Press releases

“Climate shuffle” likely to lead to increased warming: Climate Action Tracker

Published: 12/06/2013

Bonn—12 June 2013-- Against a background of stalled climate talks, current analyses of climate policies show that governments are less likely than ever to deliver on the Copenhagen pledges, let alone keep global warming below 2degC, the Climate Action Tracker said today in its latest update, released at the Bonn climate talks.

Current emissions trends – together with implemented and planned policies - are likely to lead to higher 21st century emission levels than previously projected, suggesting increased warming by 2100. “If Governments don’t take any further action, we are already facing a 40% chance of warming exceeding 4°C by 2100 and a 10% chance of it exceeding 5°C in the same period,” said Dr Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “With these emission trends a warming of 3-4degC warming at 2100 won’t stop there. Warming is likely to continue upwards well into the 22nd Century.”

Recent developments from around the world show just a few rays of hope that things will change. The only good news on mitigation was from the smallest and most vulnerable countries, such as the Marshall Islands and a group of Caribbean nations, all of which are moving toward renewable energy faster than other nations.

Also, it is encouraging to hear the announcement by the US and China to tackle industrial greenhouse gas HFCs. Whether this is better dealt with under the Montreal Protocol or under the UNFCCC remains an open question, considering the disappointing experience with aviation emissions.

“There are no new targets and governments appear to be undermining, weakening or even cheating on their current rules. We’re in a kind of shuffling climate dance, with governments giving the appearance of moving around, yet staying in the same place, and some of them appear to have forgotten they’re on the dance floor at all,” said Marion Vieweg, Climate Analytics project manager.

The new rules set in Doha addressing the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment and the carryover of surplus actually changed the outcomes very little, mostly because Governments are working out how they can move forward without increasing their targets. With current emission caps, the new rules would barely make a difference, at only 100 MtCO2eq.

On the ETS front, there are a number of new schemes, but current schemes are struggling. The EU’s failure to reduce surplus allowances has led to a crash in the global price of carbon, which could affect a number of other schemes, such as Australia’s.

“The new emissions trading schemes should learn from current experience. Namely, include mechanisms to stabilise prices by, for example, dynamic target setting or floor and ceiling prices,” said Niklas Höhne, Director of Energy and Climate Policy at Ecofys.

The CAT update also highlights several cases of bad reporting: Canada appears to have vastly underestimated fugitive emissions from gas exploration in British Colombia, putting into question its entire emissions reporting, to the tune of up to 207 MtCO2eq by 2020.

The shale gas boom in the US may not be as good for its emissions profile as reports try to make it out to be, as there is an absence of reliable data on fugitive emissions. While domestic coal use is decreasing, cheap US coal exports to Europe are rising, competing with renewables – and ultimately making no difference to global emissions.

Meanwhile, Japan’s coal use is also on the rise and a new target is likely to be significantly less than the current 25% by 2020 target put forward by the previous government.

In addition, changes in Queensland’s land clearance law put into question whether Australia can meet its already inadequate pledge - and its entire climate package is under doubt if a new government is elected in September.

For interviews with the team in Bonn:
Marion Vieweg, Project Manager, Climate Analytics +49 176 34 50 27 15

Niklas Höhne, Director Energy and Climate Policy, Ecofys: +49 162 101 3420

Please go to for the full update released today.

The Climate Action Tracker is an independent science-based assessment that tracks the emission commitments and actions of countries. It is a joint project of the following organisations:

Climate Analytics
Climate Analytics is a non-profit organization based in Potsdam, Germany. It has been established to synthesize climate science and policy research that is relevant for international climate policy negotiations. It aims to provide 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. Furthermore, it assists in building in-house capacity within SIDS and LDCs.

Ecofys – Experts in Energy
Established in 1984 with the mission of achieving “sustainable energy for everyone”, Ecofys has become the leading expert in renewable energy, energy & carbon efficiency, energy systems & markets as well as energy & climate policy. The unique synergy between those areas of expertise is the key to its success. Ecofys creates smart, effective, practical and sustainable solutions for and with public and corporate clients all over the world. With offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and the US, Ecofys employs over 250 experts dedicated to solving energy and climate challenges.

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.