pledges, current national policies scenario and IMAGE baseline

Pledges and initiatives fall short to reach the 2°C target

The combined impact of international initiatives and pledges, taking into account their overlap, would lead to emission levels between 54 and 57 GtCO2 eq by 2030. These emission levels are not consistent with those necessary to close the gap with the 2°C climate target.

Author(s)Mark Roelfsema; Mathijs Harmsen; Jos Olivier; Andries Hof
Report no.1188
Publication date11-11-2015