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Nations Make Climate Pledges to the UN

Nations Make Climate Pledges to the UN

The US is the latest nation to make a pledge for tackling climate change, making a formal offer to the United Nations.

Altogether there are to be 196 of what are being called Intended Nationally Distributed Contributions. The wealthiest nations were given the informal deadline of March 31 to make their pledges, though some have failed to submit in time. This early date was set to make sure the submissions were entered in time to be processed before the UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Paris later this year.

The US and China create more greenhouse gas pollution than any other countries in the world, but the US is addressing the issue with restrictions on their emissions. In 2013, they created tougher standards for vehicles and also added new restrictions on power plant emissions.

Based on 2005 levels, the US has promised to cut its carbon emissions by up to 28% by 2025.

“The target is fair and ambitious,” the US announced. “The United States has already undertaken substantial policy action to reduce its emissions. Additional action to achieve the 2025 target represents a substantial acceleration of the current pace of greenhouse gas emission reductions.”

Brian Deese, White House Climate Advisor, described the offer as “a big deal” in a blog post. He added that not only is the target achievable and ambitious, but the nation has the tools to reach it.

In contrast, China has said that it will reduce emissions after 2030, but will produce at least 20% of its energy from renewable sources and nuclear by  that time.

Switzerland, Norway, and Mexico are amongst the 33 countries to have committed to specific goals. And the EU as a whole has promised to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, based on the levels from 1990.

“The declarations are an important first step,” said Dr Jeremy Woods from the Imperial College London, who leads the Climate-KIC’s Global Calculator.

Once all 196 pledges are in, they will be examined by UN analysts and other countries to determine if they are adequate and fair. This is likely to take up to the latter end of the year, just in time for the Climate Change Conference starting on November 30.

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