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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The most ambitious Paris temperature target could nearly be met if only the Group of 20 largest economies were to slash emissions by 2030, on the way to net-zero by 2050, a new analysis finds.

Why it matters: Ahead of the November UN Climate Summit, pressure is mounting on G20 leaders to crack down further on emissions in order to stave off some of the worst ravages of global warming.

Details: The report, from the World Resources Institute and Climate Analytics, finds that assuming current emissions pledges, plus net-zero commitments, are met, the world is on course to seeing 2.4°C (4.32°F) of warming compared to preindustrial levels by 2100.

  • New pledges not yet formalized would get the world down to 2.1°C (3.78°F) of warming.
  • The Paris target is 1.5°C (2.7°F) above preindustrial levels by 2100.

Threat level: If major progress is not made to cut emissions this decade, countries would have to curtail them so significantly between 2030 and 2050 that it would be nearly impossible to do in practice.

Yes, but: "Targets" and emissions "pledges" are not the same as policy, and the G20 countries are coming under added pressure to translate the former into the latter.

Of note: The report finds that many G20 countries have not yet announced accelerated emissions reductions. Some have presented marginally more aggressive cuts compared to earlier plans or weakened their prior commitments.

  • Some have not formally agreed to net-zero emissions targets at all.

What they’re saying: “We are never going to address the climate crisis if G20 countries don't step up to the plate,” said Taryn Fransen, senior fellow at WRI, in a statement.

  • She added that the lack of aggressive climate plans from several major economies “should be setting off alarm bells in capitals across the globe.”

Go deeper

Biden admin announces tougher fuel mileage standards

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it will tighten pollution standards for cars and light trucks in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.

Why it matters: Transportation overall is the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so tougher standards for passenger vehicles are a major part of efforts to curb CO2 output.

Updated Dec 16, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on sustainable investing

On Thursday, December 16th, Axios energy reporter Ben Geman and business reporter Hope King dove into the forces driving investments in climate tech and looked ahead to the ESG trends shaping the market for 2022, featuring Moody’s Climate Solutions global head Emilie Mazzacurati and S&P Global Sustainable1 president Richard Mattison.

Emilie Mazzacurati discussed the most tangible outcomes from the COP26 climate conference, how these outcomes will impact sustainable investment, and how to ensure corporate sustainability commitments are actually implemented.

  • On the impact of companies setting forth climate pledges: “Setting aside those technical aspects, we found that even the companies that have set targets are not going far enough and that if all those companies reduced emissions, they would be on track supportive of a world going towards 2.1 degrees Celsius on average. So still well above where we want to be.”
  • On transparency to prevent corporate greenwashing: “So the type of things that we might look at over and beyond the actual targets themselves are governance. Is there a board-level oversight of climate risk? What’s the role of the management? Is climate integrated into risk management?”

Richard Mattison described the state of the current climate investment environment, the makeup of upcoming standard disclosure requirements, and the best and worst case scenarios in measuring companies’ progress on their sustainability commitments.

  • On the need for more specificity in climate investment pledges: “I don’t think we really have enough understanding of what the near-term plans need to look like. We don’t even know what a good transition plan looks like…I think there’s a never before seen scale of collaboration, in particular between banks, asset managers, and companies on really what a good transition plan looks like towards net zero.”
  • On best case scenarios for progress on sustainability commitments: “There is robustness and credibility in the processes used to gather that information and interpret that information. And that process means that the information is actually at the core of a scale flow of capital towards sustainable outcomes, and that we are starting to see a real difference in the real world with respect to some of those climate disasters that I was talking about before.”

Axios HQ General Manager Jordan Zaslav hosted a View from the Top segment with Head of iShares Americas at Blackrock, Armando Senra, who spoke on the impact of ESG commitments on the investment landscape.

  • “When you think of ESG, environmental, social, and corporate governance, those factors have a real impact in asset pricing in capital allocations. And therefore, what is really important there is to understand that as you’re building your portfolio, this is not just about your values or your preferences. This is about the outcomes that you are expecting in your portfolio and how you have to account for the impact and the opportunities that these factors will have in your portfolio.”

Thank you iShares for sponsoring this event.

Exclusive: $10 million fundraise for supply chain CO2 cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SupplyShift, a company founded by two climate scientists that seeks to help companies reduce their supply chain emissions, has raised $10 million.

Driving the news: As more companies make far-reaching emissions reduction goals, they can quickly run out of opportunities to limit direct emissions from their offices, stores and shipping.