The world is not on track to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.

Our daily lives are being increasingly affected by climate change and government policies to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With that in mind, what commitments have the world’s largest GHG emitters made in terms of climate change mitigation? Are their ambitions sufficient to keep global warming well below 2 °C or, preferably, 1.5 °C by the end of the century, in accordance with the Paris Agreement targets? Which countries are on track to turn their ambitions into reality and which are lagging behind? What types of price and non-price policy instruments are being used?

One way of assessing the adequacy of major emitters’ climate mitigation targets and actions is to look at the expected level of warming if those targets and actions were to be implemented at a global level. When viewed from this perspective, the current targets of China and India are insufficient and incompatible with the objective of limiting the global rise in temperatures to 2 °C. That being said, these countries are expected to exceed their relatively unambitious targets. In the US and Japan, on the other hand, targets are sufficiently ambitious but more concrete policy measures and actions are needed to realise them. Only in the EU and the UK are both targets and the implementation of climate mitigation policies deemed compatible with a maximum 2 °C rise in temperatures.

This article explains that, despite the progress made thus far, the world as a whole is not on track to meet the temperature objectives of the Paris Agreement. Climate mitigation ambitions and policy mixes and implementation vary widely from country to country. International cooperation is key to moving forward, particularly given that the window to avoid the worst effects of climate change is rapidly closing.