Global Spotlight Report #40: Emissions Stocktaking

Introduction

Post 40 is intended to provide an update on the status of efforts by leading greenhouse gas emitting countries to reduce emissions, and, more specifically, commit to Climate Scorecard’s five climate commitment goals:

  1. a commitment to the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030;
  2. a plan for implementing its 2030 goal;
  3. a commitment to the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050;
  4. a plan for implementing its 2050 goal;
  5. an updated Paris Agreement pledge that includes commitments 1-4 above.

Results from our country stocktaking exercise are far from stellar. Only the United Kingdom and the European Union meet all 5 commitments. The vast majority of countries fail to measure up; perhaps most disturbingly, many have yet to submit a new Paris Agreement emissions reduction pledge with increased levels of ambition (as requested in the Agreement for all countries to do by 2020).

The country data on emission levels also lacks comparability in certain areas. For example, some countries (e.g. China and India) measure emissions intensity while most others measure changes in absolute emission levels. Additionally, countries use different base years for measuring changes in emissions and different modeling frameworks; some countries use a Business-As-Usual model rather than an actual base year. There also are countries, such as Russia and Brazil, that rely extensively on the absorptive capacity of their forests for capturing reductions in their emissions, an approach that tends to diminish the contribution of industrial level emissions by these countries.

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, most countries postponed making their updated Paris Agreement pledges until this year. But time is catching up to them. There remain only a few short months before COP 26 in Glasgow, a time when we would hope to celebrate an increased level of global ambition and resolve to address climate change.

Country Commitment Summaries

Australia:  Has a 2030 goal of reducing emissions by 32% above 1990 levels that includes LULCUF; it lacks a plan for reaching this goal; emissions from energy, transport, and industrial processes have risen 18% since 1990; there is no commitment to a 2050 net zero emissions goal. Australia has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Brazil: Has made a 2020 NDC pledge to reduce emissions up to 43% by 2030 but with a high baseline emissions level (lessening the impact of its pledge), and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Brazil has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Canada: Has committed to a 30% reduction in GGE by 2030 below 2005 levels; has pledged to propose further 2030 reductions; has committed to a net zero emissions target by 2050; has put forward several plans for reaching its 2030 goal but does not yet have a plan for becoming net zero by 2050. It has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

China: Measures carbon intensity over 2005 levels rather than absolute emission levels; has pledged to lessen carbon intensity by 50% to 65% below 2005 levels by 2030; has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2060. What current planning details for achieving China’s 2030 and 2050 goals are contained in its current 5-year plan. It has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

European Union (EU): The EU has recently updated its Paris Agreement pledge and has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emission levels by 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The European Commission recently came out with a detailed plan for reaching these goals, focused on increased prices for carbon in nearly every sector. Additional implementation details are contained in the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), its Effort Sharing Regulation, and its Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation.

France: France’s current law targets a 40% decrease in emissions by 2030 over 1990 levels and is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050; it is relying on an extensive framework of intersecting European and national laws and regulations to achieve these targets. Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation, France is asked to make a 37% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2030.

Germany: Committed to a 55% reduction in emissions over 1990 levels by 2030, and to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The major plans for reaching these goals are contained in the Federal Climate Change Act (2019) and the Climate Action Program 2030 (2019). Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation Germany is asked to make a 38% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2030.

India: Measures changes in carbon intensity rather than changes in absolute emission levels. Plans to reduce emission intensity of its GDP by 33% to 35% over 2005 levels by 2030; it has a number of initiatives but no coordinated plan in place to reach this goal; it also has not yet committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Indonesia: Made a 2015 Paris Agreement pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 29% by 2030 using a business-as-usual model and by 41% if international assistance is provided. Much of the proposed reduction would come from the LULUCF sector, allowing other emissions to more than double; Indonesia has not committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Italy: Italy has adopted the EU climate goal of reducing emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050, but it lacks plans for reaching these goals. Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation Italy is asked to make a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2030.

