G20 countries not really on track to realise 2030 emission reduction goals
“We are nowhere near solving the problem”, Satya Tripathi, UN Assistant Secretary-General told the press here on Tuesday as he presented UN Environment’s ninth annual Emissions Gap Report.
“Things will only get worse unless we see that (climate change) is a risk to everything we like and appreciate on this planet”. The report emerges five days before the start of the twoweek 196-nation UN climate change negotiations in Katowice, Poland and the day before the European Commission presents its proposals for a Union long-term low carbon development strategy to 2050.
Written by a team of leading scientists the report follows the dra- matically worded document issued on 8 October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change relating to the feasibility of limiting global warming to 1.5C above preindustrial level (the current level is already +1.1C) and the dire consequences of exceeding that level even just up to the +2c previously considered to be a safe limit. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015) commits its current 184 Contracting Parties to “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C .
The Emissions Gap report says that while it is still technically possible to achieve the +1.5C goal, this will no longer hold unless current greenhouse gas emission reduction goals for 2030 are significantly increased. If the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is very plausible that the goal of well-below 2°C temperature increase is also out of reach. While 2017 global emissions, reached a record high in 2017, by 2030 they need to be approximately 25 percent and 55 percent lower to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C respectively.
Accounting for 78 per cent of global emissions, the G20 nations – the world’s most advanced economies whose heads of state and government will conduct their annual summit on Friday and Saturday this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina - are not yet collectively on track to realise their 2030 emission reduc- tion goals announced in their Nationally Determined Contributions. Nor will their collective emissions have peaked by 2030 without a rapid increase in ambition and action within the next few years.
“Major gaps in coverage and stringency of domestic policies remain, including among G20 members,” the report says “in, for example, fossil fuel subsidy reduction, material efficiency measures in industry, oil and gas, methane, support schemes for renewables heating and cooling, emission standards for heavy-duy vehicles, and e-mobility programmes. Even in areas where policy coverage is high, stringency can be improved. For example, while all G20 countries have policies to support renewables in the electricity sector, stringency of these policies can still be enhanced.”
While the emission reduction potential from non-state and subnational action could ultimately be significant, the current impacts are extremely limited the report warns. “Not even 20 percent of the world population is represented in current national and international initiatives while many more of the over 500,000 publicly traded companies worldwide still can, and must, act”.
“A record of just over $74 billion of Green Bonds were issued in the first half of 2018, still only a very small fraction of global capital markets. The use of carbon pricing to reduce GHG emissions is still only emerging in many countries and generally not applied at a sufficient level to facilitate a real shift towards low-carbon societies.