Road to Paris: Climate Pledges are In

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of concern over the reluctance of some countries to submit their climate pledges. However, as we edge closer to December, the pace of submissions has accelerated. By October 2nd, 147 countries had handed in their contributions. The combined emissions of all of the countries that have submitted their pledges so far account for 87% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 8 out of 10 of the world’s largest emitters have already submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), these include: China, the United States, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Canada. Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to publish their targets shortly.[1]

Here is the most up-to-date list of nations’ INDC submissions.

The Text

The text due to be negotiated in Paris has now been slimmed down to 20 pages, with a supplementary document of three pages explaining ways in which countries can increase their emission reduction targets by 2020.[2]

Despite the enthusiasm over the submission of most nations’ INDCs, it remains evident that the 2C target will not be reached. In light of this reality, the text also includes an on-going revision process that requires countries to communicate their emissions goals every five years. This is considered vital for a successful climate deal, and for long-term climate sustainability. This framework for regulation of nation’s emissions is also an essential component of the text, since today’s ambitions may be affected by changing climate variation, as well as countries’ social, economic and political situations. 

“Paris Agreement must contain provisions to regularly increase our shared ambition over time so that each period of contributions can be more ambitious than the last and so that we can meet our long-term objectives.” - COP21 website [3] 

After much dissatisfaction with the slow progress of climate talks in Bonn this past September, the development of this new text is a positive step forward towards a successful climate agreement. 

Climate Finance

Many nations have included a financial element in their INDCs. Carbon Brief, who produces reports of the latest developments and media coverage of climate change, closely follows these financial requisites. Their calculations state that as of October 6th, developing nations will require a total of $3,529 billion USD to implement their INDCs.[4]

The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) have released the first estimate of the finance mobilised by developed countries to help developing countries address climate change. The report provides the first assessment of public and private financial plans by developed nations to meet their commitment to spend 100 billion USD each year by 2020 on climate adaptation and mitigation projects in developing countries.  The report, however, is only available to registered journalists on the OECD website. 

Financial contributions were increased by some European nations. The UK pledged to double its climate finance budget by 2020 and France pledged to increase climate finance from USD$3 to 5 billion a year by 2020.[5]

Sustainable Development Goals

Image: Asian Development Bank via Flickr CC

The United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda took place from 25 – 27 of September in New York City. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were agreed upon at this summit should strengthen the call for further action on climate change and provide a mandate for the global community to be more ambitions in their emission reduction targets. 

The link between climate change and sustainable development is unquestionably strong. Goal 13 of the SDGs calls for UN Member States to “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.”[6] However, climate change plays a major role in enhancing humanity’s vulnerability not only to natural disasters, but also to resource scarcity, such as food, fresh water and energy. Therefore, tackling climate change will be crucial for achieving most of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

G20 Towards Renewable Energy 

The first ever G20 Energy Ministers Meeting took place in Istanbul on the 1st and 2nd October. This is the first time that renewable energy was on the G20 agenda. At the meeting, energy ministers adopted a “renewable energy toolkit”, intended to guide nations towards a renewable energy future. The conference focused on inclusive energy collaboration, and the strategies necessary for addressing the energy challenges of today and tomorrow through investment and implementation.

Plans for the move towards renewable energy have also been incorporated into many developed nation’s INDCs. G20 nations are expected to play an important role in leading the global transition towards a renewable energy future.  

As an International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director stated in a recent press release about the G20 Meeting: “With this tremendous market opportunity before them, concerted and coordinated action undertaken by G20 countries to advance renewable energy can really move the needle on global deployment as we transition to a clean energy future.” [7]

HCWH Goes to Paris 

3 September – Health Care Climate Leadership Roundtable

HCWH is bringing together top health system officials from US, Europe, Asia and Latin America in a private, closed-door meeting where strategies to accelerate carbon footprint reduction in the health care sector will be discussed.

4 September – Conference on Climate Change and Health Care

In collaboration with the French Hospital Federation (FHF), HCWH will host an all-day event focusing on the reduction of health system’s carbon footprint. Examples of best practice from around the world will also be presented at this event.

Event Location: Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Paris

Free of charge, limited space. Registration Here! 


Our Climate, Our Health – The Global Climate & Health Alliance


 “Our Climate, Our Health” is a Global Climate & Health Alliance (GCHA) campaign that aims to place health at the heart of the COP21 climate change negotiations. The campaign seeks to raise awareness and educate the world on the relationship between climate and health, empower and support health professionals to take action on climate change within the health sector, and to push for stronger policy action and a firm climate deal at COP21.

 Image via GCHA  

Healthy Energy Initiative & the Paris Platform for Healthy Energy

The Healthy Energy Initiative is a global collaboration of health professionals, health organizations, researchers and advocates working toward a clean energy, coal-free, renewable health sector. The Healthy Energy Initiative is driven by the vision that a low carbon economy increasingly based on clean, renewable energy will not only protect public health from climate change, but also have immediate health benefits for large portions of the world’s population who are currently suffering from the impacts of pollution. To work towards this vision, members support a series of activities such as climate and health scientific research, education and capacity building for both health professionals and the general public, and strong advocating for coal divestment and public health. 

A project led by the Healthy Energy Initiative has recently launched The Paris Platform for Healthy Energy, intended to serve as a guiding document for the health sector’s transition towards clean energy, during and after COP21. If you are an organization in the health sector that shares this vision, click here to endorse the platform. 

Interesting Reads

  • The Guardian: 10 green leaders on the best ways you can fight climate change
    Green leaders give advice to the public on the best ways you can fight climate change through everyday activities and habits. From saving money, to exercising and eating healthier, there is no doubt that what is healthy for you is also healthy for the planet. 
  • A Story of Hope: The Guardian launches phase II of its climate change campaign
    This article by James Randerson applauds some nation’s efforts on transitioning towards renewable sources of energy. By describing the “Keep it in the Ground” campaign’s achievements and progress made thus far, the article urges readers to join the journey towards phasing out fossil fuels. 
  • The Carbon Brief Interview: Dr. Hoesung Lee 
    Carbon Brief interviews the newly elected International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) president, Dr. Hoesung Lee. This extensive interview touches on topics regarding climate change, IPCC policies and goals, as well as his own personal experiences and ambitions. 

Important Dates

9 - 11 October: Annual & Spring meetings of the World Bank & IMF in Lima Peru

12 -13 October: INDC Forum in Rabat

13 - 14 October: G20 Sherpa meeting 

19 October: Final pre-Paris negotiation session in Bonn

26 October: 11th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance

19 - 23 October: ADP (Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) meeting in Bonn 

1 November: UNEP publishes the Emissions Gap Report of the INDCs

15 -16 November: G20 Leaders Summit in Antalya 

30 November - 11 December: COP21 in Paris


- Ana-Christina Gaeta, Communications Assistant, HCWH Europe