WRI Analysis of Annex I Emissions Reductions Pledges

As a follow-up on my post yesterday summarizing WWF’s new study on the implications of Annex I emissions reductions under the Copenhagen accord, here’s a summary of the World Resource Institute’s new analysis, Levin & Bradley, Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges (2010).

The key points in the study:

  • The Annex I Parties’ emission reduction pledges would reduce emissions by 12-18% below 1990 levels by 2020, excluding Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) or 13-19% if one includes LULUCF. Thus, even the best case scenario for Annex I pledges are well below the lowest range of reductions in 2020 necessary to put us on a trajectory to potentially avoid a 2C increase in temperatures (25%) [Editor’s note: it should be also noted that this would still result in a 78% risk of overshooting 2C according to Meinshausen in a 2005 study; even a 40% reduction in 2020 would still result in a 26% risk of overshoot];
  • If Annex I Parties agree to the lower range of the recommendations of the IPCC for 2020 to have a reasonable chance of avoiding overshooting 2C, they would then have to reduce their emissions by an additional 77% in the period of 2020-2050 if they reduce emissions by 2040; if they can achieve a 40% reduction, their emissions would only have to be reduced an additional 67% to achieve this goal;
  • If pledges by Annex I parties are not ratcheted up beyond the highest pledges, the additional reductions required between 2020 and 2050 would require emissions to drop about 2.5% annually between 2020 and 2050 to reach a goal of reducing Annex I emissions 80% below 1990 levels by mid-century, at which point “the potential turnover in capital stock may be well beyond what is technologically or politically feasible in a 30-year time period . . .”

This would be an excellent reading for students; it also includes some excellent data, including charts with emission reduction pledges for 2020; absolute emissions of Annex I parties for 1990, 2000, and 2005, and projected emissions, per capita emissions and emissions intensity in 2020 for Annex I Parties.

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