Japan: Has recently updated its Paris Agreement pledge and seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emission levels by 46% from 2013 levels by 2030 and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan, now being revised, is the main implementation vehicle for reaching its 2030 goal. As of yet there is no long-term plan for reaching Japan’s 2050 goal.

Mexico: In its 2015 Paris Agreement Pledge, Mexico committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 22% by 2030 (below 1990 levels) and 50% by 2050. However, since that time, a new government has been elected that shows little interest in further reducing emissions and updating its Paris Agreement Pledge.

Nigeria: Currently Nigeria is committed to its 2015 unconditional target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below business as usual (BAU) and a conditional (based on international support) target of 45% below BAU by 2030. It still lacks a plan for reaching this goal, though it has indicated that it will soon be revising its 2015 pledge. It has not committed to the long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Russia: Russia ratified its Paris Agreement in 2019. On November 25, 2020, Russia submitted an updated NDC target to the UNFCCC. The new target matches the target stipulated by Presidential Decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in November; the target includes a reduction of emissions by at least 30% below 1990 levels. The pledge relies on the maximum possible absorptive capacity of forests (a strategy that is not supported by the Paris Agreement). It plans to become carbon neutral by 2100. Plans for achieving the 2030 and 2050 goals are still in process.

Saudi Arabia: The government plans on reducing the country’s emissions by 130 MtCO2e per year by 2030, relying on a business-as-usual baseline. It first made a commitment to generate 57.8 GW of energy through renewables by 2040, as part of its “Saudi 2030” plan. However, this commitment has been delayed to 2040, in response to lower oil prices and reduced revenue from its oil exports. As yet it does not have a long-term goal for becoming carbon neutral and has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

South Africa: South Africa proposed in its 2015 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) 2020 to reduce GHG emissions in the range of 398 MtCO2 to 440 MtCO2 by the year 2030. The upper range of the proposed 2030 target range represents a 28% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels. It has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge. South Africa aspires to be carbon neutral by 2050 through the Low Emissions Development Strategy (LEDS).

South Korea: South Korea’s 2015 Paris Agreement NDC pledge proposes to reduce its emissions by 37% from 1990 levels by 2030 following a Business As Usual model. It has recently committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 but does not have a detailed plan for reaching this target. Last year the President announced a green new deal package including a commitment to boost renewable energy and low carbon infrastructure. South Korea has not yet updated its Paris Agreement pledge.

Spain: In alignment with the European Union pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030. Spain’s plan for achieving this goal is contained in its National Integrated Energy and Climate Plans (203102930). Spain is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and has put in place a long-term decarbonization strategy for achieving this goal. Under the EU Effort Sharing Regulation Spain is asked to make a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 2005 levels by 2030.

Turkey: Turkey made an unconditional Paris Agreement pledge in 2015 to reduce emissions by 21% by 2030 using a Business As Usual approach. However, it is the only EU country that has not ratified the Paris Agreement. President Erdogan stated in 2020 that 1.92 billion cubic meters of greenhouse gases will be prevented from being released into the environment by 2030, including a reduction of 66.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission reduction by 2023.No commitment to a 2050 reduction of GHG emission levels has been made by the Turkish Government.

Ukraine: Ukraine aims for a 65% reduction (issued on 1st of April 2021) of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 (to be affirmed in a forthcoming Paris Agreement pledge). The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources has put forward a plan for achieving this goal. Ukraine also plans to be carbon neutral by 2060, a pledge also to be affirmed in its forthcoming updated Paris Agreement NDC.

United Kingdom: The UK’s new Paris Agreement NDC commits it to reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The UK recently doubled down on this figure, announcing a further reduction during the April US Climate Action Week/Earth Week (78% by 2035). The UK’s path to meeting this target is supported by the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution. The UK was the first major economy to embrace a legal obligation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

United States: Under the Biden Administration, the U.S. has rejoined the Paris Agreement and is now committed to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. In keeping with the global standard, the U.S. is also committed to achieving economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050. The government has yet to provide a breakdown of its plan to achieve its 2030 and 2050 targets.


