The outlook for curbing global warming has improved since last year as a result of policy moves in China and India, analysts said on Wednesday.
In a report released on the sidelines of UN climate talks in Bonn, Climate Action Tracker (CAT) lowered their temperature rise prediction this century from 3.6C to 3.4C.
A notable gap still exists between carbon-cutting efforts and what is needed to meet the 2C temperature limit or lower agreed in Paris Agreement.
Niklas Höhne from New Climate Institute, a co-author of the report, said: “Over the last year, governments have made substantial steps in improving climate policies, and this has had a discernible effect on global emissions projections. For example, in the face of increasingly cheaper renewable energy, many are now actively moving away from coal. Electric mobility is also gaining momentum.”
While the US under Donald Trump has been rolling back climate policies, CAT saw a positive trend in key Asian economies.
China’s carbon emissions grew by 110% in the first decade of this century, but the growth significantly slowed to 16% between 2010 and 2015.
“It is clear who the leaders are here: in the face of US inaction, China and India are stepping up,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, another co-author.
Hare added that China and India should review – and strengthen – their commitments under the Paris agreement, as CAT projections suggest they are on course to overachieve.
The CAT report did not take into account preliminary data for 2017, which shows global emissions rising after a three-year plateau, driven by an uptick in China.
Analysts also highlighted countries that were lagging. Notably, the US decision to withdraw from the Paris pact pointed to higher warming. Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada also have inadequate policies to meet their commitments by 2030, the report said.
CAT predicts global carbon emissions will increase by 9-13% between 2020 and 2030, mainly driven by countries such as Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.
“Countries that are clearly on track to overachieve their targets have the opportunity to strengthen them to reflect real emissions development. On the other hand, there are also many governments who have set a low bar for their climate action, but are not even meeting that,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys.
The annual assessment covers 32 countries, which emit around 80 per cent of global greenhouse gases.