Why We Need to Strengthen Climate Commitments Every Five Years

Jun 18, 2015 1:00 PM ET

Edward Cameron, Managing Director, Partnership Development and Research and Dav…

As G7 leaders agreed to deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions, two new studies illustrate why we need five-year commitment cycles to achieve this goal. 

The first study, by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and published in the journal Science, concludes that global warming has not “paused,” as some have argued. In fact, the rate of warming over the past 15 years was slightly higher than over the previous five decades.      

A second study, by the London School of Economics, concludes that China’s greenhouse gas emissions will likely peak in 2025, a full five years before the stated target set during Chinese President Xi and U.S. President Obama’s landmark bilateral announcement last November.

These two analyses remind us that we have no time to pause on raising ambition, and no need to fear more regular government commitments designed to increase ambition. The frequency and review of commitments—the so-called “ratchet mechanism”—is a key issue being debated at the UN climate talks now occurring in Bonn, Germany. At the heart of this debate is whether countries should negotiate new emissions reductions at five- or 10-year cycles.

We Mean Business and BSR support five-year cycles. Click here to read the full article.