Glasgow climate pledges are 'lip service' without far more aggressive plans

Glasgow climate pledges are a 'lip service,' with no far more aggressive plans
This image can be enlarged by clicking the toggle caption Martin Meissner/AP Martin Meissner/AP

According to a new analysis, even though countries have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they are not sufficient to prevent the most severe consequences of climate change.

Climate Action Tracker's report also shows that only four of the numerous pledges to eliminate climate emissions have any concrete plans. These are Chile, Costa Rica and the European Union.

This is the latest evidence to question the rallying cry of 1.5 to keep alive at the Paris climate conference. This refers to the Paris climate agreement's target to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit).

According to the Climate Action Tracker report, warming would average 1.8 degrees Celsius under the most optimistic scenario if all countries keep their promises. This is similar to the U.N.'s latest assessment and the International Energy Agency analysis from last week.

However, not everyone believes that this optimistic scenario is possible right now. While countries have made pledges to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and many are working towards that goal, very few are actually on the path.

"Glasgow is lacking in credibility"

The Carbon Action Tracker updated also calculated the projected warming from the current policies that countries are actually implementing. They will result in a warming of 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.86 Fahrenheit), by the end of this century. This is just a 0.2 degree Celsius increase over last year.

Climate Analytics CEO Bill Hare says that "Glasgow is lacking credibility." He claims that many countries' 2030 emissions targets are not high enough to make long-term goals credible.

He says that leaders can claim to have a net-zero target but have no plan for how to achieve it. "These net zero targets, frankly, are lip service to climate action."

Inger Andersen is the Executive Director at U.N. On Twitter, she was even more colorful with her assessment. While it is great to see countries setting more ambitious targets, she said that "the truth is that the sum of our climate efforts so far is like an elephant giving life to a mouse."

It was hoped that countries would make bold statements to eliminate climate-warming fossil fuels. Some of these efforts include a non-proliferation treaty on fossil fuels and a pledge not to use coal again. Even the United Kingdom, which is hosting the talks, is looking at opening a new mine.

Post-Glasgow ambitions boosted

The mood was pessimistic as various climate groups held press conferences Tuesday, in Glasgow. Scientists warn that there is not enough time to prevent a catastrophe. However, optimism is also necessary for climate advocacy. Many said that they are encouraged by the prospect of additional countries promising to reduce their emissions.

Maria Jose de Villafranca is a climate policy analyst at NewClimate Institute. She said, "Countries must support them at home and implement policy that will achieve those targets."

Although there are only a few more days until the climate meeting, some are already looking forward to future ones.

David Waskow, Director of the World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative, encouraged countries that have been away for a while to return and to pledge to meet their 2030 targets in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

He says that "that's crucial for those who haven't been enhanced at all," citing "Saudi Arabian, Mexico, Australia, and other countries."

Waskow also mentioned Russia and China as countries that need to increase their commitments. Former President Barack Obama criticized Xi Jinping, Chinese President, and Vladimir Putin, Russian President for not joining the other global leaders at climate talks in Glasgow.

The United States is currently among the countries that have ambitious goals but no clear plan for achieving them. President Biden set a goal of a reduction of 50-52% in the economy's greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. However, Congress has yet to pass a budget bill that would achieve this goal.