Half of major emitting countries still not on track to reach Paris climate proposals

In the Paris Climate Agreement, which went into effect on 4 November 2016, countries promised to implement policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. A report by NewClimate Institute, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) provides an overview of projected greenhouse gas emissions in 25 major emitting countries up to 2030, based on currently implemented climate policies and the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The report concludes that 12 out of the 25 countries and regions analysed are still not on track to achieve the NDC targets they have set for themselves. This report updates the 2018 report.

For the first time, this report also presents key indicators, next to greenhouse gas emissions projections.

More countries on track to achieve targets set in NDCs

The 2019 update takes into account policy developments since the 2018 report and latest historical greenhouse gas emissions data. This year’s update shows that of the 25 countries studied here, 12 are roughly on track to achieve their self-determined unconditional 2025 and/or 2030 targets with implemented policies; five more than in our 2018 report. These include Argentina (new in this category, compared to our 2018 report), Chile (new), China, Colombia, EU28 (new), India, Japan (new), Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa (new), Turkey, and Ukraine. For Mexico, the achievement of 2030 targets was found to be uncertain with implemented policies.

The other 12 (Australia, Brazil, Canada, D.R. Congo, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Republic of Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and the USA) would require additional measures to achieve their 2025/2030 targets.

It should be noted that a country likely to meet its targets not necessarily is undertaking more stringent action on mitigation than a country that is not on track, as this depends on the ambition level of the nationally determined target, and because countries have different policy-making approaches.

Progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions also varies

Currently implemented policies are projected to influence greenhouse gas emissions, but do not prevent emissions from increasing up to 2030 (above 2010 levels). This is the case not only in developing countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, DRC, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, the Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Thailand) but also in OECD countries (Chile, Mexico, Republic of Korea, and Turkey) up to 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

Greenhouse gas emissions in the remaining seven countries are projected to remain stable, approximately at current levels, or to decrease further, under current policies.

Changes since the Paris Agreement was adopted

The report also assessed how countries’ current policies scenario projections have changed since 2015, when the Paris Agreement was adopted. The comparison with our 2015 report, which covered thirteen countries, shows that seven countries (Australia, Canada, China, EU28, Japan, Turkey, and the USA) show lower emissions projections for 2030; for the remaining six countries (Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation) the projections were either similar or even higher.

Strengthened effort is urgently needed to stay well below 2 °C

Even if all the countries’ targets would be fully met, the combined mitigation impact would fall far short of what is required to limit global warming to well below 2 °C and possibly 1.5 °C — the climate targets set in the Paris Agreement. Previous studies have shown that, even with full implementation of all the plans countries submitted in this agreement, a global ‘emissions gap’ remains.

The report shows that per capita GHG emissions under current policies would still be approximately 15 tCO2e/capita or more by 2030 in six G20 members (Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, and the USA), which is more than double the global average in 2015. However, renewable electricity shares are projected to increase until 2030, and GHG emissions intensity of GDP is projected to decrease for most G20 members.


About the topic:

Energy and Climate Change

We report on the progress made with regard to the climate and energy transition, analysing the current and future impact of policy on greenhouse gas emission reduction and exploring various options for achieving the reduction targets.

More about energy and climate change