NEW DELHI: India may be the only G20 country and among few countries globally that have been ‘2 Degree Celsius’ temperature rise compatible under the Paris Agreement, but a new stringent rating system of the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) has downgraded the country's overall rating from ‘almost sufficient’ category in November last year to ‘highly insufficient’ category at par with China, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, South Korea, Argentina and Mexico this month.
The new rating system, released on Wednesday, factored in different parameters including updates on climate action targets such as mid-century ‘net zero’ emission goal and ‘1.5 Degree C’ compatibility measures.
The rating of 37 countries by the CAT, run by Germany-based non-profit group Climate Analytics and research body New Climate Institute, shows small nation Gambia as the only country which is ‘1.5 degree C’ compatible.
The CAT has rated UK, Germany, Japan, USA, Nepal and 12 other countries above India in either ‘almost sufficient’ and ‘insufficient’ categories due to upgradation of their respective climate action goals and other measures. Though the UK’s domestic target is ‘1.5 degree C’ compatible, the Tacker noted that the country’s policies and international support don’t match.
India’s rating will, however, improve significantly if it upgrades its climate action target – called nationally determined contribution (NDC) – under Paris Agreement, factoring in its decision to set up 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. The country’s clean energy push through renewables and green hydrogen will, in fact, make it ‘1.5 degree C’ compatible.
“In the previous system, we had only rated India’s NDC target against its fair share. We have updated our fair share calculations, and for India these have become more stringent, leading to a fair share rating of ‘highly insufficient’, compared to its previously ‘2 degree C compatible’ (almost sufficient),” said the Tracker in its global update on climate action.
“Of particular concern are Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam. They have failed to lift ambition at all, submitting the same or even less ambitious 2030 targets than those they put forward in 2015. These countries need to rethink their choice,” said Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics.
On the policy front, the Tracker noted that coal remains an issue with China and India both having huge plans in the pipelines. “South East Asia is also of concern, with Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and South Korea still planning to forge ahead with the most polluting of fossil fuels,” said the CAT’s report.
On NDC, it said the updates submitted so far in 2020–2021 have narrowed the gap to what is needed for 1.5 degree C only by up to 15%. There are still over 70 countries that have yet to submit an updated target.
On ‘net zero’ push, the report said though the wave of national mid-century ‘net zero’ targets give reasons for hope, it will fail without sufficient 2030 reductions. “There needs to be alignment between 2030 targets and net zero goals for the latter to be believable. Our assessment shows that most net zero targets are formulated vaguely and do not yet conform with good practice,” it said.