Government climate action would see warming well beyond 2˚C - Climate Action Tracker

Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has assessed 15 of the 29 INDCs submitted to the UNFCCC so far, accounting for almost 65% of global emissions, and has identified a large emission gap. The climate targets collectively lead to global emissions far beyond levels required to hold warming to below 2°C. CAT has also found that current climate policies are insufficient to limit emissions even to be in line with the already inadequate INDCs.

Date2015, September 02
Emissions levels until 2030 under current policy projections and submitted INDCs compared with least-cost 1.5° and 2°C consistent pathways. The emissions gap ranges only reflect the uncertainty in the pledges and INDCs scenario. 2°C consistent median and range: Greater than 66% chance of staying within 2°C in 2100. 1.5°C consistent median and range: Greater than or equal to 50% chance of being below 1.5°C in 2100. Both temperature paths show the median and 10th to 90th percentile range. Pathway ranges exclude delayed action scenarios and any that deviate more than 5% from historic emissions in 2010.
 

Bonn, 2 September 2015 – The climate targets so far submitted to the UN by governments collectively lead to global emissions far above the levels needed to hold warming to below 2°C, the Climate Action Tracker said today.

The analysis was released today in Bonn where Governments are meeting for the second to last week of negotiations ahead of Paris.

Around 65% of global emissions are covered by the “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs) submitted by 29 Governments as of 1 September 2015. The CAT has assessed 15 of these INDCs, covering 64.5% of global emissions, and has rated seven as “inadequate,” six “medium” and only two as “sufficient” (see notes below).

The CAT analysis shows that in order to hold global warming below 2˚C, governments need to significantly strengthen the INDCs they have submitted to date: they need to collectively reduce global emissions by a further 12-15 GtCO2e by 2025, and 17-21 GtCO2e by 2030.

The projected emissions pathway from the combined INDCs also show a very different situation in 2025 than in 2030. If the current 2030 INDCs are locked in, holding warming below 2˚C would become almost infeasible, as CO2 emission reduction rates would need to exceed 5% a year after 2030, and would make holding warming below 1.5˚C almost impossible.

“It is clear that if the Paris meeting locks in present climate commitments for 2030, holding warming below 2˚C could essentially become infeasible, and 1.5˚C beyond reach. Given the present level of pledged climate action, commitments should only be made until 2025,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “The INDCs therefore need to be considerably strengthened for the period 2020-2025.”
There has been little change in projected aggregate emissions under INDCs since the CAT projected warming of 2.9-3.1˚C in Lima in December 2014, despite the number of INDCs having been submitted this year. The CAT Lima projection included the draft INDCs of the US, the EU and China, which together account for 51% of global emissions. The additional INDCs only cover another 15% of global emissions.

“One would have expected all the new Government climate targets combined to put the world on a lower emissions pathway, but they haven’t. One contributing factor is the fact that Russia, Canada, and New Zealand’s INDCs are inconsistent with their stated long term (2050) goals,” said Louise Jeffery of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The CAT also found that, in most cases, the policies governments have in place now would not reduce emissions enough to match their INDCs for 2025. The exceptions are China and the EU, who would have to implement minimal extra policies to meet their targets, and could exceed them.

“With current policies being insufficient to limit emissions even to the INDC levels by 2025, it is clear that ramping up greater policy action needs to be encouraged as part of the Paris Agreement,” said Professor Kornelis Blok of Ecofys.

“Most governments that have already submitted an INDC need to review their targets in light of the global goal and, in most cases, will need to strengthen them. Those still working on their targets need to ensure they aim as high as possible,” said Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.
The next ten highest emitters yet to submit INDCs are India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Pakistan, together accounting for 18% of remaining global emissions not yet covered by INDCs (excluding LULUCF).

Notes

Seven submitted INDCs are inadequate; Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and Russia’s INDCs are not considered to be a fair contribution to limiting warming to 2°C – from almost any perspective

Six submitted INDCs are medium, which is within the upper and least ambitious end of what could be considered as fair and if all countries put forward a similar level of ambition, warming would exceed 2°C. China, the EU, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland and the US INDCs are consistent with 2°C according to some perspectives on their fair-share contribution, but they still rely on others to have more ambitious targets in order for the world to hold warming to 2˚C.

Two submitted INDCs are sufficient; only two of the countries assessed by the CAT – Ethiopia and Morocco – have so far put forward an INDC that is in line with 2°C.

Gabon was also assessed, but not rated.

Read the full briefing here.

The Climate Action Tracker is an independent, science-based assessment that tracks government action on climate, meaasuring it against the globally-agreed warming limit of 2˚C. he emission reduction commitments and actions of countries. It is a joint project of Climate Analytics, Ecofys, NewClimate Institute and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).