News Article | May 16, 2017
The changing face of coal use in both China and India is likely to reduce the projected global carbon emissions growth by approximately two to three billion tonnes by 2030 compared to forecasts made a year ago, according to a new briefing by the Climate Action Tracker. In a new Climate Action Tracker (CAT) Update published on Monday, the combined work of Climate Analytics, Ecofys, and the New Climate Institute explained that “positive developments” in China and India’s use of coal are likely to reduce the projected global carbon emissions by between two to three billion tonnes by 2030, as compared to CAT’s predictions a year ago. Further, the “highly adverse rollbacks” being made by US President Donald Trump “are unlikely to have a major impact on global emissions by 2030.” Specifically, CAT believes that both China and India look set to “overachieve” their Paris Agreement climate pledges. China’s coal consumption has been in decline for awhile now, three consecutive years (2013–2016) and many believe that this trend will only continue. Earlier this year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the country’s total energy consumption had increased by 1.4% in 2016, but that the country’s coal consumption had declined by 4.7%. Meanwhile, India’s government has stated that it believes some of its planned coal-fired power plants will be unneeded. Additionally, the country is implementing policies to boost renewable energy capacity and reduce coal imports, which CAT believes could “see a significant slowing down in the growth of CO2 emissions over the next decade.” “Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping—or even slowing—coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “Recent observations show they are now on the way toward overcoming this challenge.” Meanwhile, while there is still significant cause for concern over the current policy moves being made in the US by its new President, CAT does not believe that these changes will have a significant impact on global emissions levels by 2030. “The highly adverse rollbacks of US climate policies by the Trump Administration, if fully implemented and not compensated by other actors, are projected to flatten US emissions instead of continuing on a downward trend,” explained Prof Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute. Specifically, the developments we are seeing in China and India are set to significantly outweigh any negative moves we see in the US. “In the last ten years, the energy market has transformed: The price of renewable energy from wind and solar has dropped drastically,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, a Navigant company. “Renewables are now cost-competitive and being built at a much faster rate than coal-fired power plants.” Check out our new 93-page EV report. Join us for an upcoming Cleantech Revolution Tour conference! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | May 15, 2017
The U.S. will fall far short of its Paris climate goals, thanks to the environmental policy rollbacks carried out under the Trump administration, a new analysis suggests. The news comes as President Trump is still considering a formal withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, with a possible decision expected after the Group of Seven meeting later this month. But China and India are on track to overachieve on their climate pledges, the analysis adds, meaning their efforts may help make up for shortcomings in the U.S. The study was released Monday by the Climate Action Tracker, a joint project among nonprofit organizations Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute and climate consulting agency Ecofys that monitors government action on climate change. [Trump will punt decision on the Paris climate agreement until after the G-7, Spicer says] China and India “are going to slow the global growth in CO2 emissions significantly, the United States’ actions under President Trump will offset that a bit, but not sufficient to actually stop that slowing of the global growth of emissions,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics and a senior scientist with the organization, at a Monday news conference to introduce the new findings. Under the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. pledged to lower its carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. To meet that goal, the analysis points out, the federal government would have had to implement the full climate action plan outlined by the Obama administration — which involved a variety of carbon-cutting strategies, including the expansion of clean energy, energy efficiency programs and more advanced transportation technology, and most of all, the Clean Power Plan. As of the end of the Obama administration, the full climate action plan had yet to be fully rolled out. But if all currently implemented environmental policies were to remain in place, including the Clean Power Plan, the analysis suggests that the U.S. would only manage to reduce emissions 10 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. Without the Clean Power Plan, the study puts this number at just 7 percent below 2005 levels. Under the Trump administration — which has already canceled the implementation of Obama’s climate action plan, rolled back a number of environmental regulations and placed a hold on the ongoing lawsuit surrounding the Clean Power Plan — the assessment suggests U.S. emissions will likely stop declining altogether and flatline instead. Coming to this conclusion was a challenge, according to Niklas Höhne, a founding partner at the NewClimate Institute and a professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, because the future of U.S. environmental policy under Trump remains so uncertain. “The