Sep 11, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Global climate ambition gets fresh boost, as world lags on Paris Agreement goals

Illustration for the immense challenge of tackling climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A one-two punch of diplomatic news shows new global ambition — and just how far off-pace the world remains on meeting Paris Agreement goals.

Catch up fast: The weekend Group of 20 heads of state meeting in India produced a joint pledge to triple renewables capacity by 2030, endorsing a plank of COP28 president-designate Sultan al-Jaber.

  • The broad declaration also vows to boost finance for developing nations, including more muscular efforts by multilateral development banks.

Of note: The meeting also formally brought the African Union into the G20, potentially amplifying the group's voice on climate and energy matters.

Yes, but: The document doesn't set goals for curbing use of fossil fuels overall beyond (briefly) reiterating support for phasing down coal-fired generation. That brings us to the second piece of news.

  • A day before the G20 declaration, a United Nations report tallied the huge gap between the current emissions path and Paris temperature-limiting goals.

What they found: It highlights some progress since the Paris Agreement was reached in 2015, but not remotely enough.

  • It's packed with lines like this: "Urgent action and support are needed to ramp up implementation of domestic mitigation measures by realizing opportunities across all sectors and systems."

Sobering stat: Via Andrew's coverage Friday, "[e]missions reductions on the order of 43% globally, compared to 2019 levels, by 2030 are needed in order to have a chance at limiting warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above preindustrial levels," the report finds.

State of play: The report is part of the first "global stocktake" under Paris, meant to inform nations' pledges and plans through the largely non-binding pact.

What they're saying: The climate group E3G said the G20 outcome had several strong points but fell short.

  • "[I]ncreasing renewables needs to go hand in hand with phasing out fossil fuels, which is completely missing. We need stronger, bolder action from leaders on both. All eyes now on COP28 — can the leaders deliver?," E3G's Madhura Joshi said in a statement.

The bottom line: The G20 outcome and U.N. report set the table for difficult negotiations at the late-year COP28 summit.

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