Despite pledges made at the climate summit COP26, the world is still nowhere near its goals on limiting global temperature rise, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT).
It calculates that the world is heading for 2.4C of warming, far more than the 1.5C limit nations committed to. The prediction contradicts the optimism at the UN meeting last week, following a series of big announcements that included a vow to stop deforestation. The report by Climate Action Tracker looks at promises made by governments before and during COP26.
It concludes that, in 2030, the greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet will still be twice as high as necessary for keeping temperature rise below 1.5C degree.
COP26 "has a massive credibility, action and commitment gap", it says in its analysis. "If they have no plans as to how to get there, and their 2030 targets are as low as so many of them are, then frankly, these net zero targets are just lip service to real climate action," said Bill Hare, chief executive of Climate Analytics, one of the groups behind the Tracker. The main driver of the gap between promises and projections is continued coal and gas production, the organisation concludes. Hare explained that “We are concerned that some countries are trying to portray Cop26 as if the 1.5C limit is nearly in the bag. But it’s not, it’s very far from it, and they are downplaying the need to get short-term targets for 2030 in line with 1.5C.” Hare said many of the long-term goals countries had set out lacked credibility. He pointed to Brazil, Australia and Russia. “We are concerned that there is not a seriousness of purpose at Cop26. It’s very hypothetical, getting to net zero in 2050,”
When governments' actual policies - rather than pledges - are analysed, the world's projected warming is 2.7C by 2100, suggests Climate Action Tracker. Climate Action Tracker blames "stalled momentum" from governments for limited progress towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The problem comes from the inclusion of long-term pledges to reach net zero emissions by 2050. 140 governments have promised to reach net zero, covering 90% of global emissions by mid-century-ish carbon neutrality target - China's is 2060, India's 2070. According to the CAT, these goals are giving "false hope".
Based on what countries have put on the table for 2030, the world is set to warm by 2.4C by 2100. That picture gets a bit better if you include America's and China's long-term targets, which reduces the temperature to 2.1C. If every country implemented their long-term net zeroes, then 1.8C could indeed be possible.
But the reality is that, without a serious plan for 2030, most of these longer-term goals will not be realised.
But Climate Action Tracker says only a handful have plans in place to reach the goal. It analysed the policies of 40 countries and concluded that only a small number are rated "acceptable", covering a fraction of the world's emissions.
"...It's a devastating report that in any sane world would cause governments in Glasgow to immediately set aside their differences and work with uncompromising vigour for a deal to save our common future," said Greenpeace International's executive director Jennifer Morgan.
The Green party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “Today was the day the sugar coating fell off the Cop26 talks to reveal the bitter pill that world leaders are going to force us to swallow if they don’t take much stronger action.