Trump administration has said that they want to take away and roll back policies that have already been implemented, and the question is whether that will really happen,” he noted at the news conference. The Clean Power Plan, for instance, is facing a likely demise. And the future of other policies, such as the stringent fuel economy standards implemented under the Obama administration, remain even less sure. The Trump administration has reopened a review of the standards at the urging of the automobile manufacturing industry and other critics — meaning it may or may not decide to weaken or repeal them at a later date. But the analysis concludes that if these climate policies are removed, and they’re not adequately compensated for by other local-level efforts — an outcome that, for now, appears likely — “emissions could, in our best estimate, be kind of flat for the next few years, and the U.S. would be on a path definitely to fail to meet its” Paris goal, Höhne said. But the analysis finds that China and India are both on track to exceed their goals under the Paris agreement, meaning they may be able to largely pick up the U.S.’s slack. Under the Paris agreement, China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030 and increase the non-fossil fuel share of its energy consumption to around 20 percent. And India has pledged to boost its non-fossil fuel energy share to at least 40 percent by 2030. Now, new developments in both countries’ energy landscapes have put them ahead of the game in terms of meeting their goals. Largely thanks to a decrease in coal consumption in both countries, the analysis suggests that annual emissions from the two countries combined are on track to be about 2 billion to 3 billion tons lower in the year 2030 than previous estimates have indicated. This is more than enough to outweigh the actions of the Trump administration, which the analysis suggests will likely make a difference of about 400 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2030 compared to what they would have been otherwise. In India, a new draft energy plan released late last year significantly reduced the country’s plans for additional coal capacity through the year 2027 — cutting the plans from about 230 additional gigawatts of coal capacity to just 50 gigawatts. The plan suggests that by 2027, more than half the nation’s electricity capacity will come from non-fossil fuel sources. And China — the world’s greatest consumer of coal and emitter of greenhouse gases — has now seen three consecutive years of declining coal consumption. “It is unclear whether these last three years are merely a pause in a steady growth or whether this is a sign of China having reached its peak in coal consumption,” said Yvonne Deng, a managing consultant at Ecofys. “But if it is a peak, and if coal consumption continues to decrease at a similar rate, then this could lead to emissions in 2030 being around one to two gigatons lower than our estimate last year. And combining these effects of these two reductions in emissions from decreasing coal use in India and China, we estimate that CO2 emissions in 2030 could reduce by around two to three gigatons.” The actions of other governments — particularly the European Union — will also remain significant factors in the future of global emissions. And previous analyses have pointed out that even if all participating nations lived up to their pledges under the Paris agreement, it would likely still not be enough to keep global temperatures within 1.5 to 2 degrees of their preindustrial levels, the globally determined climate goal established at Paris. In fact, one recent study indicated that the world is on track to blow past the 1.5-degree goal within the next 15 years. To prevent this from happening, the Paris agreement encourages nations to continually strengthen and update their own pledges — the exact opposite of what is happening in the U.S. “We are always saying that countries need to ramp up their ambition, so increase their ambition, and in the U.S. it’s going in the wrong direction,” Höhne said.
News Article | May 16, 2017
Stop me if you've heard this one: The U.S. shouldn't act to cut its planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions because it would harm the economy while China and India are building coal plants and emitting whatever they want. That is an argument that opponents of climate action, mainly in the Republican Party, have used for decades in order to oppose measures to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. It's one that President Donald Trump himself has made, as has his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, in recent months. But increasingly, it's not based in reality. SEE ALSO: 9-year-old girl seeks clean air for her generation, sues Indian government over pollution Two new reports show that China and India are moving faster than expected to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and pollution woes, while scaling up renewable energy resources. The speed and extent of the actions in these two developing nations are hugely consequential for what happens to global emissions during Trump's presidency, since the U.S. is backing away from its leadership position on this issue. According to an analysis released at a round of United Nations climate talks in Bonn on Monday, China and India could more than compensate for the United States' failure to meet its proposed emissions cuts under the Paris Climate Agreement. What's changing is China and India's coal use. Experts from Climate Analytics, Ecofys, and the New Climate Institute, which together run the Climate Action Tracker, say that global carbon emissions are likely to be about 2 to 3 billion tonnes lower in 2030 compared to previous forecasts. This could offset Trump's