Country Reports

Australia’s Current Emissions—From Energy, Transport, and Industrial Processes Have Risen 18% Since 1990

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Australia Country Manager Julian AtchisonAustralia’s current emissions—emissions from energy, transport, and industrial processes have risen 18% since 1990 The latest official government figures for Australia’s overall emissions show they have fallen to levels not seen since the mid 90s. Since 1990, there’s been about a 20% fall: Source:…

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Brazil’s President Has Committed the Country to Become Carbon Neutral by 2050

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Elis Cotosky   The most recent Brazilian GHG emissions data is from 2019, and it is provided by SEEG Brazil.1 The emission estimates are built according to IPCC guidelines, and are based on two main data points: The framework of the Brazilian Inventories of Anthropogenic…

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Canada’s Latest Reported Greenhouse Gas Emissions Level: a 21.4% Increase Compared to 1990

Submitted by Canada Country Manager Diane SzollerCanada’s Latest Reported Greenhouse Gas Emissions Level: 730 MT CO2 eq in 2019, a 21.4% increase compared to 603 Mt CO2 eq in 1990 (Data source Environment and Climate Change Canada reporting) Emission Reduction Goals Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Ministry submits a national greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) inventory…

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While GHG Levels Keep Rising With Increasing Industrial Activity in China, Carbon Intensity Has Been On Continuous Downward Trajectory

Submitted by China Country Manager Annette WiedenbachCurrent GHG Emissions China’s most recent data on Greenhouse Gas emissions, or most concretely on carbon dioxide emissions, is covered by a number of databases. A wide variety of databases follow greenhouse gas emissions developments in China. Their data for 2019 CO2 and CO2 equivalent (CO2e) emissions range from…

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European Commission’s Goal is to Have Reduced EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions By 55% Compared to 1990 Levels

Submitted by EU Country Manager Brittany DemogenesCurrent Level of Greenhouse Gas Emissions According to Climate Action Network, which has been tracking climate change since 2009, the most recent data detailing EU emissions is from 2019 when the EU emitted 4159 MtCO2. Climate Action Network gathered emissions data provided by the various EU countries to provide…

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France’s Current Law Targets Decrease Emissions by 40% by 2030 Compared to 1990 Levels

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard France Country Manager Stephanie Tapolsky   France’s current law targets decrease emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. As one of the first European countries to pass a carbon neutrality law, la LOI n° 2019-1147 du 8 novembre 2019 relative à l’énergie et au climat was…

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Germany Announces 65% Emissions Reduction by 2030 and Climate Neutrality by 2050

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Germany Country Manager Zahi Badra Germany Announces 65% Emissions Reduction by 2030 and Climate Neutrality by 2050 The last report of the federal environmental agency (UBA), published in March 2021, shows that by the end of 2020, Germany had reduced 40.8% of its emissions comparing to the 1990…

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Italy Reduced Its Emissions by 19.4% Between 1990 and 2019

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Italy Country Manager Andrea Bruno   Italy Reduced Its Emissions by 19.4% Between 1990 and 2019 Italy’s efforts and targets to reduce emissions are inherently connected with the EU decisions and guidelines. Recently, the European Union has drafted a new deal on the European Climate Law aimed at…

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India Plans to Reduce the Emissions Intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 Levels

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard India Country Manager Pooran Chandra PandeyIndia Plans to Reduce the Emissions Intensity of GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 Levels Prior to COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, India submitted its Intended NDC (INDC) to UNFCCC, outlining country’s post 2020 climate actions. This…

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Indonesia’s 2030 Climate Goals Are Insufficient

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Indonesia Country Manager Ruby Orim   Indonesia’s 2030 Climate Goals Are Insufficient According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Indonesia’s total CO2 emissions in the most recent year, 2018, was 542.88 Mt of CO2. This is over a 313% increase from their total CO2 emissions in 1990. Indonesia’s…

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Japan Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 46% Over 2013 Levels by 2030

