According to the Climate Transparency Report, which was released on Thursday, energy-related CO2 emissions plunged by 6% across the G20 countries last year. In 2021, however, they are projected to rebound by 4%. “Rebounding emissions across the G20, the group responsible for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, shows that deep and fast cuts in emissions are now urgently needed to achieve net zero announcements,” said Gahee Han from the South Korean organisation ‘Solutions for our climate’, who is one of the lead authors of the report.
The report notes some positive developments such as growth of solar and wind power, with new records in installed capacities achieved in 2020. The share of renewables in energy supply is projected to grow from 10% in 2020 to 12% in 2021. In the power sector (energy used to make electricity and heat), renewables increased by 20% between 2015 and 2020, and are projected to rise to nearly 30% in the G20 this year.
At the same time, however, experts note that apart from the UK, G20 members have neither short- nor long-term strategies for achieving 100% renewables in the power sector by 2050. Coal in demand
Dependence on fossil fuels is, however, not going down. In fact, consumption of coal is projected to rise by nearly 5% this year, while consumption of gas has increased by 12% from 2015-2020.
The increase in coal consumption will be driven primarily by China (accounting for 61% of the growth), the US (18%) and India (17%), the report said. China is currently the largest global producer and consumer of coal.
Recent announcements, however, signal that most G20 members are aware of the need to transition to low-carbon economies and reach net zero targets by 2050 to limit global warming. By August this year, 14 G20 members had committed to net zero targets — accounting for almost 61% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country-member is expected to submit a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) — a climate plan that lays out targets, policies and measures. By September 2021, 13 G20 members had submitted NDC updates, with six setting more ambitious 2030 targets.
Yet, even if fully implemented, current targets assessed by April 2021 would still lead to warming of 2.4°C by the end of the century, experts caution. “G20 governments need to come to the table with more ambitious national emission reductions targets. The numbers in this report confirm we can’t move the dial without them – they know it, we know it. The ball is firmly in their court ahead of COP26,” said Kim Coetzee from Climate Analytics, who coordinated the overall analysis.
India shows the way
Abhishek Kaushik from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said, “India is the only developing country among the G20 countries with sufficient policies and actions to achieve its NDC goals by 2030. The country made significant progress in terms of its voluntary mitigation targets. It is aiming to deliver 450 GW of installed renewable capacity and has recently launched the National Hydrogen Mission to promote clean energy transition. However, there is a strong need of mobilizing international support (including climate finance) for resilient and inclusive growth in the country.”
Across the G20, the current average market share of electric vehicles in new car sales remains low at just 3.2% (excluding the European Union).
Sanjay Vashist, director of CAN South Asia, said: “Asia can and should do better in rolling out renewables and converting the climate crisis into an opportunity for green and inclusive development. Announcements to reduce coal finance are a good first step. But they need to be followed by a plan to completely phase out coal, ensuring a just transition.”
Climate Transparency is a global partnership of 16 think-tanks and NGOs. The report was developed by 16 research organisations and NGOs from 14 G20 members. It compares the adaptation, mitigation, and finance related efforts of the G20; analyses recent policy developments; and identifies climate opportunities that G20 governments can seize.