From NDCs to finance, major emitters lack ambition in tackling climate crisis, says report

Emissions reduction goals far from enough to limit warming to 1.5 degrees

Major global greenhouse gas emitters are not increasing their reduction targets enough to prevent global warming, finds new report. Martin Sepion, Unsplash.
20 September 2021
20 September 2021

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The COP 26 in Glasgow is quickly approaching, yet global action to mitigate climate change remains far from sufficient, according to a recent report.

Almost every country analyzed by Climate Action Tracker, which measures countries’ climate actions toward Paris Agreement targets, falls short in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and policies. It highlights 2030 as a key deadline when global emissions must be cut by 50 percent in order for the world to remain within 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Every developed country also falls short of its commitment to provide developing countries – which have historically contributed little to the current climate crisis – with the financial support needed to mitigate climate change.

Courtesy of Climate Action Tracker

Here are some key findings revealed by the report:

  • The NDC updates submitted by countries in 2020 and 2021 have only narrowed the gap needed to keep warming under 1.5 degrees C by 4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – or up to 15 percent.
  • Some countries – Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam – have submitted updated NDCs that maintain the same or present even less ambitious targets than they did in 2015. Over 70 countries have yet to submit updated NDCs.
  • Only The Gambia has government targets and actions that are consistent in keeping within 1.5 degrees of global heating, according to the new Climate Action Tracker rating system used in the report.
  • While still insufficient, some countries have significantly ramped up their targets and policies: the U.S., E.U. and Germany.
  • With the current level of global action, global emissions are estimated to stay roughly the same by 2030, with greenhouse gas emissions ending up double the 1.5-degree threshold.
  • Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Thailand are deemed to have “critically insufficient” plans. If all governments were to adopt this approach, the world would heat up by more than 4 degrees Celsius.
  • Only Chile, Costa Rica and the E.U. have net-zero emissions targets that are considered “acceptable” regarding their scope, legal architecture and transparency. Other net-zero plans remain insufficient in these aspects or lack information.
Courtesy of Climate Action Tracker

The report also pinpoints other challenges toward achieving the Paris Agreement. Reliance on coal remains a major issue in Asia, and many other countries trying to limit coal are switching to natural gas, even though it too is a fossil fuel.

While the E.U. has set an ambitious target of reducing its emissions 55 percent by 2030, it remains reliant on member countries to implement this goal.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., President Biden’s climate proposals would be a major step in reducing emissions by the world’s second largest carbon emitter, but it is uncertain whether this legislation can pass its divided Congress.

Governments far from slashing emissions in half by 2030 to achieve 1.5-degree warming limit
Courtesy of Climate Action Tracker

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