Key indicators to track current progress and future ambition of the Paris Agreement

Author: Peters, G.P.; Andrew, R.M.; Canadell, J.G.; Fuss, S.; Jackson, R.B.; Korsbakken, J. I.; Le Quéré, C.; Nakicenovic, N.

Description: Current emission pledges to the Paris Agreement appear insufficient to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Yet, details are missing on how to track progress towards the ‘Paris goal’, inform the five-yearly ‘global stocktake’, and increase the ambition of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). We develop a nested structure of key indicators to track progress through time. Global emissions track aggregated progress, country-level decompositions track emerging trends that link directly to NDCs, and technology diffusion indicates future reductions. We find the recent slowdown in global emissions growth is due to reduced growth in coal use since 2011, primarily in China and secondarily in the United States. The slowdown is projected to continue in 2016, with global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industry similar to the 2015 level of 36 GtCO2. Explosive and policy-driven growth in wind and solar has contributed to the global emissions slowdown, but has been less important than economic factors and energy efficiency. We show that many key indicators are currently broadly consistent with emission scenarios that keep temperatures below 2°C, but the continued lack of large-scale carbon capture and storage threatens 2030 targets and the longer-term Paris ambition of net-zero emissions.

Subject Headings: Paris agreement; Current progress; Climate change; Temperature; Emissions

Publication year: 2017

Journal or book title: Nature Climate Change

Volume: 7

Issue: 2

Pages: 118-122

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2551