Climate Change

G20 climate goals just won't do the job, claims new report

Latest Nationally Determined Contributions of 4 countries same or weaker than previous committments

By Avantika Goswami
Published: Tuesday 24 May 2022

None of the G20 countries have made climate commitments consistent with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as the Paris Agreement stipulates, data from a new report showed.  

Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) weaker than or on a par with previous versions, the report titled Keeping 1.5C Alive by the United States and the United Kingdom-based groups E3G and ECIU, and WRI, noted.

The report assessed the climate goals of the G20 countries, which are responsible for around 75 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The countries are signatories to the Paris Agreement, a global treaty that aims to halt global warming. 

Brazil’s revised NDC has actually worsened as they made changes to the baseline year, and the rate of deforestation in the country has accelerated, the report stated. Egypt, India and Turkey did not submit new NDCs. 

China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia require much higher ambition in their NDCs, while the remaining countries have updated their NDCs but need to implement them to achieve their stated targets, according to the report. 

UK came the closest to a 1.5C consistent target, the analysis found.

Source: Keeping 1.5C Alive report

It was decided at the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) that countries would “revisit and strengthen” their commitments in 2022. This means they have to establish more stringent goals to cut GHG emissions. 

This should be done ideally before the next summit, CoP 27, to be held in Egypt in November 2022. But the “geopolitical context has changed considerably since CoP26, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022”, the report observed. 

The evidence is all around. Combatting high energy and food prices, and securing energy security are now the focus, rather than decarbonisation and climate action. The European Union is attempting to wean itself off Russian natural gas, and US is desperate to fill the vacuum with exports of its liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

The climate goals of US are “all but dead” with President Joe Biden’s climate-focused spending proposal stalled in Congress, held hostage by Joe Manchin, a politician with personal profits linked to coal.

Meanwhile, China, the world’s largest coal consumer, has doubled down on its production of the polluting fuel, in the face of energy shortages. 

The new report calls India a “staller” since it is yet to submit its new NDC to the UNFCCC. In March 2022, India’s Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav clarified that this will be done before CoP 27, speaking at the Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2022 hosted by the Centre for Science and Environment, a Delhi-based non-profit. 

Inter-ministerial discussions are currently underway, he added. India announced new goals at CoP26 such as a 500 gigawatts non-fossil energy target and carbon emission reduction of one billion tonne. There is, however, a general agreement among civil society that all the announced targets may not make it into the final submission. 

These have been called the “boldest new commitments at CoP26” in the report.

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