Analysis of the Copenhagen Accord pledges and its global climatic impacts-a snapshot of dissonant ambitions

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  • Author: Rogelj, Joeri

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Chen, Claudine

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Nabel, Julia

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Macey, Kirsten

    Climate Analytics GmbH, Germany

  • Author: Hare, William

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Schaeffer, Michiel

    Climate Analytics GmbH, Germany

  • Author: Markmann, Kathleen

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

  • Author: Höhne, Niklas

    Ecofys Germany GmbH, Germany

  • Author: Andersen, Katrine Krogh

    Danish Meteorological Institute

  • Author: Meinshausen, Malte

    Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

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This analysis of the Copenhagen Accord evaluates emission reduction pledges by individual countries against the Accord's climate-related objectives. Probabilistic estimates of the climatic consequences for a set of resulting multi-gas scenarios over the 21st century are calculated with a reduced complexity climate model, yielding global temperature increase and atmospheric CO2 and CO2-equivalent concentrations. Provisions for banked surplus emission allowances and credits from land use, land-use change and forestry are assessed and are shown to have the potential to lead to significant deterioration of the ambition levels implied by the pledges in 2020. This analysis demonstrates that the Copenhagen Accord and the pledges made under it represent a set of dissonant ambitions. The ambition level of the current pledges for 2020 and the lack of commonly agreed goals for 2050 place in peril the Accord's own ambition: to limit global warming to below 2 °C, and even more so for 1.5 °C, which is referenced in the Accord in association with potentially strengthening the long-term temperature goal in 2015. Due to the limited level of ambition by 2020, the ability to limit emissions afterwards to pathways consistent with either the 2 or 1.5 °C goal is likely to become less feasible.
Original languageEnglish
Article number034013
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume5
Issue number3
Number of pages10
ISSN1748-9326
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Climate change, Greenhouse gas emissions, Global warming, Climate negotiations, Copenhagen Accord

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