G20 countries not in line with the Paris Climate Agreement

None of the world's major economies, including the entire G20, have a climate plan that meets their obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement, despite scientists' warning that deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are needed now, an analysis published on Wednesday stated.

The watchdog Climate Action Tracker (CAT) analysed the policies of 36 countries, as well as the 27-nation EU, and found that all major economies were off track to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The countries together make up 80% of the world's emissions. The analysis also included some low-emissions countries, and found that the Gambia was the only nation among all 37 to be "1.5 compatible." As the study only included a few smaller emitters, it's possible there are other developing countries in the world on track as well. 

Under the 2015 Paris accord, more than 190 countries agreed to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. Scientists have said 2 degrees is a critical threshold for some of the Earth's ecosystems, and is one that would also trigger more catastrophic extreme weather events. The report comes less than two months ahead of UN-brokered 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 global warming limit.

CAT reported that progress had stalled after dozens of world leaders made ambitious new pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions during the US President Joe Biden's Climate Leaders' Summit in April. "In May, after the Climate Leaders' Summit and the Petersburg dialogue, we reported that there appeared to be good momentum with new climate action commitments," said Niklas Höhne, a founding partner of the NewClimate Institute, a CAT partner. "But since then, there has been little to no improvement: nothing is moving," he said. "Anyone would think they have all the time in the world, when in fact the opposite is the case."

Six countries, including the UK, have an overall climate policy that is "nearly sufficient," according to the report, meaning they are not yet consistent with 1.5-degree alignment but could be with small improvements. The UK's targets are in line with 1.5 degrees, but its policies in practice don't meet the benchmark.

The overall climate plans of the US, the EU and Japan are not sufficient to reach the 1.5-degree goal, the analysis found, saying that while their domestic targets are relatively close to where they need to be, their international policies are not.

More on this subject: Climate crisis

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