– By 2030, developed countries will overshoot carbon emission targets by 38 per cent
– Only two developed countries—Norway and Belarus—are on track to achieve their NDCs
– Even with post-2030 reductions, developed countries' total emissions would still threaten 1.5°C target
26 October 2023, New Delhi: Developed countries are projected to collectively emit around 3.7 giga tonnes extra carbon dioxide in 2030, against the reduction goals expressed in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the 2016 Paris Agreement, according to a new issue brief released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) today. This represents a 38 per cent emission overshoot, with the United States, European Union, and Russia responsible for 83 per cent of this. The issue brief, published in collaboration with the TRANGOV project of Wageningen University & Research, highlights that only two developed countries—namely Norway and Belarus—are on track to achieve their reduction commitments by 2030.
The mitigation efforts of developed countries impact the carbon budget available to developing nations, which need sufficient carbon space to address their economic and social development challenges and ensure a just transition. Further, currently, developed countries’ NDCs for 2030 collectively represent a 36 per cent reduction in emissions from their 2019 levels. This is less than the global average of 43 per cent that is required to keep the 1.5°C target alive.
Dr Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Fellow, CEEW, said, “The numbers are clear – even in this critical decade, developed countries are not projected to meet their 2030 NDC targets. This failure has implications for the limited global carbon budget available now, especially for developing countries like India. It is also crucial for the Global South to have produced this analysis and not just rely on handed-down assessments that focus disproportionately on emissions of emerging economies. To fulfil their responsibility as historical emitters and financially capable economies, developed countries must do more than meet the global average in emission reduction.”
The projections also reveal that developed countries rely on drastically ramping up emission reductions after 2030. Even if all developed countries were to reach net zero by 2050, they would require more than four times the average annual reductions they achieved from 1990 to 2020. Further, the issue brief estimates that even in a net-zero-by-2050 scenario, developed countries would collectively emit over 40–50 per cent of the remaining global carbon budget left for the 1.5°C warming target, even though they are home to less than a fifth of the world’s population.
Sumit Prasad, Programme Lead, CEEW, said, “The climate journey of developed countries – historical and proposed – does not show deep enough emission reductions to reflect climate leadership. This means that the burden to mitigate global warming shifts to developing countries, which is problematic in a context where financial support to developing countries to achieve this transition has not been forthcoming, as promised.”
The issue brief also recommends that developed countries enhance their NDCs and scale up climate action to bridge the projected 3.7 GtCO2e implementation gap by 2025. Net-zero goals hinge on significant emission cuts in this decade. Instead of relying on future events, developed countries should define clear year-on-year reduction plans to meet their targets in this critical decade. Further, to build trust, developed countries need to be reliable and stay committed to the Paris Agreement.
Note: To assess the emission trajectories of developed countries, the study uses countries’ self-reported information on historic greenhouse gas emissions and projections, as disclosed in UNFCCC transparency arrangements.
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