Greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, driving warmer temperatures with potentially devastating consequences. To slow this trend, we need to align our policies for a low carbon economy, invest less in fossil fuels and more in clean energy, and put a price on carbon everywhere.
Most countries won’t meet commitments
Carbon emissions pledges beyond 2020 are not enough to limit the global temperature rise to a safe limit. And most countries are on a path that will fall short of their commitments.
Shaded areas show the range of reduction rates needed to meet targets that are expressed as ranges.
Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies
Energy accounts for 62% of global GHG emissions and fossil fuels still make up 81% of the energy mix. Governments worldwide spend around $600 billion a year subsidising fossil fuel, some $200 billion of that in developed and emerging economies. That’s five times the amount spent supporting clean energy.
And fostering green investment
Governments spend just a few billion dollars a year on R&D into green energy technology, about 0.05% of GDP worldwide. Yet every dollar spent now on clean energy could generate 3 dollars in fuel savings by 2050. Renewable energy only accounts for 13.5% of the energy supply today.
Cost of renewables falling
Renewable energy is becoming more and more affordable. The costs of solar PV and wind have fallen dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so.
Put a price on carbon everywhere
Tax policies are failing to play the role they should in curbing carbon emissions. Coal is the most polluting fuel yet it is the least taxed: 85% of coal used for heating & industrial processes in OECD and emerging countries is untaxed, and the average tax rate on coal is below EUR 2 per tonne of CO₂. That compares with a low-end estimate of EUR 30 per tonne for damage done to the climate by CO₂ emissions.
We need to work harder to decarbonise transport
Transport accounts for 23% of CO₂ emissions, second after the energy sector, and that share is set to almost double to 40% by 2035. Among the many ideas for overhauling our transport systems – the International Transport Forum notes that 90% of cars could be removed from cities in the future if private cars were replaced by shared vehicles combined with high-capacity public transport.
Source : ITF (2015), Urban Mobility System Upgrade - How shared self-driving cars could change city traffic
We must not let climate change unravel progress made in fighting poverty
Climate resilient development is possible. Public and private finance mobilised by rich countries for climate action in poor countries reached USD 62 billion in 2014, up from 52 billion in 2013. OECD work to redefine the measurement and incentives for development finance should help donor countries meet the USD 100 billion per year goal by 2020.