G20 policies insufficient to meet Paris climate goals

G20 countries climate policies
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With just nine months to go until the critical next round of international climate talks, the G20 countries, world’s largest economies are far from having the right climate policies in place to meet the green pledges made at the COP21 climate conference in Paris in 2015, let alone bolder new promises to decarbonise, according to new research from BloombergNEF (BNEF).

BNEF’s G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard evaluates the G20 countries’ decarbonisation policies to measure which governments have implemented regimes to realise the goals of the Paris Agreement, or more substantial decarbonization. It highlights examples of what works and could be replicated elsewhere, and flags where more progress is needed.  

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Victoria Cuming, head of global policy analysis for BNEF, said: “The high-level pledges over the last year, in particular, have been impressive with major economies such as the European Union, 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.”

Much of the progress achieved to date globally in cutting the rate of growth of CO2 emissions has come in the power sector. The report evaluates national and regional power policies, while also examining other major segments of the global economy responsible for CO2 output ” road transport, green fuels, buildings, industry and the circular economy.

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

The countries covered in the Scoreboard have been scored out of 100% based on 122 qualitative and quantitative metrics relating to the number, robustness and effectiveness of policies implemented.

Overall, Germany and France scored highest for having the best policy mixes in place to spur decarbonisation but they still have room for improvement, the study finds.

The G20 countries achieved an average economy-wide score of 47%. The nations at the top of the ranking have executed a higher number of robust, concrete measures to achieve their ambitious-but-achievable targets. They have introduced policies to drive change on both the supply and demand side. Their processes of making climate policies are relatively transparent and predictable, and their initiatives are starting to have a measurable impact.

Figure 1: BloombergNEF G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard

Source: BloombergNEF. Note: Fuel decarbonisation = efforts to promote the production of green gas and biofuels, and carbon capture, use and storage.

Progress across all sectors has been highly uneven. The G20 scored best collectively for its power policies (at 58%) because all of the nations have introduced some government support to promote clean technologies.

However, to realise the goals of Paris, they will need to pay much more attention to other sectors, notably buildings and industry, which had average scores of 42% and 37%, respectively.

A summary of the key report findings is available for download via this link.

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