What came out of COP26?

Prioritize commitments

National climate commitments at COP26 fail to meet Paris targets, according to analyzes

The world’s eight largest emitters account for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gases that humans spew into the atmosphere, and all of those countries are failing to meet their net-zero emissions commitments, climate scientists have warned.

A key goal of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, now in its second and final week, was to keep the global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels “to at hand “. The high-stakes summit was the first time nations would assess progress after signing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Importantly, countries were expected to arrive at COP26 with new carbon reduction targets for 2030 that would keep them on track to decarbonize by mid-century.

But with just a few days at the summit, concern is growing over the huge gap between what countries plan to do to slow emissions by 2030 and what is needed to keep warming within 1.5. degree.

The efforts of the most emitting countries – China, the United States, India, the European Union, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil and Japan – all range from “insufficient” to very or very insufficient, according to a new analysis from the Climate Action Tracker. A separate United Nations report released on November 9 concluded that even if formal climate commitments known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, were implemented, warming by the turn of the century could reach 2 , 7 degrees, well above the Paris targets.

“Not a single country has short-term policies in place to get on the right track towards its own goal of net zero,” said Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute, one of the organizations behind the Climate Action Tracker. “We would emit in 2030 double what we should emit if we want to [reach] 1.5 degrees. ”

A look at the commitments that the top seven emitting countries and the 27-country European Union made in the weeks and months leading up to COP26 makes it clear why the climate breakthrough many hoped for might not materialize.

Weak commitments, inconsistent policies

Indonesia and Brazil submitted the same NDC climate pledge ahead of COP26 as they did in 2015, although Brazil’s was effectively weakened, according to Climate Action Tracker analysis. Brazil, in its update, allowed an increase in its base year emissions that it uses as a baseline, which means that Brazil can continue to increase its emissions while meeting its targets.

Russia’s updated NDC did not show an increase in ambition, and the country’s net zero target for 2060 has not been officially adopted. India announced a long-awaited net zero goal on November 1, saying it would decarbonize its economy by 2070 – two decades later than what scientists believe is necessary to keep climate disruption manageable. India has yet to submit a new NDC.

China, also with a 2060 net zero target but a relatively detailed NDC, continues to invest in coal production, as does Indonesia. Japan has submitted an enhanced NDC that calls for a 46% reduction in emissions from 2013 levels by 2030, close to the 50% required to bring the country into line with the 1.5-degree target. But Japan’s plan to get another 19% of its electricity from coal-fired power plants in 2030 is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to the Climate Action Tracker analysis.

The 27 countries of the European Union adopted and funded its ambitious Green Deal this year, imposing a 55% reduction in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030. But many EU member states have stepped up to the plate. time to implement these policies, which means they might not achieve this goal. Climate Action Tracker rated the EU as “insufficient”.

The US NDC, meanwhile, hangs in the balance of Washington’s politics. It remains uncertain whether the Biden administration’s ambitious climate agenda will be fully implemented and whether the world’s second-largest emitter and largest producer of greenhouse gases per capita will deliver on its commitment to the Treaty of Paris.

Without real policies to back the announcements and promises, declaring progress at COP26 is premature, many researchers say. On November 4, the International Energy Agency caused a stir when it predicted that if all net zero commitments were implemented and countries met a global voluntary commitment on methane, global warming would be limited. at 1.8 ° C, approaching the Paris target.

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