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US, Canada, others veering off Paris Agreement course, says study

New study finds six G20 countries are failing to take action in line with their Paris Agreement pledges

US President Barack Obama. A study says Argentina, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States are failing to take action in line with their Paris Agreement pledges
US President Barack Obama. A study says Argentina, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States are failing to take action in line with their Paris Agreement pledges

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States have not been undertaking sufficient domestic efforts to match their pledged nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a new analysis published on Thursday, 17 November 2016 at the United Nations climate change summit (COP22) holding in Marrakech, Morocco. It was prepared by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The report on “Assessing the consistency of national mitigation actions in the G20 with the Paris Agreement”, by Alina Averchenkova and Sini Matikainen, concludes that the six G20 countries “lack overall framework legislation or regulation on climate change, and need to move from sectoral to economy-wide targets and extend the timeframe of their targets to 2030”. The six countries also are “either behind on meeting their 2020 targets or have not set any”.

The results from the “Paris consistency monitor” are based on an assessment of past and present action by G20 countries against three indicators: the consistency of domestic emissions reductions targets with those pledged in NDCs; progress towards meeting 2020 emissions reduction targets pledged under the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements; and past performance in ratcheting up the ambition for climate change mitigation based on the evidence of country responses to the Kyoto Protocol, the Copenhagen Accord and the Cancun Agreements.

Six G20 countries (Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy and the UK), together with the European Union as a bloc, were found to have undertaken action that is “either completely or mostly consistent with the key requirements of the Paris Agreement”.

The report was launched on Thursday at an official side event, hosted by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco.

An accompanying detailed study of climate change policies in the European Union, China and the United States examined some of the key drivers, including economic factors, institutional settings and features of the political systems, as well as the role of public opinion, interest groups and party politics.

The report on “Climate policy in China, the European Union and the United States: Main drivers and prospects for the future”, was published jointly on Thursday by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre on Climate Change Economics and Policy in collaboration with the think-tank Bruegel.

The report states: “Over the past decade, China, the EU and the US have all made progress in developing and implementing climate policies. Yet each of these three jurisdictions faces unique challenges in delivering on, and raising the ambition of, their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. This study highlights where levers for more ambitious climate policies lie and where structural factors as well as economic or political developments will likely help or hinder progress.”

The report draws attention to challenges for the United States arising from this month’s Presidential election.

It states: “For the US, bottom-up action by cities or States could help to ratchet up ambition at the federal level. A few proactive States should champion more ambitious US climate policy. At the same time, a committed executive branch could make further use of provisions under the Clean Air Act to advance climate policy at the federal level. However, this seems unlikely to happen under the recently elected Donald Trump.”

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established in 2008 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Institute brings together international expertise on economics, as well as finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy to establish a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research, teaching and training in climate change and the environment.

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