|June 16, 2010|
Copenhagen Accord Pledges - Too Little - Too Late
|Many countries have pledged targets or actions to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions in the Copenhagen Accord. New OECD analysis shows that
these pledges go towards but are not ambitious enough to limit
long-term temperature rise to 2°C.
While not cheap, the costs of these pledges are limited compared to expected economic growth. Ambitious global action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is not only necessary, but also economically rational. Using market-based instruments to implement the pledges also has the potential to generate sizable fiscal revenues.
Tackling the problem of global climate change requires a high level of international cooperation. Broad based participation is needed, involving not only developed, but also developing countries.
To date, more than 120 countries plus the European Union have associated themselves with the Accord - ranging from major emitters such as the United States and China, to smaller countries that are vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as the Maldives.
The Accord recognises the scientific view that the increase in average global temperature should be below 2°C. The Accord also invited all Parties to the UNFCCC to submit pledges for targets or actions to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
OECD analysis shows that while the emission targets currently pledged by a wide range of countries under the Accord are an important and welcome start to a global solution, the pledges are not ambitious enough to put us on a pathway to limit average global temperature rise to 2°C.
The pledges do reverse the trend of growing emissions by 2020, however there remains a sizable gap from the trajectory outlined by the IPCC for a 2°C pathway.
While it is promising that many countries are willing to commit to ambitious mitigation action, the pledged targets and actions as submitted to the Copenhagen Accord are insufficient when compared to the emission reductions suggested by the IPCC to keep global temperature change limited to 2°C.
This OECD assessment is in line with other model assessments (UNEP, 2010). While not cheap, the costs of these pledges are limited compared to expected economic growth, and substantially less than most estimates of the costs of inaction. Ambitious global action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions is thus not only necessary, but also economically rational.
Climate policies also provide important environmental benefits and have the potential to generate fiscal revenues that are sizable, when market instruments are used. This is especially attractive in current times of financial hardship. Ambitious climate policies are an essential part of a broader green growth strategy that aims at a strong, fair and clean global economy.