Fresh from the Brookings Institution: COP21 Commentary

We break it down. You get the facts.

In Paris, representatives from 196 governments are engaging in critical talks on climate change, an exercise in international cooperation that could shift the world’s approach to combating climate change. This post from the Brookings Institution provides an analysis of key facts around the COP21 commentary.

The WAC Take:

When the talks reach their conclusion on December 11, COP21 is expected to deliver a new international agreement on climate change. The developing agreement would apply to all countries, with the main goal to keep global warming below 2° Celsius.

This analysis from Brookings provides a critical approach to the climate change conference in Paris today, comparing it to the talks that occurred in Copenhagen in 2009. The COP15 talks resulted in a model that allowed nations to decide how they would approach their contribution to fighting climate change and report it to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

This development led to substantial improvements in the international approach to global warming. With these pledges, scientists estimated that the world will warm by 5° Fahrenheit as opposed to the initial estimate of 6.5°F.

Even with this progress, scientists say that a 3.6°F rise in temperatures should be the maximum “average global level of warming,” and a 2.7°F increase would still greatly impact places like Africa and the Arctic. With this in mind, one major development in the Paris talks resulted in an unexpectedly widespread acceptance of 2.7°F as the target maximum.

The Brookings analysis concludes that nations still have a long way to go in resolving key issues from Copenhagen, but as stated by lead French negotiator Laurent Fabius, the COP21 talks “[are] not something we can postpone….we must succeed.”

— Rebecca Retana, WAC Intern
Image courtesy of Bauer