Yesterday, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called on climate scientists from around the world to contribute to their assessment of countries’ intended mitigation goals in the lead up to Paris. The UNEP’s assessment will focus on the mitigation element of the intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs) released by states prior to COP 21. It will analyse the individual and cumulative impact that these contributions are likely to have on GHG emissions over the next two decades. Although their Emissions Gap Report is published annually, the UNEP’s 2015 issue is unique in drawing on countries’ official statements of intended climate contribution post-2020.

The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2014 was published last November and the 2015 report could be expected at a similar time this year. If so, it will offer a crucial last minute assessment of the bargaining chips that states are taking to the COP 21 negotiating table. Yet in order for it to be effective, the UNEP must have access to accurate and quality data on countries’ contributions. This is not available at present. The majority of states are yet to submit their INDCs to the UNFCCC website. Although it is encouraging that both the EU and the USA have submitted their intended contributions, only a quarter of the world’s states have done likewise. The absence of China is particularly pertinent. If countries are serious about negotiating an effective agreement in Paris, it is important that those yet to submit their INDCs show their support for the process by doing so before the preliminary Bonn Climate Conference on the 1st of June this year.[1]

[1] The June conference will be the Ninth part of the 2nd session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

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