Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) – Heading to 2030

greenhouse-gasMore and more countries are signing their commitments on climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. The goal is to accomplish these commitments by 2030. A new global agreement aims to put the world on track to keep global warming below 2°C. Countries have to define their contributions according to their national priorities, circumstances, and capabilities, based on a global framework that will result in a low-carbon, climate-resilient future.

After the negotiations at a conference in Lima in 2014, more than 90 developed and developing countries have made voluntary emission pledges for 2020 in order to achieve the agreed below 2°C objective leading to a new global climate change agreement that would cover all UNFCCC countries. Full negotiating text must be ready before May 2015, so all the countries involved are currently preparing their contributions. This agreement is expected to be finalized at the Paris climate conference in the end of 2015, but it will be enforced starting in 2020.

The European Union, the United States, Russia, Mexico, and Gabon have already submitted their INDC’s. According to Giovanni La Via, a member of the European’s People Party, it is the first time they see such an expression of interest from major industrialized nations such as the U.S., China, and India. For this reason, they believe that the proper conditions for obtaining a global agreement have been created. However, the European Union was the first one committed in writing by doubling its goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20 to 40 percentage, while the formal commitment mentions an 80 to 90 percentage reduction in greenhouse gases by mid-century. In Europe, greenhouse gas emissions per capita have already fallen from 12 tons to 9, which means that energy saving and policies aimed to reduce fossil fuel usagne have started to pay off.

Nevertheless, the greatest change of attitude came from the U.S. The second largest polluter in the world is now committed to reduce its emissions by 26- 28 percentage by 2025 when compared to 2005’s emission levels and to turn into a less aggravating energy and economic model with fewer fossil fuels. Obama is trying to link climate change to health in order to find support for taking measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. He is also planning to include strict limits on vehicles and power plants.

Russia submitted its own commitments, but it highlighted that it would fulfill them only if other countries commit as well. Thus it pledged to cut its emissions by 25-30 percent by 2030 compared with 1990’s levels.

In their INDC, countries have to express how they will combine their actions to fight climate change with sustainable development and poverty reduction and inform the private sector to help contribute to these efforts.

A good INDC should be:

  • Ambitious: include the actual measures countries are taking to meet the 2°C goal.
  • Transparent: easy to track progress and ensure that countries achieve their goals.
  • Equitableeach country does its fair share to combat global warming.

The global community is waiting for India and China –first and third world polluters – to submit their commitments.

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About the author

Irini Chassioti is a teacher and chemist with a master’s degree in Environmental Chemistry and Technology. She was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Athens and is an active member of the local city improvement association. Her activities include the protection of the local ecosystem, writing scientific articles related to environment, ecology and sustainable development and the education of pupils on environmental issues.