The story so far: United Nations Secretary-General Anthony Guterres on Friday urged the G-20 leaders to take strong action against the climate crisis, emphasising the need for immediate response to address the climate emergency. Countries in the G-20 bloc form around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
“I come to the G20 with a clear and urgent plea: we cannot continue as we are. We must unite and act for the common good,” Secretary-General Guterres said. He also asked the bloc to stop licensing and funding for new fossil fuel projects, in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) above preindustrial levels.
What are the emissions-related NDCs of G-20 countries?
The 2015 Paris Agreement, reached by world leaders at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), requires all countries to submit updated national climate action plans every five years. These are known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and are a roadmap to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction to eventually limit global temperature increase to 1.5 °C.
According to Climate Watch, all G-20 countries except Russia and Argentina submitted their updated first NDCs between December 2020 and April 2023. Russia submitted its first NDC in 2020 and has not presented an update yet, while Argentina submitted its second NDC in November 2021. The major emissions-related targets listed in the latest versions of the G-20 NDCs are as follows:
Argentina: Cap net emissions at 349 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2030.
Australia: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Brazil: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2025 by 37%, compared with 2005. Additionally reduce emissions in 2030 by 50%, compared with 2005.
Canada: Reduce emissions by 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030.
China: Lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level by 2030.
EU: Reduce net domestic GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
India: Reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030 compared to 2005 level. India also aims to achieve about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
Indonesia: Reach emission level of 1,953 MtCO2e (unconditional, which is a 31.89% reduction in emission compared to baseline), and 1,632 MtCO2e (conditional) by 2030.
Japan: Reduce GHG emissions by 46% in fiscal year 2030 from its fiscal year 2013 levels.
Mexico: 35% reduction GHG emissions by 2030.
Russia: Reduce GHG emissions by 2030 to 70%, relative to the 1990 level.
Saudi Arabia: Reduce and avoid GHG emissions by 278 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by 2030, with the year 2019 as the base year.
South Africa: Keep GHG emissions in a range of 350-420 MtCO2e in 2030. (Reduction compared to base level has not been specified).
South Korea: Reduce total national GHG emissions by 40% from the 2018 level, which is 727.6 MtCO2eq, by 2030.
Turkiye: Reduce GHG emissions by 41% through 2030 (695 MtCO2e in year 2030) compared to the Business-as-Usual scenario specified in Türkiye’s first NDC considering 2012 as the base year (reference year).
UK: Reduce economy wide GHG emissions by at least 68% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
US: Economy-wide target of reducing its net GHG emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030.
Net zero targets
In an attempt to balance out man-made greenhouse gases, countries have set targets to remove these gases from the atmosphere while cutting emissions to as close to zero as possible. The Paris Agreement called for substantially reducing GHG emissions to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 °C. To achieve this target, emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Most G-20 countries are not on track to achieve their net-zero targets. According to the 2022 UNEP Emissions Gap Report, seven countries, all members of the bloc — China, the U.S., India, the E.U., Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil — were responsible for around half of global GHG emissions in 2020. The bloc itself is responsible for 75% of global GHG emissions.
The UN synthesis report on global stocktake published on September 8, which assesses global response to climate crisis, said that the emissions are “not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement”.
Acknowledging the gap that exists between current levels of adaptation and levels needed to respond to impacts and reduce climate risks, the G-20 Environment and Climate Ministers’ meeting held in Chennai in July 2023 urged developed countries, which are signatories of Glasgow Climate pact, to “at least double their collective provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing country parties from 2019 levels by 2025”.
The attendees also announced that they will submit the next round of NDCs informed by the outcomes of the global stocktake at COP 28 scheduled for later this year in Dubai.
The New Delhi Declaration, the consensus document adopted after this year’s summit, acknowledged the climate crisis and called for “climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable development pathways” but failed to provide specific goals and timelines to do so. The bloc urged countries to revisit the 2030 targets in their NDCs and align them with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The declaration also made note of the disproportionate impact of climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification and pollution on women and girls, and decided to support their participation and leadership in climate change mitigation and adaptation policy frameworks.
- United Nations Secretary-General Anthony Guterres on Friday urged the G-20 leaders to take strong action against the climate crisis, emphasising the need for immediate response to address the climate emergency.
- In an attempt to balance out man-made greenhouse gases, countries have set targets to remove these gases from the atmosphere while cutting emissions to as close to zero as possible.
- Most G-20 countries are not on track to achieve their net-zero targets. According to the 2022 UNEP Emissions Gap Report, seven countries, all members of the bloc — China, the U.S., India, the E.U., Indonesia, Russia, and Brazil — were responsible for around half of global GHG emissions in 2020. The bloc itself is responsible for 75% of global GHG emissions.