climate change rollbacks, such as killing the EPA's Clean Power Plan and trying to revive the moribund coal sector. The Trump effect on the climate would only cause an uptick in carbon emissions of about 0.4 billion tonnes of carbon, the group found. “The highly adverse rollbacks of U.S. climate policies by the Trump Administration, if fully implemented and not compensated by other actors, are projected to flatten US emissions instead of continuing on a downward trend,” said Niklas Hohne, of NewClimate Institute, in a press release. According to the Tracker, which keeps tabs on countries' commitments and whether they are living up to them, China’s coal consumption decreased from 2013 through 2016, with a slow decline expected to continue. This is partly related to an economic slowdown, in addition to policies put in place by the central government in Beijing. Coal is one of the dirtiest forms of energy, pumping huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Burning less coal has the benefit of lowering carbon emissions. In India, plans for more coal-fired power plants may be canceled since the country is making headway at dramatically expanding its solar power capacity. “Five years ago, the idea of either China or India stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought by many to be necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these countries,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, in a statement. “Recent observations show they are now on the way toward overcoming this challenge.” While the U.S. remains undecided on whether it will remain a part of the Paris Agreement, the global energy market is still moving quickly ahead, favoring renewable energy to such an extent that in more areas it is cost competitive with coal and other fossil fuel sources. This has played a role in slowing and even reversing coal's expansion in China and India. Trump’s #climate policies would see US CAT rating downgraded from “medium” to “insufficient” - briefing https://t.co/p2NzBmhi82 #unfccc #1o5 pic.twitter.com/nzcMUexGox The results of the Climate Action Tracker's report are bolstered by findings from a Center for American Progress analysis of China's coal consumption. The report makes clear that the argument that China's emissions would outweigh any progress made in the U.S. is, at best, outdated, and more accurately a zombie argument. As David Roberts writes at Vox, China is taking on coal head on by shutting down older, more heavily polluting plants in favor of newer, more efficient facilities and renewables. It is also planning for a non-coal future based on renewables. "In short, while the US dithers along in a cosmically stupid dispute over whether science is real, China is tackling climate change with all guns blazing. The US, not China, is the laggard in this relationship," Roberts wrote. It's unclear if anyone will be able to successfully convince Trump and his team that China is beating the U.S. on transitioning to a cleaner, more efficient future early enough for the administration to decide to remain part of the Paris Agreement. It's more likely that for now, at least, the mantle of climate change leadership has been passed to Asia. WATCH: This might be the cutest and tiniest smartphone ever
News Article | November 10, 2016
MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters) - Donald Trump's election as U.S. president muddies the outlook for efforts to cut greenhouse gases and could mean U.S. emissions stay flat until 2030, compared with deep cuts planned by President Barack Obama, scientists said on Thursday. Republican Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and is expected to favour the coal and oil industries, opposes last year's Paris Agreement by almost 200 nations to combat global warming. In the past year "national climate policies have made little progress, and the road ahead looks even less clear after the results of the U.S. presidential elections," three European scientific groups said in a report of global trends. "If President Trump abandons current policies as he has threatened to do, we estimate that in 2030, U.S. emissions will be similar to what they are today," said Niklas Hoehne, of NewClimate Institute, one of the research groups. Obama promised in Paris to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28 percent by 2025 from 2005 levels. U.S. data show emissions were down 9 percent in 2014, compared to 2005. A Climate Action Tracker compiled by the researchers, issued at U.N. talks on climate change in Marrakesh, projected that existing policies including Obama's would lead to a warming in global temperatures of 2.8 degrees Celsius (5.0 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2100. That is fractionally above a projected 2.7C (4.9F) rise in average surface temperatures estimated a year ago, largely due to technical revisions. Current policies need to be ratcheted up to achieve a goal set in Paris of limiting global warming to "well below" 2C (3.6F) by curbing a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases blamed for causing downpours, heatwaves and rising seas, the scientists said. It was too early to say how Trump's policies might affect the global outlook, they added. His election "would increase our (global) temperature estimate, but there are huge uncertainties," Hoehne said. Still, the study said a shift to renewable energies was likely to continue thanks to factors such as falling prices of solar power and wind power and improved ranges for electric vehicles. "Provided political leaders globally maintain their commitment to action, these tailwinds mean we should be able to ride through the turbulence that a climate sceptic in the White House could bring," said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.
