Press releases

Climate Action Tracker Update

Published: 10/06/2010

Little progress - Countries still heading for over 3ºC warming

Bonn, Germany - 10 June 2010 - Despite recent developments, actions pledged globally to date on reductions of greenhouse gas emissions give virtually no chance to limit global mean temperature increase to below two degrees Celsius, according to the latest analysis by the Climate Action Tracker.

“China’s commitment to get 15% of its energy from non-fossil fuel energy sources in 2020 improves the outlook for China’s emissions, but does not fundamentally change the picture”, said Dr Niklas Höhne of Ecofys.

“Kazakhstan’s new pledge of a 15% reduction by 2020 from 1992 levels, or in effect 10% from 1990, means Kazakhstan will actually start reducing emissions. However in the short term it is still asking for ‘hot air’: their proposed short-term target lies above expected emissions”, said Dr Michiel Schaeffer of Climate Analytics.

"The current pledges and loopholes give us a virtual certainty of exceeding 1.5°C, with global warming very likely exceeding 2°C and a more than 50% chance of exceeding 3°C by 2100,” said Dr h.c. Bill Hare (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research).

Details: Effects of China’s 15% non-fossil fuel energy in 2020 pledge

Ecofys has undertaken a further analysis of China’s pledges submitted to the UNFCCC in light of newly available information. The last Climate Action Tracker, on February 2, rated China’s pledge of a 40-45% by 2020 (on 2005 levels) reduction in emission intensity (based on GDP) as ‘inadequate’. A lack of data meant the team did not analyse the other key pledge from China, its goal of ensuring that non-fossil fuel energy makes up 15% of the country’s energy sources by 2020.

Ecofys has now analysed five studies* around China’s emissions and has concluded that China’s emission intensity pledge, coupled with its non-fossil fuel energy target, means that its overall target is actually stronger than previously thought.

“While China still rates ‘inadequate’, its target, in particular the 15% non fossil energy target, is stronger than we thought,” said lead analyst for the Ecofys team, Dr Niklas Höhne. “However, there are more policies in China that have not formed part of its international pledge, such as its energy efficiency target of 20% improvement per unit GDP from 2005 to 2010. If this was factored in, China’s emissions would be even lower in 2020 than under its international target,” he said.

China’s emissions rose between 1990 and 2005 from 4 to 8 GtCO2e and are expected to rise to 12 to 14 GtCO2e in 2020 under business as usual conditions. While the emission intensity target does not change this range significantly, the package of China’s Copenhagen targets reduces this range to 11 to 13 GtCO2e. But taking into account all policies, China’s emissions could be as low as 10 GtCO2e by 2020.

* Summarized in “Evaluation of the Copenhagen Accord: Chances and risks for the 2°C climate goal”, M.G.J. den Elzen, A.F. Hof, M.A. Mendoza Beltran, M. Roelfsema, B.J. van
Ruijven, J. van Vliet, D.P. van Vuuren, N. Höhne, S. Moltmann, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and Ecofys, available at

Details: Kazakhstan proposes 15% reduction by 2020 from 1992 levels

Kazakhstan has proposed a target under the Kyoto Protocol that is equal to 1992 levels for the 2008-2012 period, and a pledge of a 15% reduction below 1992 levels by 2020 (10% below 1990). Whilst the proposed 2008-2012 target includes ‘hot air’ – it is well above present emissions - the 2020 target lies below projected business as usual emissions in 2020. Unlike Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus, Kazakhstan’s pledge of a 15% reduction by 2020 from 1992 levels, means Kazakhstan will, after taking into account the effect of the current recession, actually need start reducing emissions rather than relying on ‘hot air’ to meet its pledge.

“Russia, the Ukraine and Belarus seem intent on getting more ‘hot air’ into the system, as reflected by their 2020 targets above a business as usual trajectory. Whilst Kazakhstan’s pledge marks the first time we have seen a former Soviet Union country actually proposing to cut its emissions below business as usual by 2020, the reductions would need to be deeper to qualify as ‘sufficient’” said Dr Michiel Schaeffer of Climate Analytics.

