New and increased commitments to emissions reductions made at COP26 will, if realized and made on time, help the world record its best climate numbers but it still could fall short of the Paris Agreement, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency.
The new commitments would be enough to hold the rise in global temperatures to 1.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, the first time governments have made targets to hold it below 2 degrees Celsius, according to the IEA. That still falls short of the Paris Agreement’s target of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The IEA says even with all the current pledges, it leaves a 70% gap in the number of reductions needed by 2030 to hit the 1.5 number. It says more policy changes and strategies are needed to keep pace with required emissions reductions needed to achieve overall goals.
Moody’s published a report following COP26 that also found if all the pledges are met, it would lead to rapid decarbonization and also put pressure on other countries and organizations to increase their goals. It also said that could lead to greater investment opportunities as sustainability actions are implemented.
The IEA published its World Energy Outlook 2021 prior to COP26, which highlighted the economic and climate opportunities of transitioning energy to renewable uses, and at the time 120 countries had announced new targets for emissions reductions by 2030. Countries representing nearly 70% of the world carbon dioxide emissions also said they would be net zero by 2050.
Since then, more countries have increased their goals, including India saying it would hit net zero by 2070, and more than 100 countries saying they would cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Previous IEA analysis shows quick methane emission reduction from fossil fuel operations could provide the most impactful way to address climate change in the near term.
The world’s top two emissions producers in the United States and China also announced an agreement at COP26 to work together to reduce cut their outputs.
With all the increased commitments, the IEA says tracking and accountability will be key to making sure countries and companies follow through with their climate pledges. The agency says tools and support like its Global Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 will help keep those goals in line.