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international climate policy

The Plumbing of Adaptation Finance

Accountability, Transparency, and Accessibility at the Local Level

Adaptation is local but reaching the local level is not always easy. This paper explores the challenges of reaching the most vulnerable people with adaptation finance. It identifies opportunities for improvement and proposes a framework to assess delivery of adaptation finance focusing on...

5 Issues to Watch at COP 19, the “Construction COP”

The stakes are high at this year’s international climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19). It is vital that negotiators get down to business on designing the international climate action agreement, including actually constructing the pathway needed to reach this agreement by 2015.

Making progress across five key issues will be critical to achieving this goal.

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Q&A with Jennifer Morgan: How Do We Secure a Strong, International Climate Agreement by 2015?

The next few years will be critical when it comes to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Under the UNFCCC, countries around the world committed to produce an international climate action agreement. This agreement will be finalized at the annual Conference of the Parties, meeting in Paris in 2015 (COP 21). How UNFCCC negotiations progress between now and then will in part determine whether the world curbs climate change—or feels its worsening effects.

I caught up with Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI’s Climate and Energy programs, to discuss what’s at stake and what steps are needed between now and 2015 to ensure a strong, international climate action plan.

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UNEP Report Finds Significant “Emissions Gap” Must Be Bridged

A new report from the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that the world is still not taking enough action to avoid dangerous levels of climate change. Assuming countries deliver on the pledges they have made to reduce their respective emissions, the Emissions Gap Report finds that global GHG emissions in 2020 will still be 18 to 27 percent above where they need to be if warming is likely to be limited to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This gap puts the world in a dangerous position of experiencing increased sea level rise, forest fires, and other serious impacts--unless we take action now.

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The next round of international climate talks, in Warsaw, is rapidly approaching. This year’s Conference of the Parties (COP19) is not expected to yield dramatic breakthroughs, but it is an important stepping stone in the lead up to the Paris negotiations in 2015.

The recent IPCC report reminds the world that the current course is not sustainable. The world urgently needs to transition to a low-carbon trajectory in order to meet the climate challenge.

Designing the 2015 Climate Agreement: Options for Submitting “National Offers”

The UNFCCC negotiations are entering a crucial phase. Negotiators decided nearly two years ago to establish an international climate action agreement “with legal force” by 2015. How this agreement will be structured, though, remains to be seen.

WRI’s new working paper lays out the various options for designing the process for submitting "national offers," countries’ plans to reduce their respective greenhouse gas emissions. It will be critical for negotiators to focus on three key areas: the content of the offers, the timing and process for submitting them, and how they will be reviewed.

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A Pathway to a Climate Change Agreement in 2015: Options for Setting and Reviewing GHG Emission Reduction Offers

The UNFCCC Parties need to put forward emission reduction offers as part of the 2015 climate change agreement that is currently being negotiated. This paper suggests options for the design of this process, including the content of the offers and how they will be reviewed. Ensuring that this...

Global Leaders Highlight Actions Needed to Achieve Climate Justice

It’s not every day that several former Heads of State, the leader of the global trade union movement, an organizer of urban slum dwellers, a business leader, and a number of other leaders and advocates all come together on the same page.

But last week it happened. And even more strikingly, it was their common concern about climate change that brought them together.

A diverse group of global leaders launched the Declaration on Climate Justice to highlight the impacts of climate change on world’s most vulnerable people and the urgent need to build a “just transition” to low-carbon and climate-resilient societies. The Declaration outlines the priority actions needed to achieve a climate-just society in the near- and long-terms. (See our backgrounder for more information on the issues raised in the Declaration.)

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World’s Carbon Budget to Be Spent in Three Decades

EDITOR'S NOTE 11/18/13: After this blog post was published, the IPCC updated its Summary for Policymakers. The figures in this blog post have been updated to reflect new information.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has delivered an overwhelming consensus that climate change impacts are accelerating, fueled by human-caused emissions. We may have just about 30 years left until the world’s carbon budget is spent if we want a likely chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees C. Breaching this limit would put the world at increased risk of forest fires, coral bleaching, higher sea level rise, and other dangerous impacts.

When Will Our Carbon Budget Run Out?

The international community has adopted a goal for global warming not to rise above 2°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists have devoted considerable effort to understanding what magnitude of emissions reductions are necessary to limit warming to this level, as the world faces increasingly dangerous climate change impacts with every degree of warming (see Box 1).

IPCC AR5 summarizes the scientific literature and estimates that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions related to human activities need to be limited to 1 trillion tonnes C (1000 PgC) since the beginning of the industrial revolution if we are to have a likely chance of limiting warming to 2°C. This is “our carbon budget” – the same concept as a checking account. When we’ve spent it all, there’s no more money (and the planet’s overdraft fees will be much more significant than a bank’s small charges for bounced checks).[^1]

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