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G20 off track to meet COP26 1.5°C commitment

With less than 6 months to go until COP27, major economies are failing to deliver renewed emission pledges

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Smokestacks fill the skyline in Guangzhou, China. This power plant is at the border of Guangdong Province. Photo by Charlie Tan on flickr.
Smokestacks fill the skyline in Guangzhou, China. This power plant is at the border of Guangdong Province. Photo by Charlie Tan on flickr.

G20 nations have so far failed to make new enhanced emission reduction pledges to keep the world on track to meeting the UN’s 1.5°C global warming target this year, new analysis finds.

The major economies in the group have a key role in keeping the world on track to restrict warming to 1.5°C, responsible as they are for around 75% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

At the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last November, all countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their 2030 climate targets (their nationally determined contributions – NDCs – under the Paris Agreement) this year. Yet so far, none of the G20 have meaningfully done so; neither have the hosts of COP27, Egypt, and the Presidency of COP28 in 2023, the UAE.

The geopolitical context has changed considerably since COP26, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Many nations are looking to speed up decarbonisation to end their reliance on fossil fuels and therefore cut off finance flows into Russia.

The European Union’s proposals for doing this show the significant scope this could provide for enhanced ambition in those nations’ NDCs, highlighting a potential win-win for bolstering nations’ energy security, and accelerating measures to tackle climate change. And as fossil fuel prices rise, renewable costs fall, and deployment of renewable capacity accelerates, the economic benefits of investing in climate solutions become ever clearer.

The report, Keeping 1.5°C alive: the G20+ gap to close this year, by authors at the World Resources Institute, E3G and the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) shows:

  • Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico submitted 2030 climate targets that did nothing to limit their emissions. Enhancing their 2030 emissions targets to align with a 1.5°C pathway is an urgent priority for this group of countries if we are to keep 1.5° within reach.
  • Egypt, India and Turkey have not yet submitted any new or updated NDCs at all, and should put forward enhanced NDCs before COP27 – India, in particular, can include the bold commitments made at COP26 to deliver half their energy from renewables by 2030 and hit net zero by 2070.
  • China, Russia and Saudi Arabia submitted enhanced 2030 climate targets that were an improvement compared to their previous NDCs, but there is still considerable scope to improve their commitments this year beyond their current policies.
  • The remaining G20 countries and the UAE can still improve their 2030 climate targets this year, including through more ambitious targets for methane or key emitting sectors. Most notably, they are not on track to deliver their existing targets that were enhanced last year, and will need to deliver new plans and policies immediately to turn their promises into action.

This report builds on publicly available data and analyses, providing an overview of major emitting countries and upcoming COP presidency countries’ national climate commitments, an assessment of their climate mitigation ambition and implementation efforts, and highlights opportunities for them to step up and raise their ambition in line with 1.5°C ahead of COP27.

Read the report in full.

Quotes

Gareth Redmond-King, International Lead at ECIU, said:

“As the IPCC, the Energy Transitions Commission, International Energy Agency and many others have pointed out time and time again, we have the solutions we need to act in time to keep temperature rises to 1.5°C. We know how and where they can have greatest impact. And what is more, as fossil fuel prices soar and renewables costs fall, we know that it is definitively cheaper and in the economic interests of every G20 nation to invest in these solutions.

 

“Now, as the world confronts a plethora of interconnected crises, and as nations scramble to end their reliance on Russian fossil fuels, we have less than half the year left to make progress ahead of COP27. This is as clear a to-do list as could be for G20 leaders and upcoming COP presidents – for averting the worst impacts of climate change, but also for helping ensure every nation’s national security.”

Tom Evans, Researcher in E3G’s Geopolitics, Climate Diplomacy and Security programme, said:

“None of the G20 are doing enough to keep hopes of limiting warming to 1.5°C alive – either their targets are too weak, or they’re off track for delivering them. So far this year they seem to have completely forgotten the promise to strengthen their 2030 climate targets they made at COP26 just 6 months ago.

“The G20 will determine the fate of this planet. It is their choice to either take responsibility, stick to their word and come forward with ambitious new climate targets at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt; or to break their pledges, turn up empty handed, and push us closer to tipping over the 1.5°C safety threshold.”

Jamal Srouji, Associate, World Resources Institute, said:

“The latest IPCC report reveals that holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C is still possible – but it will require rapid, far-reaching transformations across every key emitting sector. G20 countries, a group responsible for the vast majority of global emissions, have a major opportunity to improve their 2030 climate targets this year, including by setting more ambitious targets for methane and key emitting sectors as well as deliver the necessary policies and investments to turn these commitments into action.

 

“The tools and solutions to do so are at our fingertips – G20 leaders just need to wield them.”

Notes to editors

The report, Keeping 1.5°C alive: the G20 gap to close this year, is attached to this email. It covers the G20, a group accounting for around 75% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, along with host countries of COP27 and COP28: Egypt and the United Arab Emirates respectively.

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email: george.smeeton@eciu.net

Tom Evans, Policy Advisor, E3G, Tel: +44 7931 317 327, email: tom.evans@e3g.org

Deirdre Cogan, Communications Manager, WRI, email: Deirdre.Cogan@wri.org

About

E3G is an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action: https://www.e3g.org/

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit is a non-profit organisation supporting informed debate on energy and climate change issues in the UK. For more information or to receive our daily newsletter, please visit our website: http://eciu.net/

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