Saturday 12 December 2015 saw the world reach a historic agreement in Paris, with nearly 200 countries uniting to tackle climate change.

World leaders signed an agreement at the culmination of the Paris climate talks that commits nations to taking action on climate change. The deal, signed by 196 parties, agrees to keep average global temperatures “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”. The agreement also outlines a goal to limit this rise to 1.5°C.

The question remains, however, whether this is achievable. The following chart from Reuters suggests that without significant change, it is a long way off.

1512B25-global emissions gap

As the chart highlights, current pledges are not enough to reduce emissions to levels they need to be at to limit temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial levels. If we are to meet the Paris agreement’s more ambitious objective – to limit the rise to 1.5°C – the gap becomes even bigger.

In order to prevent significant global temperature increases, emissions would need to return to around 1990 levels. As the difference between current policy and pledges shows, this target is some way off.

However, with renewed pledges and commitment as a result of the Paris climate talks, hope is far from lost. Data published in the journal Nature, has even suggested that CO2 emissions could decline slightly this year.

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Author: Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content. 

Image: A chimney in an industrial area of Sydney. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne