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Blog Posts: 2020

  • In his first Insights post as Director, WRI United States, Dan Lashof focuses on some good news from California: a comprehensive suite of climate policies helped the Golden State meet its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions four years early, while California's economy grew.

  • Today, more than 300 individuals and organizations launched the Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights. The campaign aims to double the amount of land legally recognized as owned or controlled by Indigenous Peoples and communities by 2020, and eventually, secure lands for all communities and Indigenous Peoples.

  • In the lead-up to this year’s climate summit in Paris, countries are proposing climate actions that will take effect after 2020.

    But what about the pre-2020 pledges? The new CAIT Pre-2020 Pledges Map showcases interactive data from 15 developed and 58 developing countries, providing an understanding of what countries have committed to in the short term, and what can be built upon in their post-2020 plans.

  • As climate negotiations kick off this week in Warsaw, Poland (COP 19), the stakes are high. The recently published UNEP Emissions Gap Report finds that countries are falling woefully short of the action required to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Designing an international climate agreement that can reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the coming decades will be a key focus of negotiators’...

  • This post was co-authored with Carita Chan, an intern with WRI's forests initiative.

    As the crisis of tropical deforestation reaches a new level of urgency due to forest fires raging in Indonesia, an important question is how can the world satisfy the growing demand for forest products while still preserving forest ecosystems? This week, some of the world’s largest companies will join U.S. and Indonesian government officials in Jakarta at the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) meeting to discuss this issue.

    The meeting comes three years after the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a group of the world’s 400 largest consumer goods companies from 70 countries, announced their commitment to source only deforestation-free commodities in their supply chains and help achieve net-zero deforestation by 2020. The TFA 2020, a public-private partnership established in 2012 at the Rio+20 Summit, aims to provide concrete guidance on how to implement the forum’s pledge.

  • After a year of extreme weather events and recent studies outlining climate change’s impacts, it’s become increasingly clear that we must understand what emissions reduction pathways are necessary to avoid these risks. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) last Assessment Report, for example, outlined the emissions reductions needed from developed countries to stabilize concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) consistent with limiting warming to 2°C. Further research has continued to examine the global GHG emissions reductions necessary to avert dangerous climate change. And as countries implement existing policies and consider new ones, the scale of required emissions cuts is a fundamental question. In fact, it’s one of the most pressing questions facing the international climate change community.

    One new study shows that we have to reduce emissions even more than scientists initially thought in order to avoid climate change’s worst impacts. A paper published in Energy Policy on February 20th by Michel den Elzen and colleagues examines new information on likely future emissions trajectories in developing countries. This includes recent clarification of assumptions and conditions related to developing country pledges. In addition, countries have also come forward with further information on their emissions projections. As a result, the report finds that developed countries must reduce their emissions by 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if we are to have a medium chance of limiting warming to 2°C, thus preventing some of climate change’s worst impacts.

    This level of reductions is considerably higher than what the scientific community thought was necessary to meet the 2°C goal. The most recent IPCC Fourth Assessment Report laid out a recipe for a medium chance[^1] of limiting warming to 2°C. This report—compiled by the world’s leading climate scientists—stated that developed countries would have to reduce their emissions by 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and developing country emissions would have to be reduced substantially from their business-as-usual emissions trajectories.

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