Climate Action Tracker
September 1, 2015
Aggregate INDC emissions are far above levels consistent with below 2°C, with around 65% of global emissions covered
INDCs announced by 1 September 2015 lead to global emissions far above the levels needed by 2025 and 2030 to put the world on track to hold warming below 2°C, or to below 1.5°C, in 2100.
As of 1st September, 29 INDC submissions have been received, reflecting 56 countries (including the European Union member states), and covering around 65% of global emissions in 2010 (excluding LULUCF) and 43% of global population. The CAT has directly assessed 16 of these INDCs covering 64.5% of global emissions in 2010 (excluding LULUCF) and 41% of global population.
With the INDCs submitted to date, the CAT projects total global emissions are on track to be 53-57 GtCO2e in 2025 and 55-59 GtCO2e in 2030, far above the least-cost global pathways consistent with limiting warming below 2°C. Additional reductions in the order of 12-15 GtO2e by 2025 and of 17-21 GtCO2e by 2030 are needed for global emissions to be consistent with a 2°C pathway.
INDCs are yet to come from 140 countries. The ten highest emitters yet to submit INDCs are India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Pakistan, together accounting for 18% of global emissions not yet covered by INDCs (excluding LULUCF).
Aside from the insufficient ambition of the aggregate INDCs, there is a significant gap between current policies and the INDCs: global emissions under currently implemented policies are projected to be higher than the already inadequate INDC levels. Some countries propose INDCs close to the current trajectory giving confidence that they are met (e.g. EU and China). Others have put forward a target that would be a significant change in trend, but these are not yet supported by any significant existing legislation, e.g. Australia and Canada, raising questions about the likely implementation. Yet others are showing progress in policy implementation, continuously moving their future trajectories downwards, but policies are not yet sufficient to meet their (still inadequate) INDCs (e.g. USA).
The gap between pledges and policies increases through time, highlighting the need for long-term policy action. This is not to underplay the significance and importance of governments putting in place policies that will actually reduce their emissions, but for many governments this is not yet the case.
Figure 1: Emissions levels until 2030 under current policy projections and submitted INDCs compared with least-cost 1.5° and 2°C consistent pathways. The emissions gap ranges only reflect the uncertainty in the pledges and INDCs scenario. 2°C consistent median and range: Greater than 66% chance of staying within 2°C in 2100. 1.5°C consistent median and range: Greater than or equal to 50% chance of being below 1.5°C in 2100. Both temperature paths show the median and 10th to 90th percentile range. Pathway ranges exclude delayed action scenarios and any that deviate more than 5% from historic emissions in 2010.
Ambition of INDCs vary, with most not in line with a fair contribution to hold warming below 2°C
The Climate Action Tracker has rated the INDCs assessed as follows (Tables 3 and 4 for detailed numbers):
- Seven submitted INDCs are inadequate; Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand,
Singapore, South Korea and Russia’ s INDCs are not considered to be a fair
contribution to limiting warming to 2°C – from almost any perspective
- Six submitted INDCs are medium, which is within the upper and least ambitious
end of what could be considered as fair, and if all countries put forward a similar
level of ambition, warming would exceed 2°C. China, EU, Mexico, Norway,
Switzerland and the US INDCs are consistent with 2°C according to some
perspectives on their fair-share contribution, but they still rely on others to have
more ambitious targets in order for the world to hold warming to 2˚C.
- Two submitted INDCs are sufficient; only two of the countries assessed by the
CAT – Ethiopia and Morocco – have so far put forward an INDC that is in line with 2°C.
- No submitted INDCs ranked in the Role Model category.
If all countries that fall short of the CAT “sufficient” rating were to raise their ambition to meet the criteria for a “sufficient” rating this would close the emissions gap in 2025.
Is it possible to get to 1.5°C and 2°C from the 2025 and 2030 INDC levels?
Given the situation, it is logical to ask whether limiting warming below 2°C, and/or reducing to 1.5°C by 2100 remains possible, or even plausible, from the INDC levels projected for 2025 and 2030. Comparing projected global emissions resulting from the combined efforts of all countries with published global emission pathways for limiting warming below 2°C reveals a very different situation between 2025 and 2030, although they are only separated by five years.
While the projected emission levels for 2025 resulting from INDCs are above the published least-cost pathways, limiting warming below 2˚C is still likely to be feasible. Much less certain is meeting the 1.5°C goal, as reducing emissions fast enough from 2025 INDC emission levels would be on the border of technological feasibility. Rates of emission reductions after 2025 that would be sufficient to meet the 2° and 1.5° goals would be much more costly than necessary.
For 2030 the picture changes significantly. Limiting warming below 2°C becomes, at the very least, much more expensive, with five more years of very high emissions and five more years of a growing emissions gap, and approaches the boundary of technological feasibility. Indeed, while the 2030 emission levels derived from INDCs result in a further increase of emissions from 2025 to 2030, emission pathways consistent limiting warming below 2°C are, and need to be, firmly on a downward trajectory by that time.
On present evidence, it is no longer plausible from 2030 INDC emission levels to limit emissions to below 1.5°C by 2100. Carbon dioxide emission reduction rates between 2030 and 2050 would need to exceed 5%/year to limit warming below 2°C. In contrast, CO2 emission reduction rates would be 20% lower if starting from 2025 INDC emission levels and would achieve a more ambitious level in 2030 than implied by the current level of
emissions under the INDCs.
Three major policy conclusions are clear from this analysis of the aggregate effect of the INDCs submitted, and of the projected effects of current policies at the global level.
- Most governments that have already submitted an INDC need to review their targets in light of the global goal and, in most cases, will need to increase the level of ambition. Those that are yet to submit need to work to ensure the highest level of ambition.
- If the present 2030 INDC ambition levels are locked in, there is a high probability that limiting warming below 2°C becomes extremely difficult or infeasible and that the possibility of limiting warming to below 1.5°C by 2100 is foreclosed. The Paris Agreement under negotiation needs to ensure that 2030 levels are not locked in, and that a new cycle of targets for the 2025-2030 period can be developed.
- With current policies being insufficient to limit emissions to the INDC levels by 2025, it is clear that efforts to encourage greater policy action need to be ramped up as part of the Paris Agreement.
Download the full analysis below or visit Climateactiontracker.org