UN: New national climate pledges will only cut emissions ‘by 2%’ over next decade

The latest round of national climate pledges falls “far short of what is required” to achieve the targets set out in the Paris Agreement , according to new UN analysis.

A new “ synthesis report ” from UN Climate Change examines the combined impact of the 48 new and updated “ nationally determined contributions ” (NDCs) submitted by its end-of-year deadline.

Countries were meant to set more ambitious targets by the close of 2020, but the report shows that, overall, the level of ambition has only increased slightly.

The combined emissions cuts of the new pledges are only around 3% lower by 2030 than the previous round of pledges submitted by those nations in 2015.

Furthermore, with these targets in place their combined emissions would be just 0.5% lower in 2030 than in 2010 and 2.1% lower than in 2017– far off the 45% reduction in total CO2 emissions from 2010 scientists have said is required to keep warming below 1.5C.

With most of the world’s biggest emitters – notably, the US and China – still yet to release new NDCs nearly two months after the deadline passed, the report emphasises “the need for parties to further strengthen their mitigation commitments”.

(For more information on the new NDCs, their level of ambition and climate finance requirements, Carbon Brief analysed the nations that met the end of year deadline in a separate article published last month.)

More ambition needed

Every party signed up to the Paris Agreement is committed to submitting an NDC, which they then have to renew or upgrade within five years under the so-called “ ratchet mechanism ”.

This is important because the first round of NDCs were far off what is required to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming since the pre-industrial era to “well below” 2C, let alone its stretch target of 1.5C.

Although many nations have stated that their targets are consistent with Paris Agreement goals, the UN points in its new report to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to the IPCC, a 45% reduction in global CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2030 is required to meet the temperature goal of 1.5C – and a 25% reduction is needed to stay below 2C of global warming. There are also deep reductions required for non-CO2 emissions.

However, the new report finds that the total emissions of nations that had come forward with new pledges would be just 0.5% lower in 2030 than in 2010 and 2.1% lower than in 2017. The report states:

“While noting that this synthesis of information covers only about 40% of the parties to the Paris Agreement, the collective scale of reduction expected to be achieved, for those parties considered, through the implementation of new or updated NDCs falls far short of the IPCC ranges.”

On an individual basis, the UN says in its new synthesis...