Spurred by calls from the communities most exposed to climate change impacts, the Paris Climate Agreement set the ambitious goal of limiting the end-of-century global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
The Paris Agreement includes Nationally Determined Contributions, reductions in GHG emissions by country — which offer this reality: In 2030, global emissions will be 22 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GT CO2e) higher than the level needed to stay on track towards the 1.5° target and 15 GT CO2e higher than the level needed for a 2.0° scenario (UNFCCC analysis, May 2016). This is roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by 4,400 coal-fired power plants in one year.
The global community must push to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, eliminate the use of fossil fuels in the power sector by 2050, and deploy negative-emissions strategies by 2040 in order to protect the most vulnerable (Climate Analytics, October 2016).
Will the United States continue to play a significant role in the global effort to curb warming? Trump said he would look into climate change. He needs look no further than American cities – some of whose climate actions are highlighted in this report.