This scientific article in ‘Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews’ looks at climate change mitigation policies in five major emitting economies: China, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States. It analyses their performance in terms of energy system and greenhouse gas emissions indicators. The review centres on the sectors of electricity generation, passenger vehicles, freight transport, forestry, industry, buildings, agriculture, and oil and gas production. The article further presents an explorative emissions scenario developed under the assumption that all countries will replicate both the observed trends in sector-level indicators and the trends that policies for future emissions reductions aspire to achieve.

Main Findings:

The paper finds that most of its focus countries have implemented successful policies for renewable energy, fuel efficiency, electrification of passenger vehicles, and forestry. For other sectors, information is limited or very heterogeneous (e.g. buildings, appliances, agriculture) or there are few comprehensive policies in place (e.g. industry). It shows that the global replication of sector progress would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by about 20% compared to a current policies scenario. All countries analysed would overachieve the emissions reduction targets in their post-2020 climate targets. However, the resulting reduction in global emissions by 2030 would still not be sufficient to keep the world on track for a global cost-effective pathway that keeps temperature increase below 2°C. The findings of this study emphasise the need for transformative policies to keep the Paris Agreement temperature limit within reach. The paper recommends policy makers to:

  • develop comprehensive policy packages with financial incentives, which address user behaviour and limit administrative barriers;
  • provide long-term security to actors in the sector;
  • focus on underdeveloped sectors (in terms of technology or coverage by the policy framework), where countries have the capacity to do so; building up transformative policy frameworks for those sectors can drive corresponding climate action around the world and is therefore also a responsibility of OECD countries.
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