Graph shows countries urgently need to strengthen 2030 emission targets before Paris climate summit – emissions gap >19Gt CO2

Today’s Graph of the Day has a really sobering message. Within four months of the crucial UNFCCC climate conference in Paris (‘COP21’) countries have submitted grossly insufficient emission reduction targets for the year 2030 – the target year for the new UN climate treaty that will be established at the end of that two-week conference.*

2030 emission targets for Paris climate conference
After the latest round of UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn the difference between wat countries ‘should do’ (1.5C – here’s just one reason why), have ‘promised’ (2C), ‘pledge’ (2030 INDCs) and ‘do’ (current policy >3-4C) is still enormous, this new Climate Action Tracker update shows [please note the graph shows both 2025 (emissions gap = left arrow) and 2030 targets (emissions gap = right arow)]. Countries’ 2030 emission pledges need to increase by at least 19 billion tonnes of CO2 – in order for ‘Paris’ to become a success, by countries’ own definition(!) [Next challenge -‘beyond Paris’- is delivering on those pledges – actual emission reduction policy – because the upper line in the graph is the scenario that is currently being executed, the ‘global disaster by political choice’-scenario.

[*) COP21 starts on Monday November 30 and will last two weeks. The expected decision-making Grand Finale will likely take place in COP21 extra time: the weekend of 12 & 13 December.]

In order to stay below 2 degrees warming – as countries have pledged on numerous occasions – a trend breach in global emissions is urgently needed. To get to the safer 1.5 degree climate target, this has to be a steeper breach – see above graph.

Homework for politicians between now, Paris and 2030:

As we know our regulars have a scientific mind and like numbers to do the talking, here’s an overview of the steps politicans must take:

  • From ‘current policy’ to ‘current 2030 pledges’: 5 gigatonnes CO2eq emissions reduction
  • From ‘current 2030’ to ‘promised (2C) 2030 pledges’: ~19 gigatonnes CO2eq emissions reduction
  • From ‘promised 2030 pledges’ to ‘needed (1.5C) 2030’ pledges: ~6 gigatonnes CO2eq emissions reduction
  • From ‘current policy’ to ‘needed policy’: 31 gigatonnes CO2eq – halving global emissions(!)

From ‘pledged’ to ‘promised’: 23-27 Gt – from ‘current’ to ‘needed’: cut global emissions in half by 2030:

The difference between currently pledged 2030 targets and 2030 targets in line with the ‘promised’ 2 degrees scenario requires a global emission reduction of 17 billion to 21 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents – a far larger reduction that the gap between current policy and current 2030 pledges. In order for the world to embark on a safer 1.5 degree route, 2030 emission targets must be strengthen by 23 billion to 27 billion gigatonnes of CO2eq – so another 6 billion tonnes of extra global emission reductions. That would mean the global emissions would have to be literally halved by 2030, compared to current policy – from annual emissions of 62Gt CO2eq to 31Gt CO2eq.

[18 percent of global CO2 emissions (land use excluded) are not yet covered in the above graph – as there are still countries that have not submitted (initial) 2030 emission targets. The top 10 of largest emitters without 2030 targets is as follows: India, Brazil, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine and Pakistan.]

© Rolf Schuttenhelm |

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