In this briefing, the Climate Action Tracker’s (CAT) estimate of the total warming of the aggregate effect of Paris Agreement commitments and of real-world policy show little change. If all governments achieved their Paris Agreement commitments the world will likely warm 3.0°C—twice the 1.5°C limit they agreed in Paris.
Underneath the lack of progress at the global level, however, the CAT has detected real movement in a number of countries which, if extended, could bend the global emissions curve downward. Of the 32 countries the Climate Action Tracker follows, no government has yet increased its Paris Agreement commitment, so there has been almost no change to the Climate Action Tracker’s country ratings. Under the Paris Agreement enabling decisions all countries are to update their commitments—or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)—by 2020.
The CAT’s projected warming from Paris Agreement commitments and real-world action of 3.0°C and 3.3°C, respectively, and lack of progress in advancing action stands in stark contrast to both the clear warning from the IPCC in its Special Report on 1.5°C of the consequence of exceeding 1.5°C warming and the strong finding that limiting warming to this level is feasible and has substantial economic and sustainable development benefits.
Progress on climate action has been mixed in 2018:
- While some countries, such as Norway and Costa Rica are forging ahead with decarbonisation of transport and renewable energy deployment, others risk losing their climate leadership positions, such as China, where coal use rose again for a second year running, and Brazil which appears to have turned away from its forest protection policies even before its recent change of government.
- Several countries published, adopted or reinforced energy or electricity sector roadmaps which gives reason for hope, such as Chile’s 2050 energy strategy which aims at decarbonising the energy system, India adopting its National Electricity Plan and South Africa’s long-awaited energy resource strategy which foresees a shift away from coal toward renewables and gas.
The changes in CAT’s warming estimates in this update are largely due to improvements in methodology and data updates rather than actual government action in any direction.