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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Climate policies on the rise globally, but ambition level still lacking

The latest assessment of country emissions and climate policies aggregated globally shows that there is still a substantial gap to meet, according to Climate Analytics, who have been analysing and tracking country climate policies and global emissions for the last decade on their Climate Action Tracker website.

If all governments achieve their largely insufficient climate targets, the world will see 3.0˚C of warming by 2100, twice the 1.5˚C limit they agreed in Paris three years ago their latest analysis shows. This analysis does not include the potential for climate feedbacks and tipping points in the climate system that might boost the level of global warming to 'Hothouse Earth' conditions (Study).

Current Government pledges in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) would lead to warming of 3.3˚C.

If governments were to implement the planned or additional policies they have in the pipeline, warming would also be limited to 3.0°C by 2100.

In 2018 the analysis revealed some progress, a shift since Paris in 2015. Real movement on the ground has been detected with Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the EU, India and Morocco taking significant steps in the right direction, and with other countries also taking action.

“We are seeing a stirring of new climate policies in the real world: if this were extended and scaled up, these combined efforts could actually begin to bend the emissions curve,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, a Navigant company.

“But there are some governments delaying global progress: Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, the UAE and the US, and many of these countries are beginning to see the reality of climate change impacts.”

In other parts of the world, climate action has been mixed over the past year. Countries like Norway and Costa Rica are forging ahead with electrifying their transportation and renewable energy, but China’s emissions worryingly rose again for a second year running. Brazil’s elections brought global concern.

“We have seen encouraging policy developments with several countries publishing, adopting or reinforcing energy or electricity sector roadmaps. With the prices for renewables dropping roughly a third since Paris, both South Africa and Chile are mapping out strategies to address coal, and renewables are taking off in India,” said Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.

Australia is rated as insufficient, with no climate policy progress, and policies consistent with 3 degrees of global warming.

Australia’s emissions from fossil fuels and industry continue to rise and, based on the most recent quarterly inventory, are now 6% above 2005 levels and increasing at around 1% since 2014. Under current polices these emissions are headed for an increase of 9% above 2005 levels by 2030, rather than the 15–17% decrease in these emissions required to meet Australia’s Paris Agreement target. This means Australia’s emissions are set to far outpace its “Insufficient” 2030 target. Read More

Question on Australia using carryover credits to meet Paris Targets

A question was asked at the media conference (video on-demand) on the possibility and legality of Australia using Kyoto carryover credits to meet it's Paris Agreement Targets:

Question from Carbon Pulse reporter: There has been some talk this morning that some countries such as Australia are thinking of using carryover credits from the Kyoto period to meet their Paris target. I was wondering if you could clarify the legality of doing that and also, like the way forward, can they realistically in the end do that? or not? I wonder what needs to happen?

Response from Bill Hare: I understand Australia wants to carry over it's Kyoto surplus estimated at around 300 megatonnes which would, if it was allowed to do so, would halve the amount of domestic action it would need to undertake to meet its already insufficient target.

On the legality issue, I think it is fairly clear that unless there is a specific reference against that in the Paris Agreement rulebook, then parties would push to use that carryover. The New Zealand delegation had also been supporting carryover up until this morning and I heard that the Minister has said that New Zealand will not support that. So, as far as we can tell there remains one country only doing that. That would be a big loophole in the system essentially.

The Background to this was Peter Hannam's story: 'Fake action': Australia's secret path to hitting Paris climate goals and a followup story on New Zealand Climate Minister James Shaw ruling out use of carryover credits by New Zealand: New Zealand rules out using 'Kyoto credits' for Paris, Australia shtum.

It should be noted that neither the Environment Minister Melissa Price or the shadow Climate and Energy minister Mark Butler have ruled out Australia's use of Kyoto carryover credits to meet Paris targets. In particular, the Labor Party needs to step up on this and rule out the unethical use of carryover credits by Australia.

A few slides from the press conference

The Bad Guys: Need to do much better

The Good Guys: Showing signs of improving

The current status globally:

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