Global Climate Agreements: Successes and Failures

cfr.org

International efforts, such as the Paris Agreement, aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But experts say countries aren’t doing enough to limit dangerous global warming.

Summary

  • Countries have debated how to combat climate change since the early 1990s. These negotiations have produced several important accords, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
  • Governments generally agree on the science behind climate change but have diverged on who is most responsible and how to set emissions-reduction goals.
  • Experts say the Paris Agreement is not enough to prevent the global average temperature from rising 1.5°C. When that happens, the world will suffer devastating consequences, such as heat waves and floods.

Introduction

What are the most important climate agreements?

Is there a consensus on the science?

Why is the 1.5°C goal so critical?Which countries are responsible?

Are the commitments made under the Paris Agreement enough?

What are the alternatives to the Paris Agreement?

Recommended Resources

Introduction

Over the last several decades, governments have collectively pledged to slow global warming. But despite intensified diplomacy, the world could soon face devastating consequences of climate change.

Through the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere keeps rising, heating the Earth at an alarming rate. Scientists warn that if this warming continues unabated, it could bring environmental catastrophe to much of the world, including staggering sea-level rise, record-breaking droughts and floods, and widespread species loss. 

Dozens of countries made new commitments during a UN climate conference known as COP26 in November 2021. Still, experts, activists, and citizens remain concerned that these pledges are not ambitious enough.

What are the most important international agreements on climate change?

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Vietnam to increase coal imports in 2025-2035 period: Ministry

Vietnam’s coal imports are forecast to rise to meet domestic production demand, according to a draft strategy for developing the coal industry in Vietnam recently introduced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

vietnamplus.vn

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam’s coal imports are forecast to rise to meet domestic production demand, according to a draft strategy for developing the coal industry in Vietnam recently introduced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Accordingly, Vietnam will import about 50-83 million tonnes of coal per year during the period from 2025 to 2035, with the volume gradually falling to about 32-35 million tonnes by 2045.

The data from the MoIT shows domestic coal consumption increased rapidly from 27.8 million tonnes in 2011 to 38.77 million tonnes in 2015, and about 53.52 million tonnes in 2021.

The volume of coal consumed at present has more than doubled compared to 2011, mainly for electricity production.

The demand for primary energy, including coal, will continue to increase, possibly peaking in the 2030-2035 period, the ministry said.

Vietnam’s coal demand will be around 94-97 million tonnes in 2025, and peak at 125-127 million tonnes in 2030, mainly due to the increase in demand for power generation, and the cement, metallurgy and chemical industries.

The ministry also predicted that the demand for energy after 2040 will decline due to the energy transition process to meet emission reduction targets.

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58% of human infectious diseases can be worsened by climate change – we scoured 77,000 studies to map the pathways

theconversation.com

Published: August 8, 2022 4.00pm BST

Climate change can exacerbate a full 58% of the infectious diseases that humans come in contact with worldwide, from common waterborne viruses to deadly diseases like plague, our new research shows

Our team of environment and health scientists reviewed decades of scientific papers on all known pathogenic disease pathogens to create a map of the human risks aggravated by climate-related hazards.

The numbers were jarring. Of 375 human diseases, we found that 218 of them, well over half, can be affected by climate change.

Flooding, for example, can spread hepatitis. Rising temperatures can expand the life of mosquitoes carrying malaria. Droughts can bring rodents infected with hantavirus into communities as they search for food.

With climate change influencing more than 1,000 transmission pathways like those and climate hazards increasingly globally, we concluded that expecting societies to successfully adapt to all of them isn’t a realistic option. The world will need to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change to reduce these risks.

Country Climate and Development Report for Vietnam

worldbank.org

Vietnam CCDR Report

Vietnam is increasingly seeing its development affected by climate change and now faces critical questions about how to respond. The Vietnam Country Climate and Development Report proposes that Vietnam shift its development paradigm by incorporating two critical pathways – resilient pathway and decarbonizing pathway – that will help the country balance its development goals with increasing climate risks.

After more than two decades of steady growth, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal of reaching high-income status by 2045. It has been recognized in the 2021-2030 Socioeconomic Development Strategy that the country’s economic transformation will greatly depend on better management of natural capital – the extensive stocks of agricultural, forest, and mineral resources that have helped drive development.

Yet Vietnam, with over 3,200 km of coastline and many low-lying cities and river delta regions, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Climate change impacts  – mainly higher and more variable temperatures and sea level rise  – are already disrupting economic activity and undermining growth. Initial calculations suggest that Vietnam lost $10 billion in 2020, or 3.2 percent of GDP, to climate change impacts.

