Climate Change

Countries must up climate ambitions to achieve Paris commitments: Experts

The world is paced for a 3°C rise, according to the current nationally determined contributions 

 
By Akshit Sangomla
Last Updated: Friday 06 September 2019
Ibu Armida Alisjahbana
Ibu Armida Alisjahbana, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), speaking at the Asia-Pacific Climate Week in Bangkok. Photo: Twitter: @UNESCAP Ibu Armida Alisjahbana, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), speaking at the Asia-Pacific Climate Week in Bangkok. Photo: Twitter: @UNESCAP

The argument about economic benefits coming from the shift towards sustainable economies can be an incentive for nations to increase their climate ambitions under the Paris Agreement for climate change, according to experts at the Asia-Pacific Climate Week (APCW).

The APCW 2019, which commenced on September 4, 2019, will be on till September 6 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Just one per cent improvement in resource efficiency of material resources and energy combined could deliver the Asia-Pacific region up to $275 billion in savings,” said Ibu Armida Alisjahbana, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

“Achieving ecosystem conservation-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could result in a gain of $3.3 trillion worth of ecosystem services per year for the region by 2050,” she added.

Another source of economic benefits can come from health benefits which would accrue from the decrease in the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and reduced air pollution.

“The health co-benefits of carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation could be large, conservatively estimated at over $100/tonne CO2 abated in high income countries and $50/tonne CO2 abated in middle-income countries,” according to a research paper published by the London School of Economics and Political Science in November 2017.

This highlights the difference in the economic ability of less developed countries to take on climate adaptation measures should be accounted for.

The health benefits from reduced exposure to ozone and particulte matter 2.5 could be 5 per cent of global GDP by 2030, showed the paper. Many countries can have substantial increases in crop yields, it added.

It also suggests that these calculations as social cost benefit analyses should be incorporated into policy making and decision processes of governments.

The 2015 Paris climate agreement aims to restrict emissions “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

However, the current climate ambitions of countries around the world are not enough to achieve the target under the Paris Agreement, the experts  pointed out.

“It is clear we must urgently boost climate action. Current nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted by nations under the Paris Agreement puts us on pace for a 3°C rise, and possibly more,” said Ovais Sarmad, deputy executive secretary of UN Climate Change.

This is also the reason why UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called on nations, private companies and other international organisations to come up with revised targets under their NDCs at the upcoming UN Climate Summit in New York on September 23.

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