Briefing - 14 November 2022The World is heading for only 'just below' 2°C if all long-term pledges are fulfilled
After Glasgow COP26 in 2021, as the world meets at the Sharm-el-Sheikh COP27 in 2022 and with the upcoming global stocktake in 2023, it is timely to have another look at countries’ climate targets. On the positive side, as of 5 November 2022, more than 80 countries formally include long-term targets that are mostly net-zero carbon or net-zero GHG emissions (with some notable exceptions). That is a remarkable trend that would be in line with a 1.5°C or 2°C target, if followed globally. In April 2022, our analysis was published on the front page of Nature - showing that all pledges together, if followed through, would amount to “just below” 2C warming. It’s not yet “well-below” 2C and insufficiently ambitious 2030 NDCs still stand in the way of getting closer to the 1.5C pathways. But it is certainly a positive step.
As yet, many of the 2050 targets are (somewhat unsurprisingly) not yet in law or underpinned by policies, which is why we see many warming estimates published in 2022 that still project the warming implied by NDCs as being somewhere between 2C and 3C. That is what emerges when we do not take into account the long-term targets. It is what could unfold if, in the decades to come, the world continues on the path it is on between now and 2030, and doesn’t implement the policies and actions needed to deliver more rapid emissions reductions and achieve the longer-term targets and net-zero commitments.
To bring more transparency to the table, we provide what is - to the best of our knowledge - the world's most comprehensive quantification of all the 193 nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that were put forward, from the INDCs at the time of the Paris Agreement in 2015, all the way to the latest updated NDCs. It also quantifies longer term commitments submitted now by more than 80 countries.
Given the data challenges for many countries, some NDCs can be interpreted in a range of ways resulting in different quantifications of the emissions reductions implied. We seek to quantify the range of emissions reductions consistent with conditional, unconditional and ambiguous elements in NDCs, but acknowledge there may be different interpretations in some cases.
If we take into account all pledges as at 5 November 2022, we find that global GHG emissions (excl. LULUCF) are around 52.0 +-1.3 GtCO2eq (GWP AR6) by 2030 for all unconditional pledges. That excludes 'hot air', meaning that very unambitious pledges that will likely never be reached (as they imply higher emissions than are likely even if no additional climate policy is implemented) are replaced by 'do nothing' country-level reference scenarios. If we assume full implementation, i.e. including all the conditional elements of pledges, then we estimate 49.8 +-1.4 GtCO2eq by 2030.
The unconditional pledges result in an emission gap (total GHG emissions incl. LULUCF), of 8.7 to 16.2 GtCO2eq relative to the <2°C scenarios that start mitigation in 2020 from the IPCC AR6 WG1 database and around 19.0 to 27.0 GtCO2eq relative to the scenarios that bring warming back to below 1.5°C by 2100. If all conditional NDCs are implemented, then the gap is slightly narrower, 7.5 to 14.9 GtCO2eq for the <2C scenarios, and 18.1 to 25.8 GtCO2eq for the 1.5°C scenarios. That means that either countries substantially increase their decarbonisation ambitions this decade, or alternatively place the world on a very cost-sub-optimal pathway (with lots of stranded assets) if instead we achieve our joint 1.5°C or <2°C targets by a "fly over the cliff and crash" kind of trajectory.
We provide rankings of the countries in terms of some key indices, like which country will have the highest per-capita emissions in 2030, if its pledges are followed. Likewise, we show the rankings of country emissions in the world as of 2015 and consistent with their 2030 NDC targets.
For further links and descriptions of methods and underlying data, please check out our methods page.Last Updated: 5th November 2022