Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.
People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events. The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. They are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.
Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.
As the Secretary-General highlights, climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy. To address climate change, countries are working to adopt a global agreement in Paris this month.
UN Climate Change Conference (COP21): 30 November-11 December
The 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change are gathering at a site near Le Bourget-Paris to reach a meaningful and universal agreement on climate that would put the world on a path to limit global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
Heads of State and Government attended the beginning of the COP on 30 November. It is also expected that many announcements of commitments on climate action will be made during the COP, with a focus on an Action Day, on 5 December. More details available at: http://newsroom.unfccc.int/, www.un.org/climatechange, and the French government site http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en
In preparing for Paris, more than 150 countries have submitted national climate targets covering nearly 90 per cent of global emissions. An agreement in Paris will not be the end point, but it can be a decisive turning point in how all countries, acting together under an agreed, transparent legal framework, will set out a pathway to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius – the internationally agreed goal.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
Further to the negotiations under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), the Conference of the Parties (COP), by its decision 1/CP.19, invited all Parties to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their INDCs towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2, without prejudice to the legal nature of the contributions, in the context of adopting a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties.
- Synthesis report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report (2015)
- Trends in Private Sector Climate Finance report
- The New Climate Economy Report
- Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty
- COP21: on eve of UN climate conference, Ban says ‘time for action is now’
- Latest documents including the Outcome Document
Learn more about the 2015: Time for Global Action campaign.