Jun 1, 2019

The major emitters that are meeting their Paris Agreement pledges

A climate march in Brussels. (Photo: Romy Arroyo Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Of top 10 global carbon emitters, not a single one is hitting its climate goals as outlined under the Paris Agreement, per data from the Climate Action Tracker.

Why it matters: Even if every country that's adopted the Paris Agreement were to meet their pledges, it would not avert the worst effects of climate change.

Driving the news: June 1 marks the 2-year anniversary of President Trump's announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the deal. Per the Climate Action Tracker, the U.S., the second-largest world emitter of greenhouse gasses (but top historical emitter), falls under "critically insufficient," the worst category, in meeting its Paris pledge.

The backdrop: The Paris Agreement's main goal is to keep global temperature rise this century to "well below 2ºC," above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5ºC.

  • Each country determined what it would be willing to do under the agreement. Such commitments are known as intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).
  • After ratifying the agreement, the INDC would become the country's first nationally determined contribution.
    • So far, 185 countries have ratified or adopted the Paris Agreement. All of the NDCs are available here.

Details: Climate Action Tracker ranks countries based on "(I)NDCs, 2020 pledges, long-term targets and current policies against whether they are consistent with a country's fair share effort to the Paris Agreement's 1.5ºC temperature goal."

  • There are 6 different categories: critically insufficient, highly insufficient, insufficient, 2ºC compatible, 1.5ºC Paris Agreement compatible and role model.
  • Not all the countries with NDCs appear on the tracker.

Where countries rank: The top 10 emitters are bolded.

  • Role model: None.
  • 1.5ºC Paris Agreement compatible: Morocco, The Gambia
  • 2ºC compatible: Bhutan, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, India, Philippines
  • Insufficient: Australia, Brazil, EU, Kazakhstan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Switzerland
  • Highly insufficient: Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, UAE
  • Critically insufficient: Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United States, Ukraine

Yes, but: There is no enforcement mechanism under the Paris Agreement to punish a country for missing a target.

Go deeper: Axios' complete coverage of the Paris Agreement.

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