This briefing paper, produced in collaboration with ClimateWorks Foundation, explores how different futures analysis methods can be used to better understand how rapidly changing world might present challenges and opportunities towards achieving ambitious climate change mitigation goals.

The UN Paris Agreement puts in place a legally binding mechanism to increase mitigation action over time. Countries put forward pledges called nationally determined contributions (NDC) whose impact is assessed in global stocktaking exercises. Subsequently, actions can then be strengthened in light of the Paris climate objective: limiting global mean temperature increase to well below 2 °C and pursuing efforts to limit it further to 1.5 °C. However, pledged actions are currently described ambiguously and this complicates the global stocktaking exercise.'

The Paris climate agreement aims at holding global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To accomplish this, countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining their post-2020 climate action. Here we assess the effect of current INDCs on reducing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions, its implications for achieving the temperature objective of the Paris climate agreement, and potential options for overachievement.

A report prepared by Climate Analytics for CAN Europe that provides an analysis of the adequacy and feasibility of the 1.5°C long-term global limit. Scientific assessments have shown that impacts are projected to worsen significantly above a global warming of 1.5, or 2°C from pre-industrial levels.

For more than a decade, the target of keeping global warming below 2 °C has been a key focus of the international climate debate. In response, the scientific community has published a number of scenario studies that estimate the costs of achieving such a target. Producing these estimates remains a challenge, particularly because of relatively well known, but poorly quantified, uncertainties, and owing to limited integration of scientific knowledge across disciplines.

In recent years, international climate policy has increasingly focused on limiting temperature rise, as opposed to achieving greenhouse-gas-concentration-related objectives. The agreements reached at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Cancun in 2010 recognize that countries should take urgent action to limit the increase in global average temperature to less than 2 °C relative to pre-industrial levels.

Current national emissions targets can