NewsMarch 27, 2015

Two Maps Show Countries' Plans For CO2 Pledges

Brian Kahn

By Brian Kahn

Follow @blkahn

International climate negotiations include every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And as the world gears up for Paris, climate watchers will be looking to see how (or if) each country plans to rise to the challenge of reducing the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The next major climate talks are still nine months down the road, but commitments are starting to trickle in from around the globe. New maps from World Resources Institute let you track in almost real time the greenhouse gas cuts proposed for Paris as well as from previous climate meetings.

Click the “View Pre-2020 Map” button above to see previous pledges.

They paint a picture of a world that's not on track to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions enough to meet the goal of limiting global warming to within 2°C (3.6°F) of pre-industrial levels.

Climate talks in 2009 and 2010 elicited climate pledges from 73 countries. Developed countries agreed to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions with some developing countries joining them or at least committing to cut their emissions intensity by 2020. In some cases, such as the Maldives, the pledge was mostly symbolic as their emissions are a fraction of a percent of the global total. Other countries haven't pledged to reduce emissions, but have agreed to take other actions to deal with climate change such as reforestation.

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There's one catch (well aside from not meeting the whole 2°C goal). The cuts and actions are non-binding and there are a signs a number of countries will fail to meet their goals. Even if each country were on track to hit their targets, the world would still be on pace to overdraft its carbon budget and blow by the 2°C limit.

All of that takes us to climate talks later this year in Paris and the hopes of a new climate treaty that will get the world on track after 2020. WRI's maps show a notable dearth of commitments so far with a March 31 soft deadline looming for intended nationally determined contributions, United Nations lingo for what each country plans to bring to the table in Paris.

As of now, the European Union and Switzerland form a lonely island of blue in an otherwise blank map. Norway just submitted its pledge on Friday and should light up soon.

Some countries will no doubt be working up to the midnight deadline on March 31 to submit their contributions. Notably, the U.S. has promised to get its homework in on time.

But other major emitters, including China, India, Australia and Japan, are likely to miss the deadline according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Whether that impacts the Paris talks remains to be seen. In the meantime, you can track the pledges as they get filed and see what each country has in mind.

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