‘Countries’ carbon pledges not enough to keep temperature rise under 2°C’

Intentions announced by countries so far could lead to a 3-4°C rise in temperatures, worsening the effects of climate change, says economist Nicholas Stern

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015 | 09:13:43 AM


The emission cuts announced by countries so far will not be able to contain global warming under 2°C, said Nicholas Stern, economist at the London School of Economics.

Stern and other researchers have analysed commitments announced by the European Union, the US, China and other countries in the run up to the new climate deal to be signed in Paris later this year. The Guardian quotes a paper released by the analysts which says: “It seems likely that there will still be a significant gap between aggregate national intentions and a pathway that is consistent with avoiding” dangerous climate change.

Stern told Australia’s Fairfax Media that "it would be like a path upwards of three degrees on the basis of current intentions". If warming is not restricted to under 2°C, a three-degree rise would trigger “a very radical transformation" while four degrees would be "potentially devastating", with societies disrupted by extreme weather events and sea-level rises, he said.

Stern is the author of a 2006 report commissioned by Gordon Brown, then UK chancellor of the exchequer, on the economic costs of climate change.

The US and China are among the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters. The emissions deal between the two countries, announced in November 2014, was widely criticised with Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) saying it is neither historic nor ambitious. CSE Director General Sunita Narain had said, “It is a self-serving deal in which both countries have agreed to converge their per capita emissions at 12 tonne in 2030. This is a high level of emission and not in line with meeting the 2°C temperature target mandated by the IPCC.”

The Emissions gap report 2014

Single-year mitigation targets: uncharted territory for emissions trading and unit transfers

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Related Story:

United States climate targets are completely inadequate, says CSE

Are humans increasingly responsible for extreme weather events?

Vatican and UN join hands on climate change

There is no space for coal, warns UN climate chief

Cost of climate change grossly underestimated: Nicholas Stern

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.