In DepthCLIMATE POLICY

Five years in, Paris pact still a work in progress

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Science  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6523, pp. 1390
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6523.1390

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Summary

Five years after the Paris international climate agreement, many countries are falling short of their promises, and of the greenhouse gas cuts needed to stave off the worst effects of climate change. More than 70 countries gathered at a virtual summit over the weekend to reaffirm and in some cases strengthen their vows to tackle global warming. Major polluters including the European Union and China have promised to reduce their net carbon emissions to zero in the coming decades. But scientists warn the world is still on track for temperature increases about 3°C above preindustrial levels by 2100. That's half a degree lower than some forecasted 5 years ago, thanks to technological advances, economic slowdowns, and regulations. But it fails to match the short-term targets set in Paris, or the long-term goal of keeping temperature increases well below 2°C at the end of the century.

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