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Climate change: No single G20 country complies with Paris Agreement, analysis shows

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The Climate Action Oversight Board (CAT) analyzed the policies of 36 countries, as well as the 27-nation European Union, and found that not all major economies were on track to control global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-levels. industrial. Countries together account for 80% of the world’s emissions.

The analysis also included some low-emission countries and found that the Gambia was the only nation among the 37 countries that was “1.5 compatible”. Since the study included only a few smaller emitters, it is possible that there are other developing countries in the world also on track.

Under the 2015 Paris agreement, more than 190 countries agreed to limit the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures — ideally to 1.5 degrees. Scientists have said that 2 degrees is a critical threshold for some of the Earth’s ecosystems, and is the one that would also cause the most catastrophic extreme weather events.

The report comes less than two months before UN-mediated international climate talks in Glasgow, known as COP26. The event’s president, British MP Alok Sharma, has said he hopes to “keep 1.5 alive” as a frontier of global warming.

The CAT reported that progress had stalled as dozens of world leaders made ambitious new promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under US President Joe Biden Climate Leaders Summit in Aprill.

“In May, following the Climate Leaders Summit and dialogue in Petersburg, we reported that there seemed to be a good momentum with new climate action commitments,” said Niklas Hhne, a founding partner at the NewClimate Institute, a CAT partner.

“But since then, there has been little or no improvement: nothing is moving,” he said. Everyone would think he had it all the time in the world, when in fact the opposite happens. “

Six countries, including the UK, have an overall climate policy that is “almost sufficient”, according to the report, meaning that they are not yet in line with the 1.5 degree approximation, but may be slightly improved. . The UK’s targets are in line with 1.5 degrees, but its policies in practice do not meet the standards.

General US Climate Plans, European Union and Japan are not enough to reach the 1.5 degree target, the analysis found, while while their domestic targets are relatively close to where they should be, their international policies are not.

The CAT had previously categorized the US as “critically inadequate” – the worst category – under former President Donald Trump, who formally withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement shortly before the end of his term.

The U.S. domestic target for emissions reductions has improved to “almost sufficient.” However, the US is still insufficient in the CAT’s intended assessment of the “right part”, which takes into account the “responsibility and ability” of the country.

A pile of coal at Newcastle Harbor in New South Wales, Australia, on October 12, 2020.

Under the Paris agreement, countries delivered on their promises to reduce emissions, also known as Nationally Defined Contributions, or NDCs. All signatories were required to update their NDCs by 31 July this year under the Paris Agreement. There are still more than 70 sites that have not yet submitted an update.

India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are among the countries that missed the July 31 deadline. China, the world’s biggest polluter, announced a new target but has not formally presented it to the UN.

And many countries introduced an “update” without actually raising their promise. Brazil and Mexico presented the same targets as in 2015. Changes in the basic assumptions of those countries make their promises weaker than they were before, the analysis showed. Russia, the CAT report said, presented an update that looks stronger on paper but does not constitute a significant change.

Australia is emerging to be the villain of the COP26 climate talks
“They are especially concerned Australia, Brazil, Indonesia Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam: they have not managed to give up their ambitions at all, presenting the same or even less ambitious 2030 targets than they set in 2015. These countries they have to rethink their choice, “said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, another CAT partner.

The continued use of coal remains a significant political problem, according to the report, with China and India holding large coal pipelines. Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea are also planning to continue using coal in the future.

The CAT also warned that in many countries’ efforts to remove coal, which is generally the fossil fuel that causes the most emissions, many countries were looking to use more natural gas, which the CAT said was being sold falsely. as a “bridge fuel”.

The Australian government, which has said it will maintain coal mining beyond 2030, is investing money in new gas exploration and infrastructure and “is of particular concern,” the CAT said in its report.

Green hydrogen could be the fuel of the future.  That's why it's not a silver bullet yet

Thailand plans to increase new gas as it phases out coal, while the EU is still planning to commit public funds to new gas infrastructure, and various member states are lobbying hard for continued use of this fossil fuel .

Hare warned against the development of blue hydrogen, based on natural gas, as an alternative to other fossil fuels.

“Gas is a fossil fuel, and any investment in gas today risks becoming a blocked asset. And while interest in green hydrogen has grown exponentially, there are still a large number of hydrogen projects in the pipeline where it is produced by gas, “said Hare Me.” Hydrogen produced from gas still produces carbon, and is at odds with achieving net zero. “

Zero zero by 2050

Emission reductions are a non-negotiable part of the Paris Agreement. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases block solar radiation in the atmosphere, just as glass blocks heat in a greenhouse. This causes temperatures to rise and promotes more extreme weather, melting ice, rising sea levels and acidifying the ocean.

To keep warming below 1.5 degrees, the world must reach net zero by 2050, according to a landmark UN climate science report published in August.

Net zero refers to a condition where the amount of greenhouse gas emitted is not greater than the amount removed from the atmosphere.

A traffic jam on the M25 motorway in Godstone, England, after climate activists blocked a slippery slope to push the UK government to pass laws on stronger emissions cuts on 13 September 2021.

According to the UN Climate Change, just over 130 countries have pledged to reduce emissions to zero so far. New analysis by CAT revealed that even if all of them followed their plans, the heat would again reach 2 degrees.

If they adhere to the policies they have set, temperatures are likely to be 2.4 degrees higher by the end of the century.

Temperatures are now about 1.2 degrees higher than they were before humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels, so room for error is very limitedwith

“A growing number of people around the world are suffering from the increasingly severe and frequent impacts of climate change, yet government action continues to lag behind what is needed,” said Bill Hare, CEO of analytics group Climate Analytics and another author of analysis

While many governments are committed to net zero, Hare said without real action soon, achieving net zero would be “virtually impossible”.

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