PBL research supports Katowice Climate Conference (COP24)

The UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice (COP24) is the next step for governments to implement the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency contributes to this process with several studies and reports on climate change that not only support policy-making but also expand the knowledge base.

Overview of PBL studies on COP24

The goals that were set in 2015 are currently in the process of being implemented; policy proposals, Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), concrete measures and implementation rules are being discussed and negotiated in Katowice. Key issues at COP 24, as compared to last year’s climate conference, are the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement (i.e. rulebook), finance, pre-2020 action, and the Talanoa Dialogue on enhancing ambition of the NDCs. Several PBL researchers are at the conference to help the decision-making process.

Here is an overview of PBL reports regarding COP24:

Nations must triple efforts to reach 2 °C target

Nations must triple efforts to reach 2°C target according to 2018 annual Emissions Gap report by UNEP. It is still possible to keep global warming below 2°C, but the technical feasibility of bridging the 1.5°C gap is dwindling. Researchers of PBL were among the leading and contributing authors of this study.

Consequences of scenarios that limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement

This PBL-JRC-IIASA report presents a set of scenarios that limit global warming to below 2 °C and 1.5 °C, by using either the full portfolio of reduction options, as represented in the IMAGE and POLES model, or by assuming an alternative strategy that would limit the use of bio-energy (in combination with carbon capture and storage). Under these scenarios, global emission reductions by 2050 will be between about 50% and 65% for the 2 °C target and 70% to 80% for 1.5 °C, compared to 1990 levels.

Stocktake tool hosted by PBL measures progress towards Paris goals

What are the implications of the implementation of national climate policies, and how do they add up to the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to keep global warming to well below 2 ˚C or even 1.5 ˚C? Are current investments and innovations aligned with long-term goals? PBL introduces the interactive ‘Global stocktake tool’, designed to measure progress towards the climate goals formulated in the Paris Agreement.

Growth in global greenhouse gas emissions resumed in 2017

In 2017, the warmest year on record of years without the occurrence of El Niño, and a year with normal global economic growth, the increase  in global greenhouse gas emissions resumed at a rate of 1.3% per year, reaching 50.9 gigatonnes in CO2 equivalent. This was mainly due to emissions of CO2 and methane (CH4), which increased by 1.2%, after two years of almost no growth. With a share of about 73% for CO2 and 18% for methane, these emissions form the lion’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding those from land-use change).

PBL Climate Pledge NDC tool

The PBL Climate Pledge NDC tool addresses the following three key questions:

  • What are the countries’ emissions projections for the NDCs/INDCs for 2030?
  • Will the projected aggregated impact of the fully implemented NDCs/INDCs on global emissions, for 2030, be sufficient to achieve the target of staying well below 2 °C / 1.5 °C?
  • Are countries on track to meet their 2020 pledges and NDCs/INDCs for the period up to 2030?

To address these questions, the tool shows the projected impact of the emission reduction proposals (2020 pledges or NDCs/INDCs) and current policies, per country and globally, on greenhouse gas emission, up to 2030. This tool analyses the mitigation components of the NDCs/INDCs of 114 of the 189 Parties.

Global and Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions Neutrality

This report gives an overview of the literature on greenhouse gas emissions neutrality, as targeted in the Paris Agreement to achieve a ‘balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removal by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century’. It presents additional scenario analysis, focusing on the global and regional decarbonisation implications of phasing out greenhouse gas emissions, as seen in 2 °C scenarios. It further explores the implications of these scenarios for changes in land use.

Two-thirds of major emitting countries still not on track to reach Paris climate proposals

This 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 (GHG) emissions in 25 major emitting countries/regions up to 2030, taking into account the emission trajectories based on current policies and the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The report concludes that 16 out of the 25 countries and regions analysed are not on track to achieve the NDC targets they have set for themselves.

Opportunities in G20 Countries for Long-term, Low-emission Pathways (COMMIT-project)

These country fact sheets present research findings on national long-term, low-emission pathways along the three Talanoa Dialogue questions: where are we, where do we want to go, and how do we get there? The results highlight opportunities for enhancing ambition levels and present success stories, and particularly address country-specific topics, as these play a key role in developing low-carbon pathways. These topics include sustainable intensification of agriculture (Brazil), oil sands (Canada), the role of hydrogen and clean natural gas (EU), and the role of nuclear power (Japan). For Brazil, for example, opportunities regarding AFOLU and non-CO2 mitigation could reduce pressure on productive sectors. In Japan, achieving the NDC with a limited deployment of nuclear power could be more challenging, but would also promote new business opportunities.

Opportunities for Enhanced Action to Keep Paris Goals within Reach

This policy brief presents new research findings related to the three Talanoa questions: where are we, where do we want to go, and how do we get there? It shows projected emission levels under current policies and NDCs, and resulting implementation and ambition gaps to achieving the Paris Agreement's long-term goals. It identifies opportunities for ratcheting up ambition, highlighting success stories and stressing the need to integrate climate policies with broader sustainable development policies. It shows that a shift in investment patterns is needed, from fossil to low-carbon energy and energy-efficiency investments. The low-carbon and energy-efficiency-investment gap in 2030 is projected to be USD 130 billion per year for NDCs, USD 300 billion per year for the 2 °C target, and USD 460 billion per year for the 1.5 °C target, compared to current policies.

Are the G20 economies making enough progress to meet their NDC targets?

Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to a variety of climate actions, including post-2020 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. This study compares projected GHG emissions in the G20 economies under current climate policies to those under the GHG targets outlined in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). It is based on an assessment of official governmental estimates and independent national and global studies.

Global climate action of cities, regions and businesses

Action by cities, states, regions and business can go a long way towards meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, but their actions alone are not enough to hold global temperature increase to well-below 2°C and work towards limiting it to 1.5° C.


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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.

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