19 November 2019
Climate Transparency Review Warns All G20 Countries Need to Increase NDC Ambition
Photo Credit : Drazen/iStock
story highlights

The G20’s energy mix is 82% fossil fuels.

To be “1.5°C compatible,” this percentage must decrease to at least 67% by 2030 and 33% by 2050.

G20 emissions increased in the power, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use sectors.

Climate Transparency has released the 2019 ‘Brown to Green’ report, an annual review of climate action by the Group of 20 (G20). The report analyzes G20 country mitigation, adaptation and finance measures, and assesses where G20 countries are in relation to 1.5°C benchmarks.

The publication titled, ‘Brown to Green: The G20 Transition Towards a Net-Zero Emissions Economy,’ finds that China, the EU and its G20 member States, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are projected to meet or surpass their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets, when land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions are excluded. If LULUCF emissions are considered, Indonesia is unlikely to meet its NDC. Without additional action, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the US may miss their NDC targets. The Republic of Korea, Canada and Australia are the furthest off track to implement their NDCs.

The report warns that all G20 countries would have to increase their NDC ambition to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, and cautions that economic growth and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions “have not been fully decoupled.” In 2018, G20 energy-related CO2 emissions increased by 1.8%, and 82% of the G20’s energy mix is still fossil fuels. To be “1.5°C compatible,” the report cautions, this percentage must decrease to at least 67% by 2030 and 33% by 2050, and without carbon, capture and storage (CCS), these percentages must decrease even further. The report states that G20 countries need to reduce current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by a minimum of 45% in 2030, below 2010 levels, to align with 1.5°C benchmarks. Further, countries must reach net-zero emissions by 2070.

The report identifies the 3.1% increase in industrial emissions as “highly problematic.”

The report finds an “increasing drive” around net-zero emission targets. France and the UK have net-zero 2050 emission goals enshrined in law. Germany adopted a net-zero 2050 emission target that is expected to become law soon. Argentina, the EU, Italy and Mexico also announced the adoption of net-zero emission targets.

G20 emissions in 2018 increased in the power, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use sectors. Emissions increased the most in the building sector, with a 4.1% rise, and the highest building emissions per capita in the US, Australia and Saudi Arabia, all of which lack policies to substantially reduce emissions in the sector. In contrast, the EU, France and Germany have long-term strategies for retrofitting existing buildings and strategies for “zero-energy” new buildings. The report identifies the 3.1% increase in industrial emissions as “highly problematic,” noting that no G20 country has a long-term strategy in place to reduce them. Power sector emissions increased by 1.6%, with Indonesia and Turkey burning an increasing amount of coal for electricity. South Africa has the highest emission intensity in the G20. The report calls for Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey to develop coal phase-out plans and stop building additional coal power plants. The report further recommends coal phase-out plans for Australia, India, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea and the US.

On adaptation, the report finds that all G20 countries, except Saudi Arabia, have adaptation plans, suggesting increased attention to adaptation in national adaptation strategies. Still, according to the report, extreme weather events lead to 16,000 deaths and USD 42 billion in economic losses in G20 countries every year. In addition, several G20 countries are among the top 31 globally with the highest annual death rates per population from extreme weather events. The report states that limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C could reduce negative impacts in G20 countries by over 70%, including by reducing the average drought length by 68%.

On finance, the report finds that G20 countries are leading in greening the financial system, and all G20 countries have begun discussing green financial principles, including climate-related financial risks and national green finance strategies. G20 emerging economies lead in implementing policies to reduce climate-related risks for the financial system overall. Although G20 countries, excluding Saudi Arabia, provided USD 127 billion in coal, oil and gas subsidies in 2017, this amount is lower than the USD 248 billion provided in 2013. Nine G20 countries (Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US) show a downward trend in fossil fuel subsidies. The report calls for all G20 countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. [Publication: Brown to Green: The G20 Transition Towards a Net-Zero Emissions Economy] [Climate Transparency Report Webpage]

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