Press releases

G7+EU climate plans: Small step but much more effort needed to close emissions gap

Published: 04/06/2015

Bonn – 04 June 2015 - The combined climate plans for the G7 and EU have made a small step towards the right track to hold warming to 2°C, but there is still a substantial emissions gap, the Climate Action Tracker said today.

Ahead of the upcoming G7 meeting in Germany, the Climate Action Tracker - an analysis carried out by four research organisations - has looked at the combined INDCs of all G7 governments and the EU, who are responsible, in aggregate, for around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 40% of global GDP.

Key findings:

  • Current policies in the G7+EU are projected to only stabilise emissions through to 2030 at close to present levels, whereas a rapid decline in emissions is needed.
  • The combined effect of the G7+EU INDCs for 2025, and 2030 would bring the group 20-30% of the way to 2°C and 1.5°C-consistent emissions.
  • There is still a gap of around 6.5, 7.6 and 7.8 GtCO2e/year in 2020, 2025 and 2030 respectively or 21%, 24% and 25% of 1990 emissions levels (excluding Forestry).
  • The G7+EU 2020 pledges only bring emissions 5% of the way towards emissions levels consistent with 2°C and 1.5°C in that year.
  • There is a need to upgrade efforts to reduce emissions before 2020 in order to make it easier to rapidly reduce emissions in the 2020s.
  • The inadequacy of the post-2020 INDC commitments compared to 2°C and 1.5°C -consistent emissions levels reinforces the need for the G7+EU to significantly improve upon the INDCs they have submitted to date - before Paris.
  • The low ambition of the INDCs and the large gap between current policies and the INDCs reinforces concerns that INDC commitments be limited in time, e.g. to five years (2021-2025) to avoid locking in emissions levels that are inconsistent with the 2°C and 1.5°C emission pathways.

“This gap shows us that it’s very clear the G7 and EU need to urgently revise their current policies. They need to review – and increase – their stated climate plans before Paris, so that the Paris Agreement can make major steps towards setting the world on a below 2?C pathway” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.

“The G7+EU INDCs on the table now show there is an extreme risk of locking in, until 2030, high emissions levels that are inconsistent with holding warming below 2?C and to 1.5°C. Waiting fifteen years from today to increase emissions reductions - and ten years after the 2020 agreement comes into force - could be very dangerous for the planet,” said Hare.

“Governments must take every opportunity to check against the scientific imperatives they have agreed so INDCs need to be set for review in five years’ time.”

Not all governments in G7 + EU taking similar action           

“Our analysis also shows major differences between the policies the G7+EU governments have in place towards achieving their proposals,” said Kornelis Blok of Ecofys.

“While the EU’s policies would bring it close to achieving its INDC in 2030, the US, Canada and Japan still have a lot of work to do. Noting we rate Canada’s INDC and Japan’s draft INDC as ‘inadequate.’”

Effort sharing analysis shows wealthier countries must do more

The CAT has also looked at the G7+EU’s INDCs through an effort-sharing lens, and found them lacking.

“The G7+EU, as the most powerful and wealthy group of governments in the world, can do more than other, less wealthy countries.  If all countries were economically equal and had the same historical responsibility, the global least-cost emissions pathway for each country would be the appropriate level of action to take. But they’re not,” said Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.

“Under our effort-sharing analysis, the G7+EU’s least-cost pathways make up, at best, 50% of the way towards a fair effort sharing contribution, so there’s still a long way to go.”

Prof Kornelis Blok, Ecofys, +31 30 662 3399
Dr Bill Hare: +49 +49-160-908-62463
Dr. Niklas Höhne, +49 173 715 2279

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.

NewClimate Institute
NewClimate Institute is a non-profit institute established in 2014. NewClimate Institute supports research and implementation of action against climate change around the globe, covering the topics international climate negotiations, tracking climate action, climate and development, climate finance and carbon market mechanisms. NewClimate Institute aims at connecting up-to-date research with the real world decision making processes.