Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) pre-COP 26 have been updated and, as UNEP’s The Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On reveals, these are not enough to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and keep anthropocentric global warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
With COP 26 just a couple of days away, even if all new unconditional commitments are met, there is still a 66% chance of the world hitting a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century. Additional measures could cut the global temperature rise to 2.2 °C by that time. But these plans are ambiguous and not fully reflected in NDCs.
More has to be done, and quickly. Policies and actions must be put in place and implemented to almost halve emissions in the next eight years. Reductions of 30% are needed to stay on the least-cost pathway for 2°C and 55% for 1.5°C. This means shaving an additional 28 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) off annual emissions, over and above what is promised in the updated NDCs and other commitments.
Twelve G20 members have pledged a net-zero target, but they are still ambiguous. Out of nine G20 member plans assessed in the report, only five are on a linear path to net zero. We must all continue to do all we can ourselves to reduce our own emissions, while continuing to ensure that we also hold politicians and business leaders to account.