In the run up to COP 26 and at the conference, we saw a large number of countries making net zero pledges for mid-century. The combined effect of achieving all net zero pledges is projected temperature rise of around 1.8 °C to 2 °C by the end of the century (depending on the precise assumptions that are made).
This is the first time that governments have come forward with targets of sufficient ambition to hold global warming to below 2 °C
This is not just about emissions reductions. Achieving these pledges would move markets – global oil, gas and coal demand would all peak in the coming years. In many countries, this energy transition will constitute a major economic opportunity for jobs and growth.
But there are a number of important bits of context for the results in this paper.
First, it cannot be taken for granted that governments will implement their pledges on time and in full. Pledges have not yet been backed up by the strong and credible near-term policies needed to make them a reality.
Second, emission reduction targets need to be substantially enhanced. The pledges made to date - even if implemented in full - do not yet put the world on track for 1.5 °C. So, we need to see:
Countries without net-zero targets announcing and implementing such targets (with appropriate support)
Countries with net-zero targets bringing net-zero dates forward or aim for net-negative targets. Much stronger targets and emissions reductions in the next 10 years.
The gap between targets and policies and what is needed is even worse over the next 10 years.
- The NDC pledges up to 2030 only lead to approximately flat global emissions until then. This would exhaust nearly the complete remaining global carbon budget until 2030 alone. Thus, without steering away from burning fossil fuels even more swiftly this decade, we are destined to overshoot 1.5C by quite a margin. These results are certainly a cause for optimism – we have come a long way since the Paris Agreement was signed – but now the real work must start.