Other developments: US, Iceland, EU

He noted that the US’s pledge continues to rate as ‘inadequate’. Last year the Tracker included a US target of 17-20% by 2020 below 2007 levels, which was based on national legislation under development. Its international communication under the Copenhagen Accord doesn’t include the 20%. Given that the legislation still awaits progress in the Senate, there was no justification for the inclusion of the 20% in the Tracker’s analysis.

Iceland has now aligned itself with the EU by including a higher pledge of 30% as part of a joint effort with the EU. If the conditions for this pledge were met, this latest proposal would move Iceland firmly into the ‘sufficient’ category – where at present only Norway and Japan are to be found.

With the EU itself there has been no change, although Climate Analytics notes that the Commission has advised the EU that a shift in position from its 20% unilateral to its 30% conditional target could be met with much lower economic impact than previously estimated, partly due to the recession. A 30% unilateral target would bring the EU to the boundary between ‘medium’ and ‘sufficient’.

Note to the editors

The web-based based climate policy assessment system ´Climate Action Tracker´ was developed by Ecofys, Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). It provides regularly updated information on each country’s proposed commitments and actions and how these contribute to total greenhouse gas emission reductions globally. It has been online since November 2009.

Ecofys, Climate Analytics and PIK are research organizations that specialize in energy and climate-related issues.

You can find the Climate Action Tracker at Ecofys, Climate Analytics and PIK are research organizations that specialize in energy and climate-related issues.

For further information:
Ecofys Germany GmbH
Yvonne Kettmann
+49 (0)221 27070-110

Climate Analytics
Henrike Doubert

+49 1511 222 1250
Michiel Schaeffer

About the Climate Action Tracker team
Dr. Niklas Höhne, Director energy and climate policies at Ecofys and lead author at the IPCC, developed, together with Dr Michel den Elzen from MNP, the table in the IPCC report that is the basis for the reduction range of -25% to -40% below 1990 levels by 2020 that is currently being discussed for Annex I countries. The Ecofys team includes Katja Eisbrenner, Christian Ellermann, Markus Hagemann, Sara Moltmann and others.

Dr Michiel Schaeffer – Co-Director and Senior Scientist at Climate Analytics, which includes Policy Analyst Kirsten Macey, among others.

Dr Claudine Chen works on the PRIMAP model at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), along with Julia Nabel, Joeri Rogelj, and other members of the PRIMAP team (

Dr h.c. Bill Hare (PIK and CEO of Climate Analytics) was a Lead Author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report and is the co-leader of the PRIMAP team, with Dr Malte Meinshausen of PIK.

About Ecofys –
Ecofys is a leading knowledge and innovation company that operates in the field of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change with the mission ‘A sustainable energy supply for everyone’. We deliver research and service solutions from product development to implementation management. Our clients are energy companies, financial institutions and corporate businesses, governments and local authorities, international institutions, project developers, housing associations, building companies and energy consumers around the world.

About Climate Analytics –
CLIMATE ANALYTICS GmbH is a non-profit organization based in Potsdam, Germany. CLIMATE ANALYTICS has been established to synthesize climate science that is relevant for international climate policy negotiations. It provides scientific, policy and analytical support for Small Island States (SIDS) and the least developed country group (LDCs) negotiators, as well as non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders in the ‘post-2012’ negotiations. It aims to assist in building in-house capacity within SIDS and LDCs.

About Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) -
The PIK conducts research into global climate change and issues of sustainable development. Set up in 1992, the Institute is regarded as a pioneer in interdisciplinary research and as one of the world's leading establishments in this field. Scientists, economists and social scientists work together, investigating how the earth is changing as a system, studying the ecological, economic and social consequences of climate change, and assessing which strategies are appropriate for sustainable development.