Pressure mounts on the world's biggest carbon emitters.

Even though most countries submitted new or updated climate plans this year ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, the combined result still leaves the world on track for 2.7C of warming by century's end, according to the UN.

The 2015 Paris accord goal is to limit global warming to well below 2C since pre-industrial times, and ideally to no more than 1.5C. Global warming is estimated by scientists to be at 1.1C already. The UN's latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said the Paris targets "will be beyond reach" by 2040 without immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Exports are also facing the prospect of carbon border adjustments, with the EU publishing its proposal in July, which is also gaining traction among Democrats in the US. This raises the possibility of the formation of a carbon-zero trade bubble, while countries lagging behind their emissions reduction targets may be penalised over the long term. Meanwhile, climate risk assessments for listed companies are looking increasingly likely to become mandatory over the medium-term. The EU, the UK, the US and China have all recently indicated their support for standardised climate disclosure measures.

Key Climate Pledges

China

China aims to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The country is also aiming to (by 2030):

  • Lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level.
  • Increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25%.
  • Increase the forest stock volume by 6Bcm from the 2005 level.
  • Bring total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2bn KWh by 2030.
United States

The US has committed to reduce net GHG emissions by 50-52% by 2030 compared to 2005. The US has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

European Union

The EU and its Member States, acting jointly, commit to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990, to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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"Climate spending is back
in the US Budget, China set
a new road map and
Australia committed to net
zero by 2050."

"China wants 40% of new
vehicles to be powered by
clean energy by 2030. The
US, meanwhile, is aiming
for 50%."

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