G20 nations not on track to meet climate goals, says report

NEW DELHI: Despite commitments to bring down emissions and updated nationally determined climate goals, the Group of 20 developed and developing countries are not on track to meet the 1.5°C global warming limit set by the legally binding 2015 Paris climate treaty, said a report on Thursday.

Brought out by 16 research organisations and NGOs from 14 G20 member countries, the Climate Transparency Report said by September 2021, 13 G20 members had officially submitted updates to their NDCs (nationally determined contributions) with six setting more ambitious 2030 targets.

“The combined mitigation effect of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets assessed by April 2021 is not sufficient and will lead to warming of 2.4°C by the end of the century. This underlines the urgent need for G20 members to strengthen current climate policies and action and submit more ambitious 2030 targets that align with midcentury net zero targets,” the report said.

It said that by August 2021, 14 G20 members had announced net zero targets by mid-century, covering 61% of global GHG emissions. “If fully implemented, these targets would go a long way to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C,” the report said.

The report comes almost two weeks ahead of the UN’s Conference of Parties meeting in Glasgow in the UK. Leaders of about 200 countries are expected to meet between 31 October and 12 November to discuss climate action and submit their updated targets. 

In August, a report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had warned that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels “will be beyond reach” in the next two decades without immediate and large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK is the only country among the G20 with a domestic target that aligns with a 1.5°C modelled domestic pathway in 2030, the report said adding that most G20 countries fell into the “highly insufficient” or “insufficient category.”

India was one of countries in the “highly insufficient” category, the report said.

“After a short period of decline, due to the covid-19 pandemic, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are rebounding across the G20, with Argentina, China, India and Indonesia projected to exceed their 2019 emissions levels,” the report said.

“The Climate Action Tracker rates India’s climate policies and action as in line with 2°C warming when compared to its ‘fair-share’ contribution to climate action, but not the whole NDC. Its current target would increase emissions to 146-152% above 2005 levels, or approximately 4,802-4,686 MtCO2e (metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent), by 2030. To keep below the 1.5 ̊C temperature limit, analysis by the 1.5 ̊C National Pathway Explorer shows that India’s 2030 emissions would need to be around 1,603 MtCO2e (or 16% below 2005 levels), leaving an ambition gap of 3,199 MtCO2e. Closing the ambition gap for India will require financial support,” the report saidIndia has been urging developed countries to provide funds and technology to enable developing countries curb emissions. Asia’s third largest economy is seen as the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, behind China, the world’s largest emitter, and the US.

“India’s policies and action would result in overachieving its targets, but still only in line with 2°C warming when compared to its fair share contribution to climate action. For India to improve its rating, it needs to increase its unconditional NDC target to significantly reduce the speed of emissions growth. With international support, India also needs to set an ambitious conditional target to curb its expected growth in emissions from its dependence on fossil fuels, and begin the shift to a net zero economy,” the report said.

The report brought out some positive developments like the growth of solar and wind power generation among G20 members, with new records of installed capacities in 2020. The increase in the share of renewables in energy supply was projected to grow from 10% in 2020 to 12% in 2021.

Another issue the report highlighted was that despite the growth in renewables in G20 energy mix, the dependence on fossil fuels was not coming down.

“The consumption of coal is projected to rise by nearly 5% in 2021, while the consumption of gas has increased by 12% across the G20 from 2015-2020,” it report said. The dependence on coal for energy was mainly in China – the largest global producer and consumer of coal. But the US and India too were not far behind in their dependence on coal for electricity generation.

“Coal consumption is projected to rise by almost 5% in 2021, with this growth driven by China (accounting for 61% of the growth), the USA (18%) and India (17%),” it said.

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