News Article | November 3, 2016
With the building sector already accounting for around 20% of climate change emissions, a new analysis published this week has warned that its energy demand is likely to double by mid-century if actions are not taken now to make buildings more sustainable. This is the primary conclusion from a new Climate Action Tracker analysis published this week entitled Constructing the Future: Will the building Sector Use its Decarbonisation Tools (PDF). The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis conducted by three research organizations, Ecofys, Climate Analytics, and the NewClimate Institute, and backed by the ClimateWorks Foundation. The analysis further concludes that the technologies required to make new buildings zero-emissions are all currently available, but the sector is not adapting to these new technologies fast enough. Emissions from buildings more than doubled between 1990 to 2010, and now represent 20% of all global emissions. Policies currently in place will likely see the building sector see its energy demand skyrocket by 50% by 2050 than in 2010. Further delayed action in adapting to zero-emissions new building methods will likely increase pressure on other sectors to reduce their own carbon emissions to take up the slack left by the building sector, as well as creating the need in the future to deliver negative emissions, all in an effort to keep global warming within the Paris Agreement’s temperature limits — an issue which has only heightened, according to a new UNEP report published today. The Climate Action Tracker analysis therefore sets out a 1.5°C-compatible scenario for the building sector which would see all new buildings in the OECD built to zero-energy specifications by 2020, and all non-OECD buildings by 2025. The report also outlines methods for very high zero-emission renovation techniques. “We have to start building ‘Paris Agreement-proof’ buildings today,“ said Karlien Wouters of Ecofys. “Given the long lifetimes of buildings, rapid action is especially important in this sector. Any inefficient buildings we construct today will have to be renovated at greater cost later, adding to the challenge we’re already facing in renovating the majority of the existing building stock.” “The continued growth of emissions in the building sector is in direct contrast with the maturity of the technological solutions available — the tools have been there for decades, but the sector’s using them far too little,” added Sebastian Sterl of NewClimate Institute. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | November 10, 2016
Founder and CEO of Climate Analytics, Bill Hare speaks during a press conference, at the UN Climate Change Conference 2016 (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco, November 10, 2016. REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters) - Donald Trump's election as U.S. president muddies the outlook for efforts to cut greenhouse gases and could mean U.S. emissions stay flat until 2030, compared with deep cuts planned by President Barack Obama, scientists said on Thursday. Republican Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and is expected to favor the coal and oil industries, opposes last year's Paris Agreement by almost 200 nations to combat global warming. In the past year "national climate policies have made little progress, and the road ahead looks even less clear after the results of the U.S. presidential elections," three European scientific groups said in a report of global trends. "If President Trump abandons current policies as he has threatened to do, we estimate that in 2030, U.S. emissions will be similar to what they are today," said Niklas Hoehne, of NewClimate Institute, one of the research groups. Obama promised in Paris to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by between 26 and 28 percent by 2025 from 2005 levels. U.S. data show emissions were down 9 percent in 2014, compared to 2005. A Climate Action Tracker compiled by the researchers, issued at U.N. talks on climate change in Marrakesh, projected that existing policies including Obama's would lead to a warming in global temperatures of 2.8 degrees Celsius (5.0 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times by 2100. That is fractionally above a projected 2.7C (4.9F) rise in average surface temperatures estimated a year ago, largely due to technical revisions. Current policies need to be ratcheted up to achieve a goal set in Paris of limiting global warming to "well below" 2C (3.6F) by curbing a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases blamed for causing downpours, heatwaves and rising seas, the scientists said. It was too early to say how Trump's policies might affect the global outlook, they added. His election "would increase our (global) temperature estimate, but there are huge uncertainties," Hoehne said. Still, the study said a shift to renewable energies was likely to continue thanks to factors such as falling prices of solar power and wind power and improved ranges for electric vehicles. "Provided political leaders globally maintain their commitment to action, these tailwinds mean we should be able to ride through the turbulence that a climate skeptic in the White House could bring," said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.
