NEW DELHI: Extreme weather events led to around 16,000 deaths and economic losses of $142 billion in G20 nations on average every year during 1998-2017 with India reporting the highest number of deaths among them and figuring in the list of top five countries in terms of economic losses during the period, said a global report that analysed the climate action track records of the global economic power group.
The ‘Brown to Green Report 2019’, released by the the Climate Transparency on Monday, however, noted that India is the only country among G20 nations that is close to 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise ‘pathway’ – a scenario which the scientific community has pitched for at this juncture to save the world from the disastrous consequences of average temperature rise.
“Limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius instead of 3 degree celsius avoids over 70% of climate-related impacts in the water, health and agriculture sectors,” said the report, highlighting necessity of ramping up climate action targets by top emitters. The G20 countries are together responsible for approximately 80% of global GHG emissions.
Covering 80 indicators, the report is the world’s most comprehensive review of G20 climate action, mapping achievements and drawbacks in efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impact as part of their respective climate actions goals – called Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)— which countries had submitted to the UN climate body as part of the Paris Agreement targets.
“India has the most ambitious NDC compared to its fair share of global emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degree celsius. However, India still needs to act now to prepare sectors for stringent emission reductions,” said the report.
It also noted that India is currently investing most in renewable energy while Brazil and Germany are the only G20 countries with long-term renewable strategies. “Brazil leads with 82.5% renewables, while Saudi Arabia, South Korea and South Africa lag behind with shares of only 0-5%,” said the report while referring to the countries shares of renewables in their respective total energy mix.
Though other countries such as China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and EU and its member states are also projected to meet or surpass their NDC targets, the report noted that the NDC targets of these nations are, in fact, not yet “highest possible ambition” as required by the Paris Agreement.
According to the findings of the report, the three G20 countries – South Korea, Canada and Australia – are the laggards who are off track from implementing their “already unambitious NDCs”.
The report found that the G20 nations’ CO2 emissions went up in all sectors in 2018, with the highest rise (4.1%) in the buildings sector compared to 2017. While power sector recorded increase of 1.6%, the transport sector emissions increased by 1.2% in 2018.
The report noted that the G20 countries provided more than $127 billion in fossil fuel subsidies in 2017. “Diverting only a fraction of these fossil fuel subsidies towards renewables could pay for the clean energy transition and reduce emissions significantly,” said Climate Transparency which is a global partnership that brings together experts from research organisations and NGOs in majority of the G20 countries.
“Just one year before the critical deadline, the findings give us hope that countries will find the political will to commit to higher emission reduction targets in 2020 as they promised under the Paris Agreement”, said Alvaro Umana, co-chair of Climate Transparency and former minister of environment and energy of Costa Rica.