G20 Countries Must Improve Credibility of Their Paris Climate Pledges, Report Warns

The credibility of countries’ climate pledges agreed in Paris in December particularly those of the G20 nations must be strengthened, warns a new report out today.

While much attention has been given to scrutinising the level of ambition of each country’s intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, less focus has been paid to exactly how credible these pledges are.

In December 2015 more than 180 countries agreed an historic deal to limit global warming to “well below 2C” and to make every effort to keep temperature increase to 1.5C.

However the report, published by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the ESRC Centre for Climate change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics (LSE), argues that countries should strengthen the credibility of their climate pledges in order to build confidence in the Paris Agreement.

Most notably, the LSE report shows that G20 countries scored lower on the degree of transparency, inclusiveness, and effectiveness of their decision-making processes. These countries also scored lower on the level of political constraints to limit policy reversal, and on the existence of dedicated and independent public bodies on climate change.

Argentina, Canada, China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia were singled out as those which “have scope for significantly increasing credibility”.

The targets set by the EU (and its individual member states) as well as South Korea were found to be “largely supportive” in terms of credibility while countries such as South Africa, the United States, Australia, Russia, and Brazil had a “significant weakness” in at least one area.

The report suggests that the credibility countries’ climate targets can be increased by strengthening their policies and legislation as well as the transparency, effectiveness and inclusiveness of their decision-making process. Strengthening governments’ public climate change bodies would also help boost credibility the report says.

More specifically, this can be done by adopting framework legislation and/or implementing carbon pricing mechanisms, assigning clear responsibility for climate change policy and establishing independent consultative bodies, creating inclusive processes for consulting and involving stakeholders, increasing the frequency of preparing greenhouse gas inventories and improving public awareness about climate change.

Photo: Andreas Habich via Wikimedia Commons