World Still Not Doing Enough on Climate Change as Emissions Rated "Far Above" Target

By James O Malley on at

The world needs to get its shit together, that's the (paraphrased) conclusion of researchers at the Climate Action Tracker, a consortium of research institutions that has been assessing global action on climate change.

Apparently emissions are still "far above" what they need to be if the world is to achieve the aim of limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees celsius, which is a bit depressing.

The calculations have been done based on the submitted "INDC" documents submitted to the UN by different countries ahead of this December's Paris climate change conference. In these documents, countries have been asked to outline what they plan to do to limit emissions.

Whilst not every country has submitted yet, data for 56 countries has been collected, representing 65% of current carbon emissions. The hopeful news is that the EU (which includes the UK), China and US have all been rated "adequate" suggesting their preparations are in-line with the 2-degree target, whereas Canada, Australia and Japan have all been given a slap on the wrist and branded "inadequate".

Only two countries have submitted documents that the CAT has deemed "sufficient": Morocco and Ethiopia.

Other big hitters like Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and South Africa are yet to submit a document.

Perhaps most worrying though is that the INDC documents as they currently are represent something of a best case scenario, as the Climate Action Tracker notes that they are more statements of intent to do something, rather than statements of what has or is being done. Many countries are yet to pass the laws necessary to meet their targets:

"Aside from the insufficient ambition of the aggregate INDCs, there is a significant gap between current policies and the INDCs: global emissions under currently implemented policies are projected to be higher than the already inadequate INDC levels. Some countries propose INDCs close to the current trajectory giving confidence that they are met (e.g. EU and China). Others have put forward a target that would be a significant change in trend,
but these are not yet supported by any significant existing legislation, e.g. Australia and Canada, raising questions about the likely implementation. Yet others are showing progress in policy implementation, continuously moving their future trajectories downwards, but policies are not yet sufficient to meet their (still inadequate) INDCs (e.g. USA)."

So is it time to head for the high ground and hoard tinned food as the ice caps melt? Let's hope that the politicians can work something out in Paris. [Climate Action Tracker via BBC]