Despite urgent calls by the UN secretary general asking countries to raise their ambitions and enhance nationally determined contributions (NDCs) at the United Nations Climate Summit in September, a new analysis released at COP25 in Madrid on Tuesday shows that under current policies global temperatures will see a rise of 3 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century and a rise of 2.8° C if all pledges under the Paris Agreement are implemented.
However, India is on track to becoming a global leader in the field of renewables, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), which is a scientific analysis tool developed by two climate research organisations. India was ranked ninth among 57 countries and the European Union (EU).
While India’s NDC is rated “2 degree C compatible”, an updated NDC reflecting India’s current policies is likely to be rated “1.5 degree C compatible.”
“For this to be feasible, the government should continue to signal its strong commitment to renewable energy deployment and enshrine similar commitments in other sectors such as the transport sector,” the analysis said.
India is likely to achieve the more ambitious part of its NDC goals, 40% non-fossil-based power capacity by 2030, more than a decade earlier than targeted. The analysis said there is significant uncertainty over the future of coal power capacity in India. The National Electricity Plan foresees coal-fired power capacity additions of 46 GW between 2022 and 2027 and these risk becoming “stranded assets.”
“Even if we include the US commitment, we will reach a warming between 2.6° C and 3.2° C. With US out of the game there is no way we can stay below 3° C. India is doing well with respect to carbon intensity of GDP [gross domestic product] but struggling to meet the carbon sink target. India and few other countries cannot do anything. It depends on how major emitters respond. US is the number one with historical responsibility; Russian federation is also not acting; and EU is providing leadership among big emitters,” said professor NH Ravindranath, climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Science. The CAT analysis projected in September that the 1.5° C threshold will be breached by 2035 and 2° C by as early as 2053. Not much has changed since then, said the new report. Warming estimates have fallen by 0.1-0.2° C compared to the CAT’s September 2019 update. “The reason is largely methodological changes and data updates rather than any major scaling-up of climate action,” the analysis said.
The range of temperature rise under current pledges is 2.3° C to 3.5° C over pre-industrial levels with 2.8° C being the median.
Most developed and large developing nations are simply not acting, the analysis showed. Brazil’s deforestation rates are at a 10-year high, the US has given notice it will withdraw from the Paris Agreement and continues its rollback of policies, and the Australian government continues to support fossil fuel interests and its emissions from fossil fuels have increased by around 1% per year since 2014.
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