This year, countries have the chance to submit updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with new targets for how they will contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Although the informal deadline for submission of updated NDCs was 9th February 2020, to date, only four countries have submitted new documents: Norway, the Marshall Islands, Moldova, and Suriname. Whilst this slow submission progress could indicate reluctance of countries to take climate action, it also provides time for science and activism to influence the details of national policies before the end of 2020.
The Marshall Islands accounts for just 0.00001% of global emissions, and so focus on making Pacific Islands less vulnerable to climate change-induced storms and sea level rise, rather than on mitigation. The small South American country, Suriname, has pledged to increase forest and wetland protected area from 14% to 17% of the country’s area by 2030. Moldova’s updated NDC includes use of NbS in adaptation planning and business models, and notes the importance of sustainable forestry, including increasing biodiversity and reducing forest fragmentation. Norway has strengthened its target, however Climate Action Tracker’s analysis concludes that their NDC is still insufficient to limit increases in global average surface temperature to 2°C. Norway pledged to cut emissions by 50-55% below 1990 levels by 2030, which is more ambitious than the 40% target set by the EU, but less than that needed to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5-2°C goal.
Chile and Mongolia have proposed new targets, but have not yet submitted their NDCs. Chile’s proposed update is strong, and will bring their target in line with the 1.5°C goal, including national emissions peaking by 2027.
Meanwhile, Australia and Japan have announced that they will not update their targets, which remain insufficient to meet the Paris Agreement. Australia is directly responsible for 1.1% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, whilst Japan is responsible for 3.3% and is the the fifth biggest global emitter. The USA is responsible for 14.6% of annual emissions and is the second biggest emitter after China. Nonetheless, the USA is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, which will take effect in November 2020, the day following the Presidential election. Whilst President Trump has voiced his support of the the Trillion Trees Initiative, this is not indicative of the USA taking appropriate climate action overall.Tweet