Here’s What Major Nations Pledged at the Climate Summit

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: People protest for greater action against climate change during the People's Climate March on September 21, 2014 in New York City. The march, which calls for drastic political and economic changes to slow global warming, has been organized by a coalition of unions, activists, politicians and scientists. 
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Clare Foran
Sept. 23, 2014, 7:38 a.m.

World lead­ers un­veiled a slate of com­mit­ments on Tues­day to ad­dress cli­mate change at the United Na­tions Cli­mate Sum­mit.

The sum­mit, held in New York City, was con­vened by the U.N. to lay the ground­work for na­tions to sign a glob­al emis­sions treaty next year dur­ing cli­mate ne­go­ti­ations in Par­is. It is un­clear what kind of deal will come to­geth­er at the 2015 talks, but en­vir­on­ment­al act­iv­ists watched Tues­day’s sum­mit closely for signs of what’s to come.

In speeches at the sum­mit, dip­lo­mats from 120 coun­tries laid out a series of non­bind­ing cli­mate com­mit­ments. Some of the prom­ises were new. In many cases, however, world lead­ers took to the po­di­um to re­it­er­ate ex­ist­ing com­mit­ments. Here is an over­view of what they pledged:


Pres­id­ent Obama de­livered an ad­dress at the sum­mit this af­ter­noon where he an­nounced an ex­ec­ut­ive or­der re­quir­ing fed­er­al agen­cies to take cli­mate change in­to ac­count when dol­ing out dol­lars for in­ter­na­tion­al aid and in­vest­ment abroad.

Obama also an­nounced a set of tools that draw on do­mest­ic sci­entif­ic and tech­no­lo­gic­al know-how to help vul­ner­able com­munit­ies in oth­er na­tions boost re­si­li­ence to glob­al warm­ing.

U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said dur­ing the sum­mit that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will give the World Bank $15 mil­lion to help fin­ance a pro­gram aimed at rein­ing in meth­ane pol­lu­tion.

The U.S. has pre­vi­ously pledged to curb emis­sions 17 per­cent from 2005 levels by 2020.


The E.U. un­veiled a new com­mit­ment to slash green­house-gas emis­sions 40 per­cent from 1990 levels by 2030, a pro­pos­al that sets the bloc apart from most at­tendees at the sum­mit by out­lining an emis­sions tar­get that ex­tends bey­ond 2020.

European Com­mis­sion Pres­id­ent Jose Manuel Bar­roso said E.U. mem­ber na­tions will achieve that goal by re­ly­ing on clean en­ergy for 27 per­cent of their power and im­prov­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency by 30 per­cent.

Bar­roso said the bloc has a long-term am­bi­tion of cut­ting emis­sions by 80 to 95 per­cent by 2050. Ad­di­tion­ally, the com­mis­sion pres­id­ent an­nounced that the E.U. aims to spend 20 per­cent of its budget for 2014 to 2020 on ef­forts to ad­dress glob­al warm­ing.

The E.U. in­tends to hand out 3 bil­lion euros, or roughly $3.9 bil­lion dol­lars, to help de­vel­op­ing na­tions cut emis­sions over the next sev­en years.


Brit­ish Prime Min­is­ter Dav­id Camer­on said that the U.K. is on track to cut emis­sions by 80 per­cent by 2050. Camer­on did not, however, an­nounce any new tar­gets not already agreed to by the coun­try.

Camer­on also said that the U.K. would set aside nearly 4 bil­lion pounds, or $6.5 bil­lion, to boost in­ter­na­tion­al cli­mate change ac­tion.


Chinese Vice Premi­er Zhang Gaoli re­peated China’s pre­vi­ously stated goal of cut­ting car­bon emis­sions by 40 to 45 per­cent from 2005 levels by 2020. Gaoli did not an­nounce any new emis­sions tar­gets. The vice premi­er also an­nounced that China will set aside $6 mil­lion for U.N. ef­forts to boost South-South coper­a­tion to ad­dress glob­al warm­ing.


French Pres­id­ent Fran­cois Hol­lande an­nounced that France will set aside 750 mil­lion euros, or ap­prox­im­ately $1 bil­lion, for the Green Cli­mate Fund, a pot of money in­ten­ded to help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries rein in air pol­lu­tion.


Canada’s en­vir­on­ment min­is­ter, Le­ona Aglukkaq, an­nounced a series of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions aimed at curb­ing green­house emis­sions from cars and trucks, in­clud­ing stricter fuel-ef­fi­ciency re­quire­ments for cars and heavy-duty vehicles.


Ja­pan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe shied away from mak­ing form­al com­mit­ments dur­ing the sum­mit, say­ing that Ja­pan will an­nounce tar­gets for next year’s Par­is cli­mate talks “as soon as pos­sible.”

Abe also said that Ja­pan is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing a dona­tion to help de­vel­op­ing na­tions take ac­tion to ad­dress glob­al warm­ing.


