The UN Paris Agreement was 3 years ago; here's how countries are doing with their climate goals
In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.
The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.
According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."
Morrocco and The Gambia are the only two countries with plans to reduce CO2 emissions "to a level consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C.," according to National Geographic. Both countries are also increasing their use of renewables. India is on track to beat its goal of generating 40% of its electricity from renewables by a decade. Costa Rica got honorable mention, partly for getting 98% of the country's electricity from renewables.
Norway, China, and the U.K. all received shout-outs for their efforts. Even though the U.K. isn't hitting its goals, it still managed to reduce emissions by 44% between 1990 and 2018. In Norway, 60% of all new cars sold were electric, and the government made strides by disinvesting in oil, gas, and coal. It's surprising that China got an honorable mention, as it's the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses. But the government's efforts to meet their agreement includes subsidizing electric cars, and in 2018, 1.1 million people bought them.
The bottom of the class is filled with troublemakers. Russia, the fourth-largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, has yet to ratify the Paris Agreement. Saudi Arabia and the Ukraine were both called out for going the wrong way, and if Saudi Arabia keeps on going the way it is, it's going to increase emissions by up to 80% of 2015 levels by 2030. Yuck. Meanwhile, the United States announced plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement altogether.
RELATED: Greta Thunberg's Greatest Hits: 10 times the teen activist unflinchingly spoke truth to power
Overall, we have to do better as a planet. Global carbon emissions increased in 2017 by 1.7% and by 2.7% in 2018. No surprise, it is predicted that the increase for 2019 will be the highest on record. The good news is that we still have the ability to reduce carbon emissions within 12 years, but it's going to take action. Hopefully the Climate Action Summit will put plans in place to make an impact.