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Climate Ambition Summit 2020

12 December 2020 | Online
Celebration of the adoption of the Paris Agreement

On 12 December 2020, the United Nations, United Kingdom, and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy, will co-host a virtual Climate Ambition Summit 2020 to mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. The event will provide a platform for government and non-governmental leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the Paris Agreement and the multilateral process.

The summit is positioned as a “sprint to Glasgow,” where the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place from 1–12 November 2021. The day will feature announcements that demonstrate “genuine progress” compared to existing policies and targets under three areas: mitigation, adaptation, and support. In particular, the co-hosts have called for:

  • New, more ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs);
  • Long-term net-zero emissions strategies;
  • Climate finance commitments to support the most vulnerable; and
  • Ambitious adaptation plans and policies.

The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at COP 21 in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015, constitutes a major landmark agreement on climate change that seeks to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C. The agreement, which entered into force in record time, on 4 November 2016, currently has 188 parties. All parties to the agreement are expected to undertake ambitious efforts to support the agreement’s goals and communicate their related intentions every five years in the form of NDCs.

All NDCs must contain emission reduction (mitigation) measures. Developed countries are expected to set economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets, whereas developing countries are expected to continue to enhance their mitigation efforts and move over time towards economy-wide reduction or limitation targets. Developed countries are required to support developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation through finance, technology transfer, and capacity building (i.e. means of implementation).

In the first round, 186 parties submitted their first NDC and two have since submitted a second NDC. The collective ambition of the NDCs’ mitigation pledges, however, is far from sufficient: the UN Environment Programme estimates that the implementation of the first round of NDCs would lead to a temperature rise of more than 3°C.

By the end of October 2020, only 15 countries representing 4.6% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions had submitted an NDC in 2020. In addition, only 19 parties have so far submitted to the UNFCCC their “long-term low GHG emission development strategies,” which the Paris Agreement also calls for all countries to formulate.

As per the Paris Agreement, each successive NDC must represent a progression beyond the country’s previous NDC and reflect its highest possible ambition. The Paris Outcome decision (1/CP.21) requests parties with an NDC with a time frame up to 2025 to communicate a new NDC by 2020. Countries with a NDC with a time frame up to 2030 are requested to communicate or update their NDCs by 2020. Only a small number of countries’ NDCs have a time frame up to 2025 but, given the urgency of raising ambition, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, among others, have been urging for parties to submit enhanced NDCs as early as possible and well before COP 26.

During the Climate Ambition Summit, countries are expected to make announcements related to enhanced NDCs and, with non-governmental participants, other pledges and plans relating to mitigation in the medium and short term, as well as adaptation and finance.

IISD, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, will provide a summary and analysis report from the Climate Ambition Summit 2020, on Tuesday, 15 December 2020.

UNFCCC Resources

UK Resources

IISD/ENB Meeting Coverage

IISD Resources