Stronger climate change targets, promised by some of the world’s most polluting countries, have cut projected levels of warming to 2.4˚C by the end of the century, researchers say.
US President Biden recently brought together 40 world leaders at a virtual climate summit after four years of climate skepticism from the Donald Trump administration.
At the summit, Biden announced a new goal to reduce US greenhouse gas pollution by at least half by 2030.
This pledge, combined with others made by the US, EU countries, China and Japan, reduced projected warming by 0.2 ° C at the end of the century to less than previous estimates, 2.4 ° C above the pre-industrial level, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has said.
While this is still above the 2.0˚C limit agreed as the maximum in the 2015 Paris Agreement, the tracker’s ‘optimistic scenario’ now falls in line with that target. This scenario assumes full implementation of all net zero targets.
While the number of countries adopting or considering zero-point targets has risen to 131 countries, which account for 73 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,
they are the updated Paris Agreement targets for 2030, rather than the others countries that contribute most to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. expected warming compared to the CAT’s 2.1˚C “optimistic scenario” in the December update.
“It is clear that the Paris Agreement is driving change and pushing governments to adopt stronger targets, but there is still a way to go, especially given that most governments do not yet have policies in place to deliver on their commitments”, said Bill Hare. CEO of Climate Analytics, one of the CAT partner organizations.
“Our estimate of warming based on current policies is 2.9˚C – still nearly double what it should be, and governments need to urgently step up their action.”
The largest contributors to the decline in projected warming are the US, the EU27, China and Japan, although China and Japan have not yet formally submitted a new 2030 target to the UN. Canada announced a new target;
South Africa has a higher target in public consultation; Argentina has announced a further strengthening of the target it submitted last December, and the UK has announced a stronger 2035 target.
While the leaders of India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey all spoke at the US summit, none of them announced stronger goals. “The wave to net zero greenhouse gas emissions cannot be stopped.
Long-term intentions are good. But only if all governments switch in emergency situations and propose and implement more action in the short term, can global emissions still be cut in half over the next 10 years, as required by the Paris Agreement, ”said Niklas Höhne of New Climate Institute, second. CAT partner.
While the renewable electricity and electric vehicle sectors are promising, and the technology is there, the development of new technologies for industry and construction has been moving too slowly, CAT said.
In contrast to the Paris Agreement, some governments’ ongoing plans to build new infrastructure, such as new coal-fired power plants, an increasing uptake of natural gas as an electricity source, and a trend towards larger, less efficient passenger cars in some countries.