The 1.5 degree climate target threatens to become unattainable

Berlin So far, little has leaked out of the exploratory talks between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. It is clear, however, that the future energy and climate policy is one of the biggest points of contention among the current exploratory partners. The protection of the climate is also at the top of the agenda internationally.

A good two weeks before the G20 summit in Rome and the world climate conference in Glasgow, the “Climate Transparency Report” shows how the world’s largest industrialized and emerging countries are lagging behind in protecting the climate. The report published on Thursday predicts an increase in climate-damaging CO2 emissions in the G20 countries by four percent compared to the pandemic year 2020. In countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Argentina, emissions are even expected to be higher than in 2019. According to the report, only a fraction of the corona reconstruction aid was invested in sustainable areas.

Climate Transparency is an international partnership between now 16 research institutions and non-governmental organizations from 14 G20 countries. Since 2015, the initiative has provided an annual overview of climate protection in the G20 countries and their progress on the path to climate neutrality.

19 states plus the EU are represented in the G20. They represent 75 percent of the world’s climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions. Your course in climate protection is therefore of the utmost importance.

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The study by Climate Transparency is considered to be one of the most comprehensive analyzes of all G20 climate protection data. From Germany, Germanwatch, Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform, Climate Analytics and New Climate Institute are involved.

“The so-called rebound effect – the rebound in emissions after a significant decline in the corona crisis – is very large,” says Jan Burck from Germanwatch, one of the authors of the report. “If the G20 countries do not take countermeasures very quickly and implement measures that achieve significant emissions reductions before 2030, the 1.5 degree limit threatens to become unattainable.”

No country on a 1.5-degree course

Almost six years ago, in December 2015, the international community agreed on the Paris Climate Agreement. It aims to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius, better to 1.5 degrees in a pre-industrial comparison, and to become climate-neutral by the middle of the century. The previous climate goals of the G20 would, however, lead to global warming of 2.4 degrees, warns the environmental and development organization Germanwatch.

It is positive that at least 14 G20 countries, which are responsible for a total of 60 percent of global emissions, have so far explicitly committed themselves to the goal of climate neutrality, according to the report. Such a commitment is pending from Australia, India, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Ambition is growing, but overall the G20 countries are not on a 1.5-degree course, it continues.

City motorway Berlin

Emissions in the transport sector have increased in Germany since 2015.

(Photo: dpa)

Germanwatch criticizes that Germany, too, is far from a pioneering role within the G20. Many other G20 countries have taken bigger steps than Germany in the past few years, such as Great Britain, “even if everything is not perfect here either,” said Burck.

However, it is noticeable, among other things, that Germany has so far waived a clear end date for fossil internal combustion engines in new cars and that the final phase-out of coal is only planned for 2038. Emissions in the transport sector increased in this country between 2015 and 2020, despite the lockdown caused by the pandemic.

For Germany, the report notes positively that almost 50 percent of German Corona economic aid could be described as “green”. In other words, these expenses help reduce emissions. Only Canada with around 75 percent does better.

Consumption of coal and gas is increasing

The report states that the share of solar and wind energy in the energy supply is increasing worldwide. However, the consumption of coal and gas is also increasing again.

The upswing in the global economy is causing the demand for coal, oil and gas to skyrocket this year, according to the new World Energy Outlook presented on Wednesday. “The tremendously encouraging dynamism of the world in the field of renewable energies is colliding with the stubborn predominance of fossil fuels in our energy systems,” warned Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The “Climate Transparency Report” assumes that renewable energies will cover almost 30 percent of electricity consumption in the G20 countries by the end of 2021. However, coal consumption will increase by an estimated five percent, with this increase being concentrated in China, the USA and India.

The consumption of natural gas in the G20 countries increased by twelve percent between 2015 and 2020 and is forecast to remain at a similar level in 2021. China, South Korea, India, Canada, the US and the EU are behind the increase as countries that are reducing their power generation from coal often switch to natural gas.

In Germany, for example – the new lead study by the German Energy Agency (Dena) just found – additional gas-fired power plants with a capacity of 15 gigawatts would be needed to compensate for the loss of reliable coal output.

Climate Transparency believes that this is not the right way to go. The G20 members would have to give priority to investments in renewable energies – also to avoid “stranded assets”. This is understood to mean assets that, due to the imminent transformation of the economy into a climate-neutral future, will lose value before the end of their planned economic useful life.

Christoph Bals, political director of Germanwatch, calls for an emergency climate protection program from the next federal government. “Ambitious steps are necessary, especially in the transport, building, industrial and agricultural sectors, but the coal phase-out must also be brought forward to 2030,” said Bals.

More: “Climate neutrality cannot be induced” – experts call for a radical change in direction in climate policy

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