Climate momentum at a standstill with only one country on target to meet Paris Agreement goal

16 September 2021

The momentum on updating 2030 targets for climate action has stalled since May, with no major emitters putting forward stronger climate targets, whilst the 2030 emissions gap has barely changed, according to new analysis.

The research by Climate Action Tracker (CAT) shows that only The Gambia is taking climate action that is consistent with the 1.5˚C warming limit, according to the CAT’s newly-updated rating method.

The CAT has updated all of the country ratings under its new ratings system, where it now gives ratings on a wide range of actions: an overall rating, the domestic target, policies and action, fair share, climate mitigation finance (either on providing mitigation finance, or detailing what international support is needed), and land use and forestry (where relevant). It has also begun rating net zero targets.

In another seven countries – including the UK, overall climate action is nearly sufficient, meaning they are not yet consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit, but could be with moderate improvements. This leaves three quarters of the countries the CAT assesses with significant gaps in climate action.

“In May, after the Climate Leaders’ Summit and the Petersburg dialogue, we reported that there appeared to be good momentum with new climate action commitments, but governments then had only closed the emissions gap by up to 14%,” said Niklas Höhne, of NewClimate Institute, a CAT partner organisation.

“But since then, there has been little to no improvement: nothing is moving. Governments have now closed the gap by up to 15%, a minimal improvement since May. Anyone would think they have all the time in the world, when in fact the opposite is the case.”