The United States counts among the many nations that have failed to meet obligations under the Paris agreement about climate change.
A new analysis by the Climate Action Tracker concluded that the momentum on updating 2030 targets for climate action has stalled since May with no significant emitters putting forward more vital climate targets.
The analysis found that the 2030 emissions gap has barely changed.
An earlier United Nations report found that the world risks hitting 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming in the coming decades, which would cause extreme events unprecedented in the observational record.
The new report revealed that only Gambia, the small West African nation, has plans compatible with the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
While the United Kingdom has “almost insufficient” plans, the analysts rated America as “insufficient.”
The Climate Action Tracker – or CAT – determines whether nations are sufficient, insufficient or almost insufficient based on mitigation targets, policies, action and climate action.
President Joe Biden had pledged that the U.S. would cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least half from 2005 levels by 2030.
“In May, after the Climate Leaders’ Summit and the Petersburg dialogue, we reported that there appeared to be good momentum with new climate action commitments but governments then had only closed the emissions gap by up to 14 percent,” said Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute, a CAT partner organization quoted in the report.
“But since then, there has been little to no improvement — nothing is moving. Governments have now closed the gap by up to 15 percent, a minimal improvement since May. Anyone would think they have all the time in the world, when in fact the opposite is the case,” Höhne noted.
According to the report, the CAT has updated all of the country ratings under its new rating system where it now gives ratings on a wide range of actions: an overall rating, the domestic target, policies and action, fair share, climate mitigation finance (either on providing mitigation finance, or detailing what international support is needed) and land use and forestry (where relevant). The CAT, which has also begun rating net-zero targets, outlined their findings:
- Of the 37 countries assessed by the CAT, only one – The Gambia – has an overall climate action that is 1.5°C Paris Agreement compatible.
- In another seven, overall climate action is nearly sufficient, meaning they are not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit but could be with moderate improvements.
- Three countries, the EU, Germany and the U.S., have significantly updated their targets with a raft of new policies. While the U.K.’s domestic target is 1.5˚C compatible, its policies and international support don’t match.
- This leaves three-quarters of the countries the CAT assesses with significant gaps in climate action.
“Of particular concern are Australia, Brazil, Indonesia Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam: they have failed to lift ambition at all, submitting the same or even less ambitious 2030 targets than those they put forward in 2015,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, a CAT partner, quoted in the report.
“These countries need to rethink their choice,” Hare continued. “The IPCC has given the world a ‘code red’ warning on the dangers of climate change, reinforcing the urgent need for the world to halve emissions by 2030.”
“An increasing number of people around the world are suffering from ever more severe and frequent impacts of climate change, yet government action continues to lag behind what is needed. While many governments have committed to net zero, without near-term action achieving net zero is virtually impossible,” Hare concluded.