The Climate Transparency partnership, international research collaboration has released the findings of a study conducted to understand measures put in place by G20 countries to mitigate climate change.
The report ‘Brown to Green Report 2019' reveals that carbon emissions from the world’s 20 biggest economies continue to rise.
None of the G20 countries have plans that will put them on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C, despite the fact that most are technically capable and have economic incentives, and South Korea, Canada and Australia are the G20 countries furthest off track from implementing their already unambitious NDCs.
To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade.
The report is the most comprehensive review of G20 countries’ climate performance, mapping achievements and drawbacks in their efforts to reduce emissions, adapt to climate impacts and green the financial system.
Many of the current 2030 climate targets under the Paris Agreement (Nationally Determined Contributions - NDCs) are too weak, with about half of the G20 countries projected to meet or overachieve their inadequate NDCs. There is plenty of room for enhanced ambition among all G20 countries. “Just one year before the critical deadline the findings give us hope that countries will find the political will to commit to higher emission reduction targets in 2020 as they promised under the Paris Agreement”, says Alvaro Umaña, the Co-Chair of Climate Transparency and Former Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica.
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“For the first time, the report identifies untapped potential and key opportunities for countries to ramp up ambition and as such will be a valuable tool for governments when they update their climate plans.”
Key findings for the G20:
- Energy-related CO2 emissions in G20 countries shot up by 1.8% in 2018 due to rising energy demand. Energy supply is not getting cleaner: despite a more than 5% rise in G20 total renewable energy supply in 2018, the share of fossil fuels in the G20 energy mix remains at 82%.
- In 2018, G20 emissions in the power sector increased by 1.6%. While renewables now account for 25.5% of power generation, this is not sufficient to outweigh the growth of emissions from fossil fuel sources. Coal needs to be phased out by 2030 in OECD countries and by 2040 globally.
- G20 transport emissions increased by 1.2% in 2018. Low-carbon fuels accounted for less than 6% of the fuel mix. They need to increase roughly ten times by 2050 to keep global warming below 1.5°C. G20 countries need to scale up their policies to ban new fossil fuel cars by 2035 at the latest, reduce emissions from freight transport to net-zero by 2050 and shift towards non-motorised and sustainable public transport. Cutting government subsidies to the aviation sector, taxing jet fuel and using revenues to invest massively in new carbon-free fuels would leverage huge emissions reductions and health benefits.
- G20 emissions in the building sector grew more than in any other sector in 2018 (4.1%). Retrofitting existing buildings challenges all G20 and especially OECD countries. New buildings have to be near zero-energy by 2020/25 to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
- G20 countries still provided more than US$ 127 billion in fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. Subsidies have shown a decrease in nine G20 countries (partly due to falling fuel prices), but subsidies for natural gas infrastructure and production have remained stable or increased in many countries (despite lower prices). Diverting only a fraction of these fossil fuel subsidies towards renewables could pay for the clean energy transition and reduce emissions significantly.
“Overall CO2 emissions go up in all sectors, but we’re seeing some frontrunners emerging that others can learn from, like China's policies for promoting electric vehicles and public transport”, says Lena Donat, one of the report’s lead authors.
“In order for the Paris Agreement to succeed, it is clear that the G20 countries need to be climate leaders and pave the way for solutions that developing countries can benefit from.”
The G20 countries are responsible for approximately 80% of global GHG emissions. This year’s report analyses G20 countries’ performance along 80 indicators for climate mitigation, finance and adaptation against global 1.5°C benchmarks. The 2019 report “Brown to Green: The G20 transition towards a net-zero emissions economy” is the 5th annual review of G20 climate action by Climate Transparency.
For more details from the full report, click here.