ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How the Most Vulnerable Countries Fared at the Paris Meeting

The most vulnerable countries of the world had specific concerns going into the Paris meeting of the Conference of Parties on climate change. Some of these concerns were met at the conference, although the long-term implications remain to be seen.

Most delegates and observers have regarded the recently concluded 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris as a reasonable success in spite of some concerns being expressed by several commentators on the process and outcomes. Even before the COP21, a new regime in international climate governance had been established based on the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by 160 countries. The purpose of the INDCs was to get commitments from all countries with the overall goal of bending their trajectories sufficiently by 2030 so that dangerous climate change could be avoided.

Careful analysis of the INDC targets by independent experts showed that the pledges did not amount to a global emissions reduction pathway sufficient to reach a 1.5°C or even 2°C target (UNFCCC 2015a), but rather one that would likely lead to average global temperature rise by at least 3°C. Significantly, the review also showed that when the historical obligations of developed or Annex-11 countries of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) were considered, together with their capabilities and continuing high emissions, their commitments were far below fair shares (Fair Shares 2015).

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