Report: Nations falling short on collective efforts to meet Paris Agreement
Nations are adopting stronger climate targets in the build-up to COP26, but new research has revealed that current policies would still lead to global warming twice what it should be if the world is to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.
New analysis released today (4 May) by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), has found that a raft of new national climate targets looks set to bring down projected global warming by 0.2C by the end of the century. This has been delivered by updated national commitments to the Paris Agreement, but CAT warns that Paris-aligned pledges are now at 2.4C, above the 2C threshold of the global climate accord.
In recent weeks, the likes of the US, Canada, and Japan have unveiled new national climate targets, and the number of countries considering a net-zero target now sits at 131, which covers 73% of global emissions.
However, the analysis warns that most governments are yet to put policies in place to meet their targets, potentially putting the Paris Agreement out of sight. Even under CAT’s “optimistic scenario”, which assumes full implementation of all net-zero targets, global emissions would be limited to 2C. While the 2C target was introduced in 2015 through the Paris Agreement, many nations are in agreement that the world should be aiming for 1.5C, in the wake of the IPCC’s landmark 2018 report into the economic, social and environmental ramifications of both trajectories.
“It is clear the Paris Agreement is driving change, spurring governments into adopting stronger targets, but there is still some way to go, especially given that most governments don’t yet have policies in place to meet their pledges,” said Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Analytics, one of the CAT partner organisations.
“Our warming estimate from current policies is 2.9˚C – still nearly twice what it should be, and governments must urgently step up their action.”
According to CAT, new climate plans from the US, the EU27, China and Japan are responsible for shrinking the emissions gap. However, neither China or Japan are yet to formally submit a new 2030 target to the UNFCCC.
CAT notes that more than 40% of countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement have updated their Nationally determined contributions (NDCs). These countries represent half of global emissions and around one third of the population. CAT’s final calculations on the 2030 emissions gap between Paris pledges and a 1.5˚C pathway show it’s been narrowed by 11-14%.
Earlier this year, the UNFCCC warned that the world is falling “far short” of alignment with the Paris Agreement, despite the fact that many nations have updated their climate targets.
The assessment reveals that the emissions goals, collectively, will only put the world on course to produce 1% less greenhouse gases in 2030 than it did in 2010. In comparison, the reduction will need to be 25% to meet the Paris Agreement’s 2C trajectory and 45% to achieve alignment with 1.5C.
Back in December 2020, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published its latest emissions gap report.
The report revealed that the world is likely to be more than 3.2C warmer than in pre-industrial times by 2100 in a business-as-usual scenario. While it charted a reduction in emissions against lockdown restrictions, it warned that most governments do not yet have adequate plans to lock in the progress and accelerate decarbonisation in the coming decades.
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