At the COP26 conference in Glasgow, world leaders are discussing climate goals and how to potentially limit global warming to 1.5°-2° Celsius. The event is seen by many as the last chance to reach this Paris Agreement goal. High-level cancellations by Chinese President Xi Jinping or Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have cast doubts on whether the conference can succeed. Asia, with its many rapidly developing economies, plays a major part in the outcome, with China especially having a pivotal role.
Data from the Climate Action Tracker shows that while China is responsible for some of the highest climate gas emissions in Asia and the world, the policies and actions already put in place in the country show the biggest potential for emissions reductions until 2030. China has recently slightly updated its Paris Agreement targets and additionally pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2060. The Climate Action Tracker is expecting China to about meet its 2030 goals with the updated policy. While the initiative rates the goal as a fair contribution by China, the country’s effort was still associated with an increase of the global temperature by up to 3° Celcius.
Elsewhere in Asia, for example in major developing economies India and Indonesia, emissions are lower overall than in China, but they are expected to keep rising – if slowly – until 2030. In Russia, which is also a large polluter in the region, they are expected to stagnate, while they have been falling in Japan.
In the case of India and Indonesia, analysts from the Climate Action Tracker conclude that 2030 Paris Agreement goals set by the countries are actually much less stringent than what the countries are expected to achieve through the policies and action already in place, leaving an accountability gap. Both countries have not tightened their Paris Agreement targets yet, but are expected to reach results associated with a 2° Celcius warming (India) and a 3° Celcius warming (Indonesia). The situation in Japan is the opposite. While emissions are falling, the ambitious target that would limit warming to 2° Celsius at most will not be met. Instead, the projected emissions also represent the equivalent of a warming of around 3° Celsius.