UNFCCC Undermined: Big Countries Fail to Tighten Climate Pledges by July 2021, Threatening Glasgow Talks (1)

–Developing countries show respect to UNFCCC process. Countries most to blame for the climate crisis? Not so much

By Mathew Carr

Aug. 1-2, 2021 — LONDON: Big countries have largely failed to boost the ambition of their climate pledges by July, as requested by the UNFCCC, threatening climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat called for the updated pledges, known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs, by last month so that it can update a synthesis report on the world’s progress toward effective climate action.

Six years after the Paris climate deal was struck, only 11 of almost 200 countries in the Paris deal have submitted a second NDC.

China, which says it supports the UN climate process, hasn’t updated its NDC since 2016. Nor has India. The U.S. NDC’s 2030 single-year target remains very weak, given the country is most responsible for the climate crisis (see note 1) and has a small population versus China and India.

Without the updated NDCs, there’s now a bigger risk the Glasgow climate talks will fail to agree a strong Paris rulebook in November. That’s needed because the Paris climate deal itself is so weak right now — it has no teeth so it’s not much more than a wishy washy pipedream. Still, it has caused governments and businesses to at least start more-effective action.

An analysis of updated Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris climate deal published February by the UN Climate secretariat showed the “increased ambition” being offered by countries was tiny, cutting emissions by less than an extra 1% in 2030 vs 2010. This chart shows why keeping temperature gains to 1.5C seems increasingly out of reach, as demand for oil, natural gas and coal surge while countries grapple with reopening their economies during the pandemic.

UN gap report 2020

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has indicated that emission reduction ranges to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal should be around -45% in 2030 compared to 2010.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UNFCCC, in May called for nations to update their NDCs by last month for a new synthesis report covering how ambitious the NDCs are — that needs to be published two months before climate talks in November in Glasgow, she said. That report, or at least its timing, is now in doubt, potentially damaging the quality of information available to negotiators.

Twenty two countries served up updated NDCs last month (see snip below). They are mostly countries least to blame for the climate crisis.

The sad truth is countries are not really incentivized to agree Paris rules and massively tighten their NDCs, because that is creating a bunch of politically difficult work for themselves …and if they don’t do it well … they might get voted out of office, if they are a democracy.

In such a tough negotiation, which the climate talks are, countries are still holding back information more than 30 years after promising to save the climate. The result will be increased levels of climate change, death and destruction.

Latest NDCs to UNFCCC


(Updates to add the Paris deal has had SOME impact.)


  1. http://carrzee.org/2021/06/01/u-s-s-weak-new-2030-emissions-target-shows-americans-have-nothing-to-fear-from-the-paris-climate-deal/

U.S.’s Weak New 2030 Emissions Target Shows Americans Have Nothing to Fear from the Paris Climate Deal (1)

–Five ways the U.S. climate pledge is weak, weak, weak
–As the UN calls for ambitious climate pledges at intersessional talks beginning this week, the U.S. contribution is full of holes

June 1-2, 2021 — LONDON: History will show it was one of President Donald Trump’s biggest lies. The Paris climate deal was a bad agreement for the United States.

No it wasn’t. There was no reason for the U.S. to pull out, except to make a grand gesture. And no it isn’t, now that America is back in.

The reason why is because the Paris climate deal’s main elements are voluntary. Ambition is voluntary on a country-by-country basis, even if the overarching target of keep global warming to below 1.5C actually is ambitious, if not impossible.

The nature of the U.S.’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) to Paris shows why it’s no United Nations deal that should instill fear in Aunt Agatha in Chicago….continues (see link above for story published in June)

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