An assessment of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions of 102 countries has concluded that we may still fail to halt global warming to 2°C.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, are the climate plans made by countries and submitted to the United Nations in the lead up to the Paris climate negotiations set to begin in just a few days. These Contributions are the climate and energy commitments made by countries that are intended to help create a new global climate agreement that will, hopefully, keep global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
If all the currently submitted INDCs are implemented as-is — currently 156 Parties have submitted INDCs, allowing the report to analyze 102 of these Parties, representing approximately 89% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — there will be significant impact on global emissions reduction. According to the new analysis conducted by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and IIASA, Austria, these INDCs would have an impact of reducing emissions by 9 Gt of CO2-equivalent. If the conditional aspects of the INDCs are also implemented — which each require some form of international climate financing or cooperation — then emissions reduction would be increased by a further 11 Gt of CO2-equivalent, and amount to 54 Gt of CO2-equivalent by 2030.
However, and most importantly, even if all of these submitted conditionals are implemented as-is, global emissions will still continue to increase until at least 2030, and leave an emissions gap of 14 Gt of CO2-equivalent to the emission levels deemed necessary to halt warming to 2°C.
Impact of INDCs and climate policies on global greenhouse gas emissions
The report found that if there is any chance of halting global warming to 2°C, global emissions need to peak before 2025. Currently, according to the report, emissions in middle-income countries such as Mexico, Indonesia, Brazil, and South Korea are expected to peak before 2025. Meanwhile, emissions in China, India, and South Africa are expected to peak by 2030 or later, while most high-income countries have already seen their carbon emissions peak in the past.
However, the report also found that the largest relative emissions reductions in 2030 are expected from Australia, Brazil, and Canada.
Conversely, while the aggregate growth of emissions is currently on track to see us surpass 2°C of warming as a planet, there are some regions — the European Union and the United States — which are on track to keep themselves on a pathway that would, if left to themselves, halt warming before 2°C.