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How treaties protecting fossil fuel investors could jeopardize global efforts to save the climate – and cost countries billions

theconversation.com

Fossil fuel companies have access to an obscure legal tool that could jeopardize worldwide efforts to protect the climate, and they’re starting to use it. The result could cost countries that press ahead with those efforts billions of dollars.

Over the past 50 years, countries have signed thousands of treaties that protect foreign investors from government actions. These treaties are like contracts between national governments, meant to entice investors to bring in projects with the promise of local jobs and access to new technologies.

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Does the world need hydrogen to solve climate change?

carbonbrief.org

Hydrogen gas has long been recognised as an alternative to fossil fuels and a potentially valuable tool for tackling climate change.

Now, as nations come forward with net-zero strategies to align with their international climate targets, hydrogen has once again risen up the agenda from Australia and the UK through to Germany and Japan.

In the most optimistic outlooks, hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes and ships. It could heat homes, balance electricity grids and help heavy industry to make everything from steel to cement.

But doing all these things with hydrogen would require staggering quantities of the fuel, which is only as clean as the methods used to produce it. Moreover, for every potentially transformative application of hydrogen, there are unique challenges that must be overcome.

In this in-depth Q&A – which includes a range of infographics, maps and interactive charts, as well as the views of dozens of experts – Carbon Brief examines the big questions around the “hydrogen economy” and looks at the extent to which it could help the world avoid dangerous climate change.

What is hydrogen and how could it help tackle climate change?

Hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant element in the universe. It is also an explosive and clean-burning gas that contains more energy per unit of weight than fossil fuels.

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Russia’s War Is Turbocharging the World’s Addiction to Coal

bloomberg.com

The first phase of the global energy crunch was driven by the natural gas shortage, now comes the coal crisis.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. 
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine set off a chain reaction in the global energy markets that further thrusts coal into the spotlight. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

By Will Wade and Stephen Stapczynski

25 April 2022, 11:01 GMT+7

In Germany and Italy, coal-fired power plants that were once decommissioned are now being considered for a second life. In South Africa, more coal-laden ships are embarking on what’s typically a quiet route around the Cape of Good Hope toward Europe. Coal burning in the U.S. is in the midst of its biggest revival in a decade, while China is reopening shuttered mines and planning new ones

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Russia’s war has chilling effect on climate science as Arctic temperatures soar

And yet, just when the climate scientists and governments across the eight Arctic states should be working together to understand and address the climate crisis, Russia’s war on Ukraine has forced the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental group of Arctic states and Arctic Indigenous Peoples, to suspend their joint activities in protest of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.

thebulletin.org

By Jessica McKenzie | March 29, 2022

ice melting on a siberian lake Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia (Photo by Daniel Born on Unsplash)

Earlier in March, temperatures around the North Pole approached the melting point, right around the time of year that Arctic sea ice is usually most extensive. In some places, the Arctic was more than 50 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average. It’s part of an alarming trend; over the past 30 years the region has warmed four times faster than the rest of the globe. The shift is transforming the Arctic land- and seascape, causing sea ice to melt, glaciers and ice sheets to retreat, and permafrost to thaw. And while the Arctic is particularly vulnerable to climate change, it also has an outsized potential to contribute to global warming, as melting permafrost releases carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

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6 Big Findings from the IPCC 2022 Report on Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

February 27, 2022 By Kelly LevinSophie Boehm and Rebecca Carter Cover Image by: Roop_Dey/iStock

WRI.org

The newest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a troubling picture: Climate change is already impacting every corner of the world, and much more severe impacts are in store if we fail to halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade and immediately scale up adaptation.     

Following on the first installment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II’s contribution, released on February 28, 2022, draws from 34,000 studies and involved 270 authors from 67 countries. It provides one of the most comprehensive examinations of the intensifying impacts of climate change and future risks, particularly for resource-poor countries and marginalized communities. The 2022 IPCC report also details which climate adaptation approaches are most effective and feasible, as well as which groups of people and ecosystems are most vulnerable.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership. 

Here are six takeaways from the report:

1. Climate impacts are already more widespread and severe than expected.

Climate change is already causing widespread disruption in every region in the world with just 1.1 degrees C (2 degrees F) of warming.

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Climate Finance in Southeast Asia: Trends and Opportunities

fulcrum.sg

PUBLISHED 11 FEB 2022

Qiu Jiahui

MELINDA MARTINUS|QIU JIAHUI

The Covid-19 crisis has stalled the delivery of much-needed climate finance to developing countries. For Southeast Asia, a region frequently cited as being one of the most vulnerable regions threatened by climate change, the broken promise of climate finance is highly disappointing.

INTRODUCTION

Climate finance has been one of the most contentious issues in global climate politics. At the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15), developed countries committed to mobilising by 2020 US$100 billion climate finance annually to assist vulnerable countries. The pledge has been key to building trust between states to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as specified in the Paris Agreement.

