Facts4COP21: The current 'optimistic' case shows a G20 emissions 'plateau'

Facts4COP21: The current 'optimistic' case shows a G20 emissions 'plateau'

Current best-case scenario does not see emissions rising

As we start COP21 negotiations in Paris today, we wanted to provide a good news story.

Taking all G20 INDC targets, we calculated an emissions trajectory to 2030 for G20 countries. 

In most cases an INDC does not provide a straight-forward target, but a range. This is either by design (such as for Australia where the announced target is 26% to 28% below 2005 levels) or because of unavoidable uncertainties in the calculations.

We chose the more ambitious end of every range and called this the 'optimistic case'. The least ambitious range we called the 'pessimistic case'.

Under the optimistic case, G20 emissions do not increase beyond today's levels. Instead, they seem to plateau. This is the good news.

However, we can't avoid pointing out that a plateau is not enough. Global emissions need to peak well before 2030 and start to seriously decline towards zero...and that's all global emissions, not just those of G20 countries.

Web tools and Projects we developed

  • Open-NEM

    The live tracker of the Australian electricity market.

  • Paris Equity Check

    This website is based on a Nature Climate Change study that compares Nationally Determined Contributions with equitable national emissions trajectories in line with the five categories of equity outlined by the IPCC.

  • liveMAGICC Climate Model

    Run one of the most popular reduced-complexity climate carbon cycle models online. Used by IPCC, UNEP GAP reports and numerous scientific publications.

  • NDC & INDC Factsheets

    Check out our analysis of all the post-2020 targets that countries announced under the Paris Agreement.