News Article | November 17, 2016
The Climate Action Tracker outlined the ten most important short-term steps the world must take in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) is an independent scientific analysis produced by three research organizations — Climate Analytics, Ecofys, and NewClimate Institute — tracking global climate action and efforts towards the globally agreed target of restricting global warming to 2°C since 2009. Released alongside the United Nations climate change talks happening in Marrakech, CAT published a report entitled 10 Steps: The Ten Most Important Short-Term Steps To Limit Warming To 1.5°C, which does just as its name suggests it would. The report spells out ten steps that all key sectors — energy generation, road transport, buildings, industry, forestry and land use, and commercial agriculture — must immediately begin enacting if we are to cut emissions. Scientists with CAT also warned that if one sector was to do less than the others — particularly the energy, industry, and transport sectors — they would leave behind a high-emissions legacy for several decades. They also point out that lack of action could result in a failure to set in motion the wider-system changes necessary to achieve the required long-term transformation. The ten steps are as follows: “Achieving these ten steps would put the world on a pathway to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C,” said Professor Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute. “For all of them, we show signs that a transition of this magnitude is possible: in many cases it’s already happening.” First and foremost is the electricity sector, which currently accounts for one-quarter of global emissions, and according to CAT, “needs to undertake the fastest transformation, and must be fully decarbonised by 2050.” “Renewables are the lowest carbon option in the electricity sector, and show the most promise,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys. “If renewables were to continue to grow at today’s rate through to 2025, it would set this sector on a path to full decarbonisation— and the power system and electricity markets need to get ready for this transformation.” The full report is available to read (PDF), for anyone wanting to dig further into each of the ten steps laid out by CAT. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | September 15, 2016
OSLO (Reuters) - The last gasoline-powered car will have to be sold by about 2035 to put the world on track to limit global warming to the most stringent goal set by world leaders last year, a study said on Thursday. The report, by a Climate Action Tracker (CAT) backed by three European research groups, said a drastic shift was needed towards clean electric cars and fuel efficiency since transport emits about 14 percent of world greenhouse gas emissions. Last December, world leaders at a Paris summit set a goal of limiting a rise in temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times while "pursuing efforts" for a much tougher 1.5 C (2.7F) ceiling. "We calculate that the last gasoline/diesel car will have to be sold by roughly 2035," the CAT report said, to make the car fleet consistent with staying below 1.5C. It assumes the last fossil-fuel vehicles would be on the roads until 2050. The CAT is one of the main groups that monitors government actions to restrict global warming and includes researchers who are authors on U.N. climate reports. "It's striking that it's so early - it means a huge change in the whole automobile industry," Niklas Höhne, of the NewClimate Institute, told Reuters. The other think-tanks behind the report were Ecofys and Climate Analytics. The phase-out is earlier than set by most car makers. Toyota, for instance, has a "zero carbon dioxide emissions challenge" for new vehicles under which it aims to cut emissions from its vehicles by 90 percent by 2050, from 2010 levels. Many scientists reckon that the 1.5C goal, seen by many developing nations as a dangerous threshold for droughts, floods and rising sea levels, has already slipped out of reach and that the 2C limit is growing close. They believe temperatures will almost inevitably overshoot 1.5C, and that new technologies will be needed to turn down the global thermostat later this century. This year is set to be the warmest on record, with temperatures around 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial times. The CAT report focused most on the promise of electric vehicles, developed by manufacturers from General Motors to Tesla. Other options are cars run on biofuels or hydrogen. The study said a greener transport sector would require a parallel shift to clean power generation, to avoid charging electric cars on power based on fossil fuels. "Electric vehicles are still more expensive to purchase than other cars, and policy projections still only see a share of around five percent of electric vehicles in the total European Union, China and U.S. fleets by 2030," the report said.
