INDCs: US pledges 26-28% emission cuts

Pollution in the US
Pollution in the US

By Theophilus Ikpome

World’s biggest historical polluter, the United States of America,  on Tuesday submitted its climate action plan — called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) — to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), committing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below its 2005 levels by the year 2025.

With this submission, US joined Switzerland, European Union (EU), Norway and Mexico — the countries that have, so far, committed their post-2020 climate action plan.

These INDCs will form the basis of the climate talks in Paris in December when the countries are expected to come out with a global climate deal.

These submissions have now turned the focus on China and India. Though China had indicated its broader plan in November last year when it talked about peaking its greenhouse gas emissions and peak its emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early, and to increase its share of non-fossil energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.

Rich European nation Switzerland was the first country that submitted its INDC to the UNFCCC. It was followed by EU, Norway and Mexico (the first developing country to do so).

“With these actions, as well as strong INDCs submitted by Norway and Switzerland, countries representing over 50% of global CO2 emissions have either announced or formally reported their targets. Today’s action by the United States further demonstrates real momentum on the road to reaching a successful climate agreement this December in Paris and shows President Obama is committed to leading on the international stage”, said the US official statement.
It said the US target will roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States from 1.2% per year on average during the 2005-2020 period to 2.3-2.8% per year on average between 2020 and 2025.
“This ambitious target is grounded in intensive analysis of cost-effective carbon pollution reductions achievable under existing law and will keep the United States on the pathway to achieve deep economy-wide reductions of 80% or more by 2050”, said the statement.

The Paris agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC is encouraging countries to come forward with their INDCs as soon as they are able, underlining their commitment and support towards this successful outcome in Paris. Governments agreed to submit their INDCs in advance of Paris.

Developed countries are expected to do so as soon as possible and more, bigger developing countries are also likely to submit their INDCs well in advance. All information such as documentation on designing and preparing INDCs as well as on sources of support for INDC preparation, is available here.

Countries have agreed that there will be no back-tracking in these national climate plans, meaning that the level of ambition to reduce emissions will increase over time.