The G20 emission projections to 2030 improved since the Paris Agreement, but only slightly

Nascimento, Leonardo; Kuramochi, Takeshi; Höhne, Niklas


Many years passed since the adoption of the Paris Agreement, which invites countries to determine their own contributions to climate change mitigation efforts. The Agreement does not offer a standard to measure progress but relies on a process of periodic stocktakes to inform ambition-raising cycles. To contribute to this process, we compare 2021 greenhouse gas emission projections up to 2030 against equivalent projections prepared back in 2015. Both sets of projections were prepared using the same bottom-up modelling approach that accounts for adopted policies at the time. We find that 2021 projections for the G20 as a group are almost 15% lower (approximately 6 GtCO2eq) in 2030 than projected in 2015. Annual emissions grow 1% slower in the coming decade than projected in 2015. This slower growth mostly stems from the adoption of new policies and updated expectations on technology uptake and economic growth. However, around one-quarter of these changes are explained by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on short-term emissions and economic forecasts. These factors combined result in substantially lower emission projections for India, the European Union plus the UK (EU27 + UK), the Unites States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. We observe a remarkable change in South African projections that changed from a substantial increase to now a decline, driven in part by the planned phase-out of most of its coal-based power. Emissions in India are projected to grow slower than in 2015 and in Indonesia faster, but emissions per capita in both countries remain below 5 tCO2eq in 2030, while those in the EU27 + UK decline faster than expected in 2015 and probably cross the 5 tCO2eq threshold before 2030. Projected emissions per capita in Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and the United States are now lower than projected in 2015 but remain above 15 tCO2eq in 2030. Although emission projections for the G20 improved since 2015, collectively they still slightly increase until 2030 and remain insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goals. The G20 must urgently and drastically improve adopted policies and actions to limit the end-of-century warming to 1.5 °C.