It's getting down to the wire and it appears that many countries participating in the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen have honed in on specific carbon commitments that will be brought to the table come December. Now a host of new online tools are helping negotiators (and journalists) to keep track of all these pledges and see how they add up.
I mentioned last week a really great tool called C-ROADS which stacks up all the pledges together and maps them against IPCC recommended carbon reductions.
Climate Action Tracker created by the Ecofys, the leading consultancy on sustainable energy and climate policy, is similar but actually grades each country by mapping its pledges against the relative weighting of its historic carbon emissions. There are 5 score levels -- "Business as Usual" (i.e. an 'F'), Inadequate, Medium target, Sufficient and "Role Model." Here's the U.S Chart:
It shows that the U.S. will have several more years performing "business as usual" with a steep decline in emissions that promises to leave the flunkie zone sometime around 2017, hitting the "adequate" zone sometime around 2025.
Currently there are only two countries in the Role Model level -- Costa Rica and Maldives. Japan, Norway and now Brazil (with its November proposal) are all in the Adequate zone.
How is it all adding up?
Well it's a bit hard to say because SO many of the pledges are "conditional" which means that a country, like Iceland, will not execute on its promise unless he U.S. and China also hit a certain performance benchmark. Without the conditional pledges, the total reduction is amounting to little more than 8% below 1990 levels by 2020.
A "successful Copenhagen," one in which the U.S. performs well and the main Annex I countries agree to execute on their conditional pledges gets us to 12%. In other words... no where near the targets that need to be reached if we are to see a stabilization of global temperature rise at 2 degrees C.
Though the methodology used to account for all these climate numbers is quite different from MIT's C-ROADS, the result is very similar. The IPPC recommends a minimum of 25% reduction by 2020. 33% would more than likely stabilize the atmosphere at 450 PPM. But Copenhagen is looking like MAYBE 11%.
So really whatever deal is made at Copenhagen. It needs to be tripled.