bneGREEN: COP26 sectoral initiatives could close 2030 emissions gap by 9%

By Richard Lockhart in Edinburgh November 11, 2021

An initial assessment by Climate Action Tracker of the impact of the Glasgow sectoral announcements for methane, coal, forests and transport show they would reduce the 2030 emissions gap between current government action and a 1.5C pathway by just 9%, or 2.2bn tonnes of CO2e.

This includes only the signatories of respective initiatives as of 10 November, 2021, and only accounts for reductions that are not already planned to achieve the submitted NDCs.

The environmental think-tank said that that the 9% reductions created by these Glasgow sectoral initiatives mean that the total emissions gap in 2030 would fall by a total of 24-25%. This is divided into 9% for the sectoral updates and 15-17% for the updated NDCs submitted so far by national governments.

The think-tank urged governments to update their NDCs if participation in any sectoral initiatives were not covered already by their targets. If these initiatives gather more support, they could further reduce the gap by several GtCO2e.

“Even with all new pledges and such sectoral initiatives for 2030, global emissions are still expected to be almost twice as high in 2030 as necessary to for a 1.5°C compatible pathway. Therefore, all governments need to reconsider their targets towards COP27 in 2022 to jointly enhance mitigation ambition,” said Climate Action Tracker (CAT).

CAT said that the global methane pledge, which importantly is supported by the US, would account for 800mn tonnes of CO2e reductions by 2030.

If more countries signed up, such as China, India and Russia, the emissions could fall by 1.4-2.4mn tonnes.

Meanwhile, the current pledges to reduce coal in power generation would reduce emissions by 200mn tonnes. CAT said that this was still far below the required 80% reduction of global coal use in electricity generation below 2010 levels.

If more countries supported the end of coal, then the impact could grow to around 2bn tonnes.

The move to zero-emission vehicles would create 100mn tonnes of additional emissions reductions.

CAT said that if all governments, including major automobile manufacturing countries such as Germany and the US, were to sign up to the declaration, the additional emission reductions could be as high as 750mn tonnes.

Finally, COP26’s deforestation agreement, which aims to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, could provide 1.1bn tonnes of new emissions reductions. This could be as high as 2-3bn tonnes if countries who did not support the agreement, principally Indonesia, signed up.