On the occasion of the Chinese State Visit in the USA on September 25, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping have released a joint statement on climate change, which lends strong support to COP21 and calls for “formulating and making available mid-century strategies for the transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the below 2 degree C global temperature goal”. This is the first time both countries have committed to preparing long-term deep decarbonization pathways that are consistent with 2°C and to making them public.

Two days later, this call was joined by 44 Heads of State and Leaders, gathered for an informal lunch on climate change chaired by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, President Ollanta Humala and President François Hollande. The conclusions of the Chairs stressed “the importance and usefulness of formulating and making available [such] strategies”, and identified this among the key priorities for a Paris agreement, notably to “send a loud and clear signal to citizens and the private sector that the transformation of the global economy is inevitable, beneficial and already underway”.

 

As demonstrated by the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project, such long-term pathways are indispensable for ensuring that short-term actions are consistent with the transformations required to achieve deep decarbonization by mid-century. They are also instrumental for supporting stakeholder engagement with business, civil society, and other actors in each country. At the international level, they can help identify areas of cooperation, notably on R&D, and build trust in other countries’ commitments to reduce emissions. As a consequence, long-term pathways can help strengthen the ambition of country contributions to climate action over time.

The seminal work of the 16 country research teams which participate in the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project has clarified the concept of deep decarbonization and already proposed several mid-century strategies for the transition to low-carbon economies in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the USA. All country reports as well as the executive summary of the DDPP 2015 synthesis report are available on the DDPP website. The DDPP invites other country teams to join.

Photo: UN