Title: The Paris climate change agreement: what was agreed and what does it mean for XTBG, China, and the world?
Speaker: Richard Corlett XTBG, CAS
Time: 4:30 PM , Tuesday, January 12 , 2016
Venue: The Conference Hall in Xishuangbanna Headquarters
The 1st floor meeting room in Kunming Division (video conference)
On December 12th 2015, in Paris, 195 countries adopted an ambitious and far-reaching agreement to limit anthropogenic climate change. They agreed to hold the increase in the global average temperature to ‘well below’ 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to try to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. This is to be achieved by voluntary actions by individual countries, most of which have already outlined what they plan to do in their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDCs). The current INDCs will not be enough to achieve the agreed targets, but the Paris agreement also includes a review of the INDCs every 5 years, when each country is encouraged to increase its efforts. In the next decade, most of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will come from the developed countries, particularly the USA and EU. However, China has promised to achieve peak emissions by 2030 or earlier, and this will have the largest impact on future climate change. The agreement does not include any practical mechanisms for achieving the planned reductions, but most experts think the 2°C target is possible with existing technologies. In contrast, it is probably too late to limit warming to 1.5°C without new technologies, including carbon capture and storage. If the agreement holds, it will probably save the world from the worst of the predicted impacts of climate change, although 2°C will be enough to cause significant impacts everywhere and severe impacts in some areas. For China, it means a switch from coal-fueled economic growth to an increasing reliance on renewable (solar, wind, hydro) and nuclear power. For XTBG, it has implications for research, conservation, and education, all of which are mentioned in the agreement.