Vulnerable Countries Extremely Disappointed that Climate Targets Remain Far from Enough to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C

Date: 26 February 2021

Thimphu, Bhutan – Today the UNFCCC Secretariat released a synthesis report of new and updated emissions reduction plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), submitted by 31 December 2020. The report makes it clear that current plans remain far from enough to limit warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The report shows that the new and updated NDCs submitted to date would produce emissions reductions of less than 1% from 2010 levels by 2030. This is in stark contrast to what the IPCC science tells us is needed – global emissions reductions of about 45% by 2030 if we are to limit temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Responding to the report, Mr Sonam P. Wangdi, the Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in UN climate negotiations, said: “It is deeply concerning to see that the world is still far from the path we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

“NDCs submitted thus far are clearly not close to being enough to achieve the goals we all committed to in Paris. Countries must be more ambitious with their plans and commit to deeper emissions reductions targets ahead of COP26 in November.”

The updated plans account for 75 Parties to the Paris Agreement, meaning many countries are yet to submit any updated plans. Mr Wangi said, “More countries need to submit new or updated plans this year, and major emitters must lead the way with this. These plans must contain increased ambition in their 2025 or 2030 targets.”

The report finds that the total emissions levels from implementation of targets communicated in the new or updated NDCs are projected to be only about 2.8 per cent lower for 2030 than total emission levels according to the Parties’ previous NDCs. In response, Mr Wangdi said, “Countries that have submitted new or updated NDCs that are still not in line with 1.5°C temperature pathways or that don’t properly reflect their fair share of the global effort should reconsider and resubmit more ambitious plans this year. The Paris Agreement is clear that each successive NDC will represent a progression beyond its current NDC and reflects its highest possible ambition. We expect all Parties to honour that commitment made in Paris.”

“Failure to act now on climate change will lead to more catastrophic impacts, with far greater costs. All of which will be felt most acutely by Least Developed Countries. The climate crisis is here, and it demands a bold global response now.”

Background:

The Least Developed Countries Group is made up of the 46 poorest countries, which disproportionately suffer from the ever-increasing impacts of climate change, despite contributing the least to global warming. Representing almost one billion people throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean, the group negotiates as a bloc in UN climate negotiations to secure fair and ambitious action on climate change.

Under the Paris Agreement, each Party is required to submit every 5-years, successively more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which set out its plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. The UNFCCC secretariat was requested by the Parties to prepare a synthesis report on the aggregate effect of the NDCs  submitted by Parties.  Given the postponement of COP26 in Glasgow from 2020 to 2021 and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the preparation of NDCs, the secretariat decided to publish two editions of the NDC synthesis report: an initial version by 28 February 2021 and the final version before COP26.