The Truth Behind the Climate Pledges

About this report

The climate pledges under the Paris Agreement represent the first collective effort by all countries to address climate change –the single biggest global threat to our way of life, as well as a major risk to our global environment and the loss of biodiversity.

To achieve the Paris Agreement’s more ambitious goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels requires reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally by 50 percent by 2030.

This report presents a different approach to the analysis of the climate pledges. It ranks the countries’ commitment to reducing GHG emissions and identifies weaknesses in the voluntary pledges.

It focuses on both the adequacy of the pledges to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally by 50 percent by 2030, and whether these pledges are likely to be implemented.

The analysis of the climate pledges addresses the top four emitters, which combined account for more than half of global GHG emissions, as well as on the remaining 152 pledges and those countries that have not yet submitted their pledges.

All countries need to reduce their GHG emissions in the next decade to meet the Paris Agreement targets. This analysis acknowledges the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, embedded in the Climate Change Convention, but does not try to address it. The analysis also recognizes that historical emissions and current emissions per person vary widely, and that many developing countries lack the financial capability to reduce emissions, as well as the technological and institutional capacity.

Data from various sources other than solely the pledges were used, such as the official reports from the countries to the Climate Change Convention (e.g.: Biennial Update Reports and National Communications) and global datasets from the International Energy Agency, the Global Carbon Project, the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research – European Commission Joint Research Center and the Global Energy Monitor’s Global Coal Plant Tracker.

Comprehensive analysis of the climate pledges has been done by climate scientists and scientific organizations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Reports. These assessments share a common conclusion –the initial commitments by governments are an important first step, but will not be enough to reduce global emissions within the next decade, and thus, halt the increase in global temperature which is driving the climate to change.

However, not much has changed yet.

Global emissions are still increasing. As a result, climate change is happening much faster than our efforts to address it.

It is our intention that the information in this report add to the knowledge base and promote an outcry for increased climate action from citizens globally and spark climate leadership from governments, business leaders as well as from individuals.

November, 2019

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