While our team at The GREEN Program is not a cohort of scientists, we are a group of individuals who are immeasurably passionate about sustainability, education, and the future of our planet. While it is a dark truth to come to terms with, it is evident that the human species is both indirectly and directly taking an incredibly negative toll on our planet. However, with this unfortunate reality is the opportunity to fix it, to take charge and make positive change for the future of our environment, resources, and species.
180 INDC submissions from around the world are being created and submitted in honor of this burning urgency for change. Our team is inspired by this worldwide support and initiatives for the betterment of our planet each day. The progress thus far is an accomplishment in and of itself.
However, there is still colossal progress to be made.
There are 16 parties who remain missing from this INDC global commitment. In fact, countries that are not parties to the UNFCCC create nearly 1% of global emissions. With emissions at an all time high, every percentage matters.
The time for change is now. The opportunity is knocking, and it’s time we all answer and turn our collective future around.
Moving forward, we are excited to see how the largest greenhouse gas contributors of the world are making weighty steps toward a sustainable future. The top 5 GHG contributors listed below account for more than half of the global greenhouse gas contributions. Here are the highlights of what they pledge for Agenda 2030:
With prior contributions of nearly 24% of global GHG, they aim to hit the peak of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, if not earlier
Source 20% of its energy from low-carbon sources by 2030
Cut emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% of 2005 levels by 2030; this will expedite the process to peaking 3 years prior (2027)
2. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The US is responsible for 12.1% of GHG, but has a goal set to meet 26-28% domestic reduction in greenhouse gases by 2025 compared to 2005
Including land sector and excluding international credits at this time, this will make it the nation’s best effort to reach the 28% target
3. EUROPEAN UNION
The EU has pledged to meet at least a 40% domestic reduction in GHG by 2030 compared to 1990 levels
India is striving towards a 33-35% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, compared to 2005 levels
Achieve 40% of cumulative electricity installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based resources by 2030
Increase tree cover which will then create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tones of CO2 equivalent by 2030
Aiming for a slightly higher impact than India with 37% reduction in emissions by 2025, compared to 2005 levels,
Beyond that, Brazil has a further indicative target of a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030.
As an international education provider that hosts short-term abroad programs focused on a collection of topics focused on the Sustainable Development Goals including renewable energy in Iceland, water resource management in Peru, and even urban regeneration in our very own home-city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we are hopeful for the potential of Agenda 2030 and what the USA can contribute. In fact, Secretary Duncan of the US Department of Education has even stated that “[Change] ‘will only happen because we, as a nation, make a deliberate choice for equity. A deliberate choice to insist on excellence for all of our nation’s students.’” We look forward to being a part of this global movement and are eager to help tackle and accomplish these global goals over the next 15 years.
Whether your nation is one of the largest contributors (or smallest), our team at The GREEN Program commends each member of the IFDC party for the inspiring plans that you have for Agenda 2030. We hope that the remaining 16 parties are moved by your actions and join us on the global fight for a sustainable future – for the environment, for the human species, for our planet. The time is now.
*all stats from Carbon Brief's Paris climate tracker
The GREEN Program (TGP) serves to bridge the gap between traditional textbook learning and career development for positive change through our short-term, accredited, experiential education programs abroad. With the launch of the SDGs, we are fusing the UN’s 17 Global Goals framework with The GREEN Program’s model to continue exposing students to sustainability challenges and initiatives around the world. Check them out at: thegreenprogram.com/.