Paris goals within reach

The Paris Agreement’s 1.5C goal is within striking distance, with the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) calculating that global warming by 2100 could be as low as 2.1C as a result of all the net-zero pledges announced to date.

Included in CAT’s new modelling is the announcement by China in September 2020 that it intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060, which reduces the CAT end of century warming estimate by 0.2 to 0.3C alone. Assuming the US follows the UK with carbon neutrality by 2050, as proposed by President-Elect Biden, would reduce warming by another 0.1C. South Africa, Japan, South Korea and Canada have also recently announced net-zero targets. In total, 127 countries responsible for around 63 per cent of emissions are considering or have adopted net-zero targets.

It is clear the Paris Agreement is driving climate action. On the eve of its five-year anniversary, a survey of past Climate Action Tracker assessments shows that the temperature estimates for end-of-century warming have been falling for both the targets and real-world emissions projections.

However, as desirable as 2050 net-zero targets are, governments must now adopt 2030 targets (nationally determined contributions or NDCs) to deliver on their net-zero goals and close the remaining emissions gap to the 1.5C target.

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