The scientific paper Nature recently questioned the method that is used in the UN climate negotiations. You can read the story on the their website.

According to Tjernström, there are two things to consider. First, one can question the use of ”intended contributions” on a voluntary basis instead of legally binding agreement. But in a situation where every day nothing happens is a day when the climate is irreversibly affected for the worse, it is probably better that doing nothing. This method may very well lead to a new dynamic in the negotiations, but it may also be a dead-end street; this has to be evaluated later. Second, we must also recall that this method is nothing that the UN came up with by itself; it was what the countries found it possible to agree on at the time, and we are now living with the consequences. So if the method is wrong, it is not the method that should be criticized; it is the countries that couldn’t come up with a better agreement that should be criticized.

So is the total sum of the submitted contributions sufficient to solve the problem? No, the emission reduction targets that have been put on the table today, are far from enough to reach the 2° target, says Tjernström. With the contributions so far, we will still reach about a 3.5° increase in average global temperature at the end of the century. No country or region is sufficiently ambitious, although Sweden and the European Union (EU) are among the better.

It is also a problem that the INDCs are so different, since there is not a common method on how to present them. Different countries use different reference period/years when presenting their targets and some also qualifies their targets on economic developments. This makes the end result uncertain and difficult to interpret.

More information about the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) can be found on UNFCCC website

Nevertheless, COP21 will be a very important meeting since the Kyoto protocol is running out and we need a new legal binding agreement in order to save the climate. If we do not succeed in Paris, there is a risk that this issue will not be taken seriously in the future.

Also read more about the INDC and the consequences for the presented emission targets on the Climate Action Tracker website.

Listen to Michael Tjernström in Swedish Radio Studio Ett 35.00-41.00 (in Swedish).