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Japan Country Manager Yun-Tzu Lin   Japan Aims to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 46% Over 2013 Levels by 2030 Japan’s most current level of GHG emissions is approximately 1.213 billion tons in 2019, a 2.9% decrease compared to 1.247 billion tons in 2018. Its 2019 GHG emissions…

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Mexico Has Shown Little Interest in Reducing Emissions and Updating Its Paris Agreement Pledge

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Mexico Country Manager Pablo David Necoechea Porras Mexico Has Shown Little Interest in Reducing Emissions and Updating Its Paris Agreement Pledge According to the International Energy Agency, in 2018, Mexico had 448.45 Mt. of CO2 emissions, representing +74.52% from 1990. However, on the Secretariat of Government, the Mexican…

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Nigeria Has Not Yet Committed to Becoming Carbon Neutral

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen   GHG Emissions in Nigeria Continue to Rise Nigeria has seen a drastic increase in its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially in the past 10 years. In 1990, the country’s GHG emissions were at 249.87Mt of CO2E. By 2009, it had only…

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Russia Has Set an Ambitious Goal for Reducing Emissions by 2030

This post was submitted by Russia Country Manager Michael OshchepkovAccording to the international scientific and political consensus, the main cause of climate change on the planet is the increase in the average annual temperature of the atmosphere. The main causes are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), which accounted for 63.1% and 32.4% of…

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Saudi Arabia’s CO2 Emissions Have Increased Over 3x Since 1990

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Country Managers Abeer Abdulkareem and Amgad EllaboudySaudi Arabia’s most current carbon dioxide emission number sits at 582.1 million tons per year, as of 2019. This is more than a threefold increase from its baseline emissions in 1990 of 185.5 million tons per year. Saudi’s share of…

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South Africa Aspires To Be Carbon Neutral By 2050

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard South Africa Country Manager Andrew John HallAccording to Climate Action Tracker (2020), in 2017 South Africa emitted 556.4 megatons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2). In 2017, in comparison to 1990 in which the emission of CO2 was 354.7MtCO2, an increase of ~36 % of GHGs was emitted in just…

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As Part of the EU, Spain Has Climate Target Plan by 2030

This post was submitted by Spain Country Manager Wendy Paredes According to the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, due in March 2021, the total Greenhouse Gases (GHG) emissions in Spain estimated for 2019 were 314,528.5 kilotonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2-eq). This constitutes an increase of 8.5% with respect to the base year 1990 and a…

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Turkey Has Not Yet Made a Commitment to Reduce Greenhouse Gases By a Certain Percentage By 2030

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Nemanja Bozovic Current level of greenhouse gas emissions In 2019, the Republic of Turkey emitted 506.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which represented an increase of 130.5% over 1990 levels according to the Turkish government statistical agency TURKSTAT (Figure 1). However, there was a decrease…

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UK was First Major Economy to Embrace a Legal Obligation to Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

This post was submitted by UK Country Managers Thomas Christensen and Gwenyth WrenCurrent level of greenhouse gas emissions In 2019, net emissions in the UK were estimated to be 454.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e), a decrease of 2.8% compared to the 2018 figure of 468.1 million tonnes and 43.8% lower than they were…

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Ukraine Seeks a 65% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Compared to 1990 Levels by 2030

This Post was subnitted by Climate Scorecard Ukraine Country Manager Anastasiia Bushovska   Ukraine Seeks a 65% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Compared to 1990 Levels by 2030 A  National Inventory Report from Ukraine to UNFCCC in 2021 provides the following data: GHG emissions in Ukraine in 2019 amounted to 332.11 Mt CO2-eq., excluding LULUCF….

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U.S. is Committed to Reducing its Emissions by 50-52 Percent Below 2005 Levels by 2030

This post was submitted by US Country Manager Nathan Holman   Current Level of Greenhouse Gas Emissions In 2019, net greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. totaled 5,769 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMT CO2 Eq.). This number accounts for greenhouse gas sinks. Total 2019 emissions in the U.S. (not accounting for sinks)…

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