climate change

BNEF: Ahead of COP26, G20 countries are falling behind on their climate pledges

G20 leaders photographed in 2018. Photo credit: WTO.

By Anders Lorenzen

Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), an energy analyst firm, has revealed that with just nine months to go until the crucial COP26 UN climate summit, the world’s largest economies are running far behind in what is required to meet the pledges set out in the Paris Agreement agreed upon by world leaders in 2015.

The company’s G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard evaluates the rollout of the decarbonisation policies amongst G20 countries to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement. The authors of the report say it highlights examples of what works and what could be replicated elsewhere and also flags where more progress is needed.

Uneven progress

It also argues that much of the progress so far has been confined to the power sector, with little progress in harder to decarbonise sectors. The report evaluates national and regional power policies with G20 countries divided up into four groupings based on progress, while also examining other major segments of the global economy responsible for CO2 output – road transport, green fuels, buildings, industry and the circular economy.

Victoria Cuming, Head of Global Policy Analysis for BNEF commented: “The high-level pledges over the last year, in particular, have been impressive with major economies such as the European Union (EU), Japan, South Korea and China all promising to get to ‘net-zero’ emissions or carbon neutrality at some future date. “But the reality is that countries simply haven’t done enough at home with follow-through policies to meet even the promises made more than five years ago.”

In the graph below you can see how each of individual G20 countries score.

BNEF - Figure 1 - BNEF G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard.jpg

Cuming added: “While some power-sector policies have delivered results, most countries have done little elsewhere in the economy. And even within each sector, it’s not enough to implement incentives for one technology – multiple pathways are required.”

Germany and France at the top

Combined, all the G20 countries achieved an average economy-wide score of 47%. BNEF explained that the nations at the top of the ranking have executed a higher number of robust, concrete measures to achieve their ambitious-but-achievable targets and have introduced policies to drive change on both the supply and demand side. Their policy-making processes are relatively transparent and predictable, and their initiatives are starting to have a measurable impact. They explained that in order to reach that score each country has been measured on 122 qualitative and quantitative metrics relating to the number, robustness and effectiveness of the policies implemented. Overall, Germany and France scored highest for having the best policy mixes in place to spur decarbonization, but still have room for improvement the study finds.

The report outlines that progress across sectors has been highly uneven. While overall G20 countries scored best for power policies at 58%, other sectors such as buildings and industry have been neglected scoring considerably poorer at 42% and 37% respectively – progress in these sectors is crucial to meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement, the authors argue.

This report is likely to further add pressure on countries to do more ahead of COP26, the most crucial climate summit since COP21.

The full report can be viewed here.

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