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Information for G03019

Adequacy of Copenhagen mitigation pledges: the case for low carbon development strategies

This briefing is work in progress and is prepared in advance of the European Capacity Building Initiative (ECBI) workshop for Francophone Africa which will be held in Dakar, Senegal (5 to 7 July 2010).
Over 100 least developed countries, small island states, and others have called for global warming to be limited to 1.5°C increase above pre-industrial levels. Whilst the European Union‟s 2°C target has also been widely endorsed and is acknowledged in the Copenhagen Accord, it does not guarantee „safety‟ from devastating impacts of climate change in Africa and jeopardizes the very survival of many small island developing states. The Copenhagen Accord mitigation pledges fall short of realising either the 2°C or 1.5°C global warming goals. A closer look at current pledges under the Copenhagen Accord reveal a number of fundamental flaws. Firstly, the 2020 pledges are inadequate when measured against the levels to which emissions need to be reduced in order to establish the world on an emissions path that can limit warming to either of the levels mentioned above - and are full of loopholes. Secondly, there is no global emission goal for the year 2050, which is important for the development of longer term, low carbon development plans and for showing that global warming limits are taken seriously. Thirdly, the Copenhagen Accord is silent on emissions from international aviation and shipping, yet these are likely to contribute around 3-4% of global emissions by 2020, and contribute much more in the longer term. Fourthly, the Copenhagen Accord lacks a science-based aggregate target and finally, its pledges are not legally binding. These deficiencies put the world on a course for a global warming of over 3°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

Publication information

  • IIED code: G03019
  • Published: Jun 2010 - IIED
  • Theme: Climate change
  • Language: English

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