Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MIT Study: Climate Talks on Path to Fall Far Short of Goals

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, holds a press conference during last year's climate change negotiations in Poland. In September, world leaders will gather in New York at a meeting called by Ban Ki-moon to give an urgently needed boost to the climate talks. (Credit: UNclimatechange, flickr) Click to enlarge.
Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, using a sophisticated computer model, examined what they think is the most likely outcome of UN climate treaty negotiations and found that the talks are likely to come up short.

Facing a deadline to reach a new treaty by the end of next year in Paris, the world's nations seem unwilling to make the kind of pledges that would rein in global warming to safe levels by century's end, the researchers concluded.

"Our analysis concludes that these international efforts will indeed bend at the curve of global emissions" of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming greenhouse gases, they said.  "However, our results also show that these efforts will not put the globe on a path consistent with commonly stated long-term climate goals."

The pessimistic forecast may put new pressure on world leaders to increase their ambition as they gather in September in New York at a meeting called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon—the goal of which is to give an urgently needed boost to the climate talks.

The UN meeting coincides with the annual Climate Week activities in New York, and with a large protest march being organized by advocates to demand stricter measures to tackle man-made climate change.

The MIT report, "Expectations for a New Climate Agreement," was written by Henry Jacoby and Henry Chen of MIT's program on the science and policy of global change.

Their analysis is based on the assumption that the agreement reached in Paris next year will likely involve voluntary pledges, not a legally binding formula.

They said they hope their conclusions, however approximate or pessimistic, "will contribute to a more effective global outcome by stimulating timely and open discussion of potential national actions and their consequences."

One reason for their pessimism, they wrote, is that it appears unlikely that the world's richer countries will live up to their commitments to give $100 billion in aid to poorer nations to help them achieve more ambitious carbon targets.

MIT Study: Climate Talks on Path to Fall Far Short of Goals0

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