Madrid, December 10, 2019 – In the face of the growing climate emergency, governments seem determined to continue embracing fossil fuels, and even meeting their Paris Agreement pledges would see warming of 2.8˚C by the end of this century, according to the Climate Action Tracker’s 2019 annual update, released at COP25 in Madrid today.
Under government real-world action (current policies), global temperature is set to rise by 3˚C1 and the most optimistic policy scenario would be 2.8˚C.
“We are not seeing the kind of action you’d expect from governments facing a climate emergency,” said Prof Niklas Höhne, of CAT partner organisation NewClimate Institute. “Since last year’s update, our temperature estimate has not improved from climate action, and many governments are still failing to meet their often insufficient targets.”
While all governments agreed to update their climate targets with more ambition by 2020, the CAT’s new Climate Target Update Tracker has only one country on its list of those that has done so, and only one full draft proposal – from Chile.
Coal is still playing a major role in government energy planning, despite the fact it’s now way more expensive than renewables. Governments continue to plan and build new coal plants, especially in Asia, where China, Japan and South Korea, who are also funding coal offshore.
An example of such offshore coal-funding is the proposed Lamu coal-fired power station in Kenya, that would be both Chinese-funded and built. Kenya it is set to meet its Paris pledge with renewables, but if both the Lamu plant and another proposed coal plant were to go ahead, its emissions would rocket up.
“Gas is a major concern. Governments are acting as if this fossil fuel is somehow clean – yet gas was responsible for half the increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption in 2017-18,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.
“But let’s be clear: for a 1.5˚C pathway, emissions from gas need to peak before 2030, halve by 2040, and be only a tiny part of global electricity demand by 2050.”
On the positive side, the growth of renewables is expected to soar: almost 2,400 GW was installed in 2018, a doubling of capacity in ten years, and is expected to increase by another 50% (1,200GW) in the next five years. This acceleration needs to increase if CO2 emissions are to peak soon and reduce rapidly to at least 45% below 2010 levels by 2030, and to do this governments need to stop supporting fossil fuels in the market.
The CAT has added four new countries to the 32 it undertakes detailed mitigation assessments: Kenya (2˚C compatible), Vietnam (“Critically Insufficient”), the UK (“Insufficient) and Germany (“Highly insufficient”).Full briefing here
(1) These estimates have fallen a little from the CAT update in September, but largely due to a methodological changes and data updates rather than any upscaling of climate action.
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The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis that measures government climate action against the globally agreed aim of holding warming well below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. It is a collaboration of the following organisations:
Climate Analytics is a non-profit organisation based in Berlin, Germany, with offices in Lomé, Togo, New York, USA, and Perth, Australia that brings together inter-disciplinary expertise in the scientific and policy aspects of climate change. Its activities include: synthesising and advancing scientific knowledge in the area of climate change science, policy and impacts; providing science and policy support to the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in international climate negotiations, and the tracking and analysing the effectiveness of national climate policies globally.
NewClimate Institute is a non-profit institute established in 2014. NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe, covering the topics international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. NewClimate Institute aims at connecting up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes.