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Increasing pre-2020 emission reductions

The Durban climate change conference in 2011 acknowledged the urgent need to step up global action to cut greenhouse gas emissions before 2020 to address the gap between current emission pledges and the reductions needed to keep global warming below 2°C. Thanks to pressure from the EU and the most vulnerable developing countries, the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action includes a work stream on raising the ambition of pre-2020 emission reductions.

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Work accelerated in 2014

The Warsaw climate conference in November 2013 decided to accelerate this work and laid the basis for tangible progress in 2014, including through ministerial dialogues in June and December.

The summit of world leaders on climate change to be hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2014 should give added political momentum to this work.

Delivering more with mitigation pledges

In connection with the Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban and Doha conferences, more than 100 developed and developing countries have made voluntary emission reduction or limitation pledges for 2020. Though these pledges cover over 80% of global emissions, it is clear that they are not ambitious enough to put global emissions on a path that will hold global warming below 2°C. The Emissions Gap report 2013 of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) concludes that the world is currently on track for warming of 3-4°C.

To narrow this 'ambition gap', the EU wants countries that have not yet made emission pledges for 2020 to do so as soon as possible. Those that have made pledges in the form of target ranges should consider how to move to the most ambitious end of their ranges when political conditions allow.

Moreover, increased transparency on the implementation of existing pledges is needed in order to better assess this gap and ensure it does not increase further.

Voluntary initiatives

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The Warsaw conference created a process to encourage countries to undertake new, voluntary national and international initiatives.

Initiatives in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, reducing tropical deforestation and action on urban emissions will be promoted by ministerial 'champions' from Germany, the US, the UK, Colombia, Norway, Switzerland and the Marshall Islands.

The European Commission and several EU member states are partners in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), which aims to reduce so-called short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, methane, tropospheric ozone (smog) and HFCs.

They are working to move the coalition beyond its first steps towards efforts with the potential to have global impacts, such as mobilising support for an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs.