Each of the world’s major economies, including all of the countries that make up the G20, are failing to meet commitments made in the landmark Paris agreement to avert climate catastrophe, according to a damning new analysis.
Less than two months before crucial UN climate talks took place in Scotland, none of the biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries made enough plans to cut pollution to meet what is required. ‘they agreed in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
This means the world is heading for calamitous climate impacts.
As part of the Paris agreement, countries pledged to prevent the global average temperature from rising 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial times to avoid catastrophic heat waves, flooding , storms, drought and other consequences that are already beginning to occur. But the new analysis, carried out by Climate Action Tracker, reveals that almost all countries are woefully falling short of that commitment.
The climate commitments made by Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia are “critically insufficient”, according to the analysis, while Australia, Brazil, Canada, China and India are among those judged “Highly insufficient”.
The United States, the European Union bloc, Germany and Japan are classified as “insufficient”, while the United Kingdom, the host of the next climate summit, is “almost sufficient”.
Of the 36 countries, plus the EU, ranked by the Climate Action Tracker, only The Gambia has made commitments in line with the Paris 1.5C target. Together, these countries account for 80% of global emissions.
Governments are expected to periodically improve their emission reduction targets in order to deliver on promises made in Paris, but progress has “stalled” this year, the researchers said.
There was “good momentum” in May after a climate summit hosted at the White House by US President Joe Biden, according to Niklas Höhne, a researcher at the NewClimate Institute, a partner organization in the Climate Action Tracker analysis.
“But since then there has been little to no improvement – nothing is changing,” he said. “Governments have now reduced the gap to 15%, a small improvement since May.
“Anyone would think they have all the time in the world, when in fact it’s the opposite,” he added.
This intransigence comes despite looming climate talks and growing signs of the climate crisis manifested in catastrophic weather events, including massive flooding in Germany and China, severe wildfires in the United States, and dangerous waves of climate change. heat sweeping through several countries.
A survey conducted by Pew on Tuesday of 16,000 people in North America, Europe and Asia found that 72% feared climate change would harm them personally at some point.
In August, a landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on climatology, found that the burning of fossil fuels is changing Earth’s climate in “unprecedented” ways and that rapid reductions in greenhouse gases are needed to avoid climate degradation.
António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said the report should act as “a code red for humanity”.
But the Climate Action Tracker found a lack of urgency on the part of all major emitters, such as China, India and the United States, to respond to this threat.
Even countries with strong climate goals are not on track to meet them, while international funding for the poorest countries to help tackle the climate crisis is insufficient. If current practices continue, the world is on track for nearly 3 ° C warming.
According to the analysis, the governments of Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia are “of particular concern”, which have not raised the ambition of their emission reductions at all since 2015.
Coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, is still being developed on a large scale by India and China, according to the report, while gas infrastructure is being developed by Australia and the EU.
“A growing number of people around the world are suffering increasingly severe and frequent impacts of climate change, but government action is lagging behind what is needed,” said Bill Hare, Chief Executive Officer from Climate Analytics, another partner in the new study. .
“While many governments are committed to achieving net zero, without short-term action it is virtually impossible to achieve net zero. “
The analysis provides a sobering reality check ahead of the UN climate talks, which were pushed back from last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A coalition of 1,000 environmental groups has called for talks to be postponed again because delegates from the poorest countries still do not have access to vaccines against the coronavirus.
The call was rejected by the British government as well as by John Kerry, the US climate envoy, who said on Monday that a further delay would be a “huge, huge mistake”.
But Kerry risks entering the talks without a major climate victory to wield, with emission reduction provisions as part of Biden’s massive $ 3.5 billion legislative package, still a matter of contention, even among the Democrats in the US Congress.
Environmentalists have also attacked the Biden administration for recently leasing large areas of the western United States and the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
The leases “will make it even more difficult for America to meet its climate goals,” said Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the conservation group Center for Western Priorities.
“Vision is nothing without action. Unfortunately, the actions of the Biden administration to increase drilling on public lands are at odds with the president’s vision, ”she added.