In reaction to a recently released United Nations report, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council, Union of Concerned Scientists and Oxfam America joined efforts to highlight unprecedented and growing momentum towards the Paris climate change negotiations and to urge a scaling up of ambition to address the gap that remains.

“The past twelve months have seen unprecedented climate commitments from governments, business and cities,” said Lou Leonard, vice president, climate change at WWF. “Nearly 160 national targets have been submitted by governments and political support for action is growing, not only in the United States and Europe, but within developing countries of all sizes from China, Mexico and India to Tanzania and the Marshall Islands. But yet, much more is needed.”

The UN report shows the targets being negotiated reach only half way toward the pathway needed to limit warming to less than 2°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.  

”This ambition gap won’t be closed in Paris,” said Jake Schmidt, director of international program at NRDC.  ”But we cannot ignore it or simply kick the problem down the road for 10 or 15 years. Paris can and should set us on a course to immediately begin to tackle this challenge.” 

The groups are pushing for a three-part plan to address the gap in mitigation ambition, including: (1) five-year review and revision cycles in the Paris agreement designed to spur progressively more fair and ambitious commitments by all countries; (2) scaled up cooperative action led by quantified targets by the United States and other developed countries to provide the support needed to help developing countries such as Mexico, India, and Indonesia; and (3) a permanent action agenda where high-level champions bring together governments, businesses and others to accelerate emissions cuts, supported by technical experts and incentives to unlock current barriers to action.