Dor­is Leuthard, the pres­id­ent of Switzer­land, said the coun­try is con­sid­er­ing a pledge of $100 mil­lion to the Green Cli­mate Fund.


Swedish Prime Min­is­ter Fre­drik Re­in­feldt said that the coun­try will cut emis­sions 40 per­cent from 1990 levels by 2020. The coun­try aims to pro­duce zero net emis­sions by 2050.


The Prime Min­is­ter of Den­mark, Helle Thorn­ing-Schmidt made a fresh com­mit­ment for Den­mark to donate $70 mil­lion to the Green Cli­mate Fund. Thron­ing-Schmidt also said that Den­mark’s goal is to rid it­self of fossil fuels by 2050.


Ire­land’s Prime Min­is­ter Enda Kenny said the coun­try will cut green­house gases by 80 per­cent by 2050.


Ice­land said that it aims to power its eco­nomy en­tirely with clean en­ergy, but did not set a date or provide a timeline for achiev­ing this goal.


Korean Pres­id­ent Park Geun-hye said at the sum­mit that South Korea will donate $100 mil­lion to the Green Cli­mate Fund to aid ef­forts to ad­dress glob­al warm­ing. Geun-hye also said that South Korea is on track to be­come the first Asi­an coun­try to launch a car­bon trad­ing scheme, an ini­ti­at­ive that is set to launch next year.


Najib Razak, the pres­id­ent of Malay­sia, said that the coun­try plans to cut emis­sions 40 per­cent by 2020.


In­done­sia is on track to slash green­house gas emis­sions by 26 per­cent by 2020.


Ethiopi­an Pres­id­ent Mu­latu Te­shame said that his coun­try aims to achieve net zero emis­sions by 2025.


Geor­gia has set a goal of be­com­ing car­bon neut­ral by 2050. Geor­gi­an pres­id­ent Iraki Gari­bashvili said that the coun­try aims to be­come a “hy­dro-power gi­ant.”


Mex­ico an­nounced that it aims to gen­er­ate more than one third of its elec­tri­city from zero-emis­sions sources by 2018. Mex­ic­an pres­id­ent En­rique Pena Ni­eto also an­nounced that the coun­try will con­trib­ute $10 mil­lion to the Green Cli­mate Fund.


Chilean Pres­id­ent Michelle Bachelet said that the coun­try will gen­er­ate 45 per­cent of its en­ergy from re­new­ables by 2025.


Costa Ric­an Pres­id­ent Lu­is Guillermo Sol­is said that the coun­try will be powered purely from clean en­ergy by 2016.


Nicaragua said that it will aim to gen­er­ate 90 per­cent of its elec­tri­city through re­new­ables by 2020.


Prince Al­bert of Monaco said that the prin­cip­al­ity has es­tab­lished a tar­get of cut­ting car­bon emis­sions 80 per­cent by 2050.


The is­land na­tion of St. Lu­cia has com­mit­ted to de­riv­ing 35 per­cent of its elec­tri­city from clean en­ergy by 2020


Fre­un­del Stu­art, the prime min­is­ter of Bar­ba­dos, said that the coun­try will source 29 per­cent of its elec­tri­city from re­new­ables by 2029.


The sul­tan of Brunei made a com­mit­ment that his coun­try would make a 63 per­cent re­duc­tion in total car­bon emis­sions by 2035. The sul­tan also said Brunei would source at least 10 per­cent of its total power gen­er­a­tion from re­new­ables by 2035.


The Poly­ne­sian is­land na­tion of Tu­valu has com­mited to 100 per­cent clean en­ergy by 2020.


  • The U.S. joined with the European Uni­on and Canada to pledge that by 2020 de­for­est­a­tion would be cut in half, with an end goal of elim­in­at­ing forest loss en­tirely by 2030. No­tice­ably ab­sent from the pledge was Brazil.
  • Nor­way an­nounced that it will provide Liber­ia with up to $150 mil­lion un­til 2020 in an ef­fort to curb de­for­est­a­tion in the coun­try.
  • A num­ber of na­tions, in­clud­ing the U.S., Mex­ico, Ni­ger­ia, Nor­way and Rus­sia an­nounced that they will part­ner with ma­jor oil and gas com­pan­ies, in­clud­ing Statoil, Pe­mex and South­west­ern En­ergy as well as cit­ies across the world on a new ini­ti­at­ive to cut emis­sions of meth­ane. “One of the planks in the strategy seeks to re­duce pol­lut­ants from mu­ni­cip­al sol­id waste and over 25 cit­ies com­mit­ted to carry out quan­ti­fi­able plans of ac­tion to cut them by 2020.”
  • The In­done­sian gov­ern­ment and the U.S. presided over the sign­ing of the In­done­sian Palm Oil Pledge, an agree­ment by the heads of ma­jor com­pan­ies, in­clud­ing Car­gill, and the In­done­sian Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dustry to make palm oil har­vest­ing more sus­tain­able.

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