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FOCUS: Mitigation

According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC AR4), global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have grown since pre-industrial times, with an increase of 70 per cent between 1970 and 2004. With current climate change mitigation policies and related sustainable development practices, these emissions will continue to grow over the next few decades. Continue

National actions on mitigation in the context of the Bali Roadmap

Central to the Cancun Agreements adopted by Parties in 2010 is the decision to hold the increase in the global average temperature below 2 °C, or below 1.5 °C, above pre-industrial levels. In order to contribute to this goal, more than 90 Parties made conditional and unconditional pledges to reduce emissions by 2020 under the Cancun Agreements.
For developed countries, these pledges encompass quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets under the Convention for all developed countries (FCCC/SBSTA/2014/INF.6) and quantified emission limitation or reduction commitments under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol by developed countries assuming commitments for this period. (pdf-icon Doha Amendment (117 kB) )
Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions by developing country Parties pursuant to decision 1/CP.16, paragraph 50, are compiled in document FCCC/SBI/2013/INF.12/Rev.2.

More on UNFCCC Mitigation work
Focus Mitigation main page Action on mitigation: Reducing emissions and enhancing sinks
Reporting on national implementation and MRV Resources
Social Media Outreach
Inspiring Examples of Action facebook UNFCCC facebook twitter UNFCCC twitter
Introduction to Mitigation, continued

Societies can respond to climate change by reducing GHG emissions and enhancing sinks and reservoirs. The capacity to do so depends on socio-economic and environmental circumstances and the availability of information and technology. To this end, a wide variety of policies and instruments are available to governments to create the incentives for mitigation action. Mitigation is essential to meet the UNFCCC's objective of stabilizing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. Among others, the Convention:

  • Requires all Parties, taking into account their responsibilities and capabilities, to formulate and implement programmes containing measures to mitigate climate change
  • Also requires all Parties to develop and periodically update national inventories of GHG emissions and removals
  • Commits all Parties to promote, and cooperate in, the development, application and diffusion of climate friendly technologies
  • Requires developed countries to adopt national policies and measures to limit GHG emissions and protect and enhance sinks and reservoirs
  • States that the extent to which developing countries will implement their commitments will depend on financial resources and transfer of technology

The UNFCCC webpages on mitigation highlight the range of issues that are being addressed by Parties under the various Convention bodies, including:

Action on mitigation: reducing emissions and enhancing sinks. A range of policies and various economy-wide packages of policy instruments have been effective in reducing GHG emissions in different sectors and many countries. According to the IPCC AR4, there is substantial technical and economic potential for the mitigation of global GHG emissions over the coming decades, that could offset the projected growth of global emissions or reduce emissions below current levels. Changes in lifestyle and behaviour patterns and management practices can contribute to climate change mitigation across all sectors. [read more]

Latest information on action to reduce emissions by developed countries is found under this link. For developing countries information can be found here.

Reporting on national implementation and MRV. Parties to the Convention have agreed to submit to the Conference of the Parties (COP) national reports on implementation of the Convention which include commitments and activities relating to mitigation. The required contents and level of details of national reports and/or the timetable for their submission are different for developed and -developing countries. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention [read more].

Resources. A number of resources relevant to mitigation is available to Parties and the general public. By navigating to this link you will find more information on data on greenhouse gases reported by Parties to the UNFCCC; the REDD platform; training material; and the IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse inventories.