Local action key to hitting carbon targets

Cities, states and businesses are crucial to ensuring countries meet their Paris Climate Agreement targets, but their actions alone are not enough to hold global temperature increases below the 2c threshold.

The report, authored by experts at Data-Driven Yale, NewClimate Institute, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, is the most comprehensive assessment to date of city, region, and company commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

“The potential of these commitments to help the world avoid dangerous climate change is clear – the key is now to ensure that these commitments are really implemented,” said Angel Hsu, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Yale-NUS College and Director of Data-Driven Yale.

“What our report shows is many actors are signing up to take actions, but their ambition and ability to move us faster and closer to reach the Paris climate goals in time is limited. What’s needed now is the financing, policies, and support to urgently realize these efforts.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • By 2030, global greenhouse gas emissions could be 1.5 to 2.2 GtCO2e/year lower if individual commitments from nearly 6,000 cities, states and regions, and over 2,000 companies are fully implemented, compared to what would be achieved through national policies that are currently underway. This potential reduction amounts to roughly double Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

  • In the United States, where President Trump has announced his intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the full implementation of the reported and quantified individual city, region, and company commitments could provide at least half (between 670 and 810MtCO2e/year in 2030) of the emissions reductions needed to meet America’s Paris pledge.

  • In the European Union, city, region and company commitments could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 230 to 445 MtCO2e/year, roughly equivalent to Italy’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. In China, these actions could reduce emissions by up to 155 MtCO2e, roughly equivalent to what the country’s industrial processes generated in 2014.

The full report can be found here

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