What are the targets for climate change and global warming management?
How are the world’s climate change experts and leaders setting targets to control and manage climate change?
Currently, the targets are being mainly set to control global warming, as that is the component of climate change that is of immediate urgency. And choosing global warming as the component to focus on makes sense too, as many other aspects of climate change are in fact resulting from the increasing temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, controlling global warming is the key to managing climate change.
So, what indeed are the targets being set for global warming reduction?
The common thread in most of the targets being discussed is the attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by pegging it to a particular year’s emissions. For instance, by 2020, the EU has a whole targets to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions to a level that is 20% below 1990 levels.
Individual countries have similarly set targets for themselves under the UNFCC (United Nations Framework for Climate Change). This was done at the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, where 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Specifically, the signatories have agreed to:
- Work on global emissions to peak as soon as possible, recognising that this will take longer for developing countries;
- Undertake rapid reductions thereafter in accordance with the best available science.
With these targets, the countries together are hoping to contain the long-term increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
A very ambitious goal indeed, but a goal that is probably critical for the long term survival of our planet, at least as we know it!
For those interested, here are the specific targets set by various countries: https://www.c2es.org/international/history-international-negotiations/2020-targets