News Article | September 3, 2016
The historic climate deal reached in Paris in December will only take effect after 55 nations responsible for 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it (AFP Photo/Francois Guillot) Eight months after 195 nations concluded a hard-fought climate rescue pact, pressure is mounting to put its carbon-cutting promises into action as world leaders gather at G20 and UN meetings this month. The historic deal reached in Paris in December has been signed by 180 countries, but will only take effect after 55 nations responsible for 55 percent of greenhouse gas emissions have ratified it -- making it binding. China -- responsible for around 25 percent of global carbon emissions -- ratified the pact Saturday, ahead of a meeting of G20 leaders where the United States is also expected to follow suit, considerably boosting efforts. Until Beijing joined the club, only 24 nations emitting just over one percent of the global total had officially acceded, according to the UN climate body overseeing the deal to cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. "As 2016 heads into the record books as likely the hottest year ever recorded in history, it is a reminder that we have precious little time left to act to keep global temperature rise well below 2 C," Pascal Canfin of environmental group WWF said ahead of a two-day G20 summit opening in Hangzhou, eastern China, on Sunday. "We have the Paris Agreement to guide our way. Now we need governments to implement it," he said in a statement. China and the United States are jointly responsible for about 38 percent of emissions and had been widely expected to announce ratification at the Hangzhou gathering, which begins Sunday and brings together world leaders representing 85 percent of global GDP and two-thirds of its population. This will be followed on September 21 by UN chief Ban Ki-moon hosting a gathering on the sidelines of the General Assembly to beat the drum for ratification. The Climate Action Network (CAN), a global NGO grouping, urged G20 leaders in an open letter to ratify the pact "as soon as possible" as a restatement of political commitment. Early ratification would "also give a strong signal globally to business, cities and ordinary citizens to act ambitiously on climate change," it said. The pact sets out to curb warming by replacing atmosphere-polluting fossil fuels with renewable sources -- an ambitious goal towards which most UN nations have already pledged emissions curbs. This is meant to stave off the worst-case-scenario effects of violent droughts, storms and sea-level rise threatened by excessive planet warming. Only by ratification, however, does a country agree to be bound to an international agreement of this kind, explained the World Resources Institute (WRI), a climate think tank. Depending on constitutional provisions, many countries need to pass domestic legislation to do so. On Thursday, France's climate envoy Segolene Royal urged Paris-based ambassadors to agitate for speedy ratification by their respective nations. France hosted the UN huddle dubbed COP 21 (21st Conference of Parties) which yielded the climate pact. It will preside over the process until Morocco takes over as host of the next round of talks from November 7 to 18. Ratification before the Marrakech meet, said Royal, "will allow COP 22 to be a COP of action", focusing on practical solutions for reaching the set goals. With some 30 other nations having indicated their intent to formally adopt the pact, Royal may very well get her way. "Our assessment is that 55 parties are likely to ratify this year, representing 58 percent" of emissions," said the WRI's David Waskow. "It is a much more rapid process... than we have seen in the past for climate or any international regime of this type." By comparison, it took eight years for the Kyoto Protocol, which preceded the Paris agreement, to enter into force. The G20 meeting will be closely watched for progress. "The G20 countries generate about 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions," said Christoph Bals of the Germanwatch pressure group. "On that account they play a decisive role for the implementation of the ambitious Paris targets." More important even than ratification, observers agree, is cutting fossil fuel subsidies and other funding. "If G20 countries were to rid themselves of their reliance on coal, this would significantly impact their ability to increase their climate pledges and get their emissions trajectories on a below 2C pathway," said researcher Niklas Hohne of the NewClimate Institute. On current pledges, the planet will warm by a dangerous 3 C, according to scientists. But there has been progress too: China's declining coal use, an 18-percent increase in renewable energy since 2008, and the declining price of solar energy, NGOs say.
News Article | November 10, 2015
The report, by a new organization of scientists and other experts called Climate Transparency, also said 15 of the G20 members has seen strong growth in renewable energy in recent years. "Climate action by the G20 has reached a turning point, with per capita emissions falling in 11 members, and renewable energy growing strongly," the group said in a statement. The G20 accounts for about three-quarters of world greenhouse gases. It said G20 members "must all urgently decarbonize their economies" to meet a U.N. goal to limit average temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels to limit heat waves, floods and rising seas. Leaders of the G20, led by the United States and China, will meet in Turkey on Nov. 15-16. And France will host talks among almost 200 nations from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 to agree a plan to limit climate change beyond 2030. The report said the trend in per capita carbon emissions over the five years to 2012 was down in Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, the European Union, South Africa, Italy, France and Mexico. Per capita emissions were still rising in the most populous G20 nations, China and India. They were also up in Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Russia, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia. Still, that marked a shift in long-term trends. Over the past quarter century, G20 carbon dioxide emissions had risen by almost 50 percent while per capita emissions had gained by about 18 percent, reflecting population growth, it said. Alvaro Umana, a former Costa Rican environment minister and co-chair of Climate Transparency, said greater G20 cooperation on climate change was a "diplomatic landmark" after years of divisions between developing and developed nations on the issue. "But G20 countries need to do more," he told Reuters. Overall G20 greenhouse gas emissions averaged 11 tonnes per person per year, against what the report said was a goal of one to three tonnes by 2050 to get warming under control. Promised actions "are still far way from what’s necessary for the 2C goal," said Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute, one of the groups behind the initiative.