FEON WONG | LEGAL JARGON WRITER
Following the Paris Agreement, countries have pledged their ambitious goal of keeping the increase of global temperature below the 1.5C above the pre-industrial level by 2100. It has now come to the five-year checkpoint where nations must update their commitments in tackling climate change. It was alerted by the UN Secretary-General that although progress has been made, it is insufficient to fully realise the goal. Therefore, countries will need to put forth an improvised plan named Nationality Determined Contribution (NDCs) to further reduce emissions by 2030.
With at least 38 countries declaring a climate emergency, many countries have apparently resonated and decided to take further action. For example, the UK intends to stop its support for overseas fossil fuels projects and double its International Climate Finance (ICF) contribution to £ 11.6 bn. The EU pledged a 55% cut in emissions, whereas China, deemed the game changer in relation to climate change, announced that it will reduce 65% emissions per unit of GDP while boosting wind and solar capacity. On the other side, India announced that it was on track to achieve its goal.
Corporations, such as Apple, have followed suit of the countries to realise this aspiration. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, delivered the company’s goal at the Summit: to be 100% carbon neutral for its entire supply chain by 2030. Oil giants, such as Shell and BP, have also joined the squad to accelerate the transformation as they, too, pledge to be net-zero carbon companies by 2050.
It should be mentioned that the positive effect brought about by the pandemic on carbon emissions is significant. With people being kept at home, the daily CO2 emissions reduced drastically by around 17%. Nonetheless, a surge in carbon emissions is foreseeable once the lockdown is over as people will be going back to their offices and airlines, the worst-hit industry amidst the spread of Covid-19, will run again. Therefore, it remains to be seen how different countries will execute their ideas so as to allow the goal of the Paris Agreement to bear fruit.
LLB student at The London School of Economics | Communication Officer at Japan Society at LSE
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