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How Peatlands Can Advance Climate Action in Southeast Asia

WRI.org

Topic Forest and Landscape Restoration Region Asia

Southeast Asia is home to over 54% of the world’s peatlands — tropical wetlands which have a major role to play in climate action. But they are being deforested rapidly: Around 25 million hectares of tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia have been deforested and drained over the last three decades alone, and only 6% of peatlands remain untouched.

This is a major blow to the region. These terrestrial wetland ecosystems help regulate water flow by capturing rainwater during the wet season and slowly releasing it during the dry season. They are also key habitats for endangered and rare species of both plants and animals, and are essential for the livelihoods of local communities.

Additionally, they are an important carbon store in the global carbon cycle; more than three-fourths of global peat carbon stocks (52 Gigatons) are stored in Southeast Asian peatlands. Their destruction warrants global attention.

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‘Acidifying, warming seas affecting seafood supplies’

scidev.net

Japanese amberjack

A school of Japanese amberjack at the north-east coast of Taiwan. A new report warns that ocean warming and acidification are affecting the behaviour of fish. Copyright: Vincent C. Chen(CC BY SA 4.0)

Speed read

  • Warming, acidification of the oceans changing shoal behaviour in fish
  • Shoal behaviour key to fish survival and seafood supplies
  • Fish species moving towards the poles, changing temperate ecosystems

By: Claudia Caruana

[NEW YORK] Ocean acidification and global warming are interfering with the way fish interact in groups, posing a threat to their survival which could affect seafood supplies, researchers say.

Marine ecosystems worldwide have shown an increased dominance of warm water species following seawater temperature rise, with parallel changes in the species composition of fish catches since the 1970s, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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Giải pháp giúp nông dân ĐBSCL thoát khỏi ‘vòng kim cô’ cây lúa

Vân Phong – 16/12/2021 19:32

(KTSG Online) – GS Võ Tòng Xuân – Hiệu trưởng Trường Đại học Nam Cần Thơ – cho rằng việc giao chỉ tiêu GDP từ chính quyền cấp trên xuống cấp dưới với đơn vị là tấn lúa khiến nhiều nông dân ở khu vực đồng bằng sông Cửu Long (ĐBSCL) phải trồng lúa mà không được làm những việc khác, từ đó dần mắc trong “vòng kim cô” mang tên cây lúa.

Quan điểm này được GS Võ Tòng Xuân nêu tại tọa đàm “Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long: Thuận thiên bền vững, vượt đại dịch” sáng 16-12.

Nông dân ĐBSCL đang thu hoạch lúa. Ảnh: Trung Chánh

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Responding to Coronavirus: Low-carbon Investments Can Help Economies Recover

WRI.org

By Helen Mountford 

Windmills running in the background of a dense forest.
Cover Image by: Camila Fernández León

The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy, infecting more than 120,000 and killing more than 4,200 people as of March 12, 2020. The loss of human life is heart-breaking and set to continue ticking upwards.

The virus has also hit society like a global tsunami, disrupting travel, cutting off communities, shuttering factories and shaking up economic markets. The global manufacturing sector has suffered its worst contraction since the 2009 recession. Goldman Sachs forecasts zero earnings growth for U.S. companies, while airlines and cruise lines are reeling as people opt to stay home.

Unsurprisingly this major global disruption is leading to lower energy demand, which in turn reduces global greenhouse gas emissions. China’s industrial output has dropped 15% to 40% since the crisis began, leading to a roughly 25% drop in emissions over that same period.

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Tài chính khí hậu: Tiền đi đâu, về đâu?

LÊ MY 18/11/2021 15:10 GMT+7

TTCT Cách đây 12 năm, các nước giàu có cùng đưa ra một cam kết tốt đẹp để giúp các nước nghèo thích ứng với biến đổi khí hậu, cùng con số long lanh 100 tỉ USD viện trợ mỗi năm. Lời hứa hoa mỹ hóa ra lại thành quả táo bất hòa, mà hệ quả của nó tới nay vẫn còn.

 Một ngôi nhà tạm bị hư hại ở Bangladesh, trong khu vực ven biển đang bị đe dọa bởi xói mòn và xâm nhập mặn. Ảnh: Getty

“Chúng tôi không xin tiền bố thí, chúng tôi yêu cầu tiền bồi thường cho những thiệt hại gây ra bởi thói hoang phí của các quốc gia phát triển. Những kẻ đã thải ra lượng khí thải carbon này, gây ra các hiện tượng khí hậu, phải trả tiền” – Molwyn Joseph, bộ trưởng môi trường của quốc đảo Antigua và Barbuda, nói với báo Financial Times ngày 3-11.

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