The G20 countries are falling short of their climate goals, but certain nations are making more progress than others.
None of the G20 nations currently have measures in effect that align with the objective of the Paris agreement to restrain global warming to 1.5C and fulfill their equitable responsibilities for reducing emissions.
According to the Climate Action Tracker, the evaluation is derived from information up until December 5th and coincides with the Cop28 conference currently taking place in Dubai.
It assesses each country against its “fair share” contribution to the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account considerations such as the historical emissions of higher-income countries, which may increase their responsibility to take action. It also considers issues such as economic capability and welfare cost.
on climate change
The climate change efforts of eight G20 countries have been deemed ‘critically insufficient.’
The eight G20 nations – Argentina, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, and Indonesia – would receive a “critically insufficient” rating if their contributions were solely based on their fair share. This indicates that their climate policies and commitments show little to no effort, and would result in a temperature increase of 4C (7.2F) above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century.
Although certain nations like Turkey and Mexico have low past emissions, their standards are not as strict as those of high-income countries. However, their projected future emissions are still excessive and place them in the worst category according to the Climate Action Tracker.
The projected emissions for Argentina in 2030 are 398 million metric tonnes, while the fair share limit for a 1.5C-compatible goal is 191 million metric tonnes. Concerns have been raised by environmentalists about the potential for Argentina to backtrack on climate action following the recent election of far-right president Javier Milei, who has dismissed climate change as a “socialist hoax”.
The 11 Argentinian negotiators sent to Dubai for Cop28 are representatives of the previous government and so, in effect, are lame ducks. Milei, who is an admirer of Donald Trump, has indicated he is likely to follow Trump’s lead and withdraw Argentina from the Paris agreement.
Similarly, the projected amount of emissions for South Korea in 2030, which is 654 million metric tonnes, greatly exceeds the maximum limit of 235 million metric tonnes in a 1.5C-compatible fair share scenario.
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The European Union and the United Kingdom are both considered to be among the countries with a “highly insufficient” rating when it comes to tackling climate change.
China, Brazil, Australia, the European Union, and the United Kingdom would all receive a “highly insufficient” rating, indicating that their policies and promises are not in line with the goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) when considering their past emissions.
In order to meet the 1.5C goal committed to at the Paris agreement, the UK would need to have a net decrease of 152m metric tonnes in emissions by 2030 under a fair distribution model. Analysts propose that if it is not feasible for a country to achieve such drastic reductions within its borders, it could potentially offset this by providing climate finance to support emission reductions in other nations.
The United Kingdom is significantly below this goal, as it is projected to emit approximately 367 million metric tonnes by 2030.
China is the top contributor to emissions in the G20, with an estimated peak of 14.3 billion metric tonnes in 2026.
Last year, in Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from the Workers’ Party was elected as president after four years of being under the leadership of right-wing hardliner Jair Bolsonaro. His campaign focused on promises to decrease deforestation and uphold the rights of Indigenous communities.
The rate of deforestation has decreased, but the country remains a significant producer of fossil fuels and has a highly polluting agricultural industry. The announcement that Brazil will join the OPEC oil cartel was met with disappointment from activists. Additionally, Brazil intends to hold an auction for oil drilling rights in environmentally delicate regions later this month.
However, Brazil this year improved its emission reduction targets after they had been reduced by the Bolsonaro administration, and as hosts of Cop30 in 2025 Lula is under pressure to be seen as a climate leader.
in progress on addressing climate change
The United States and India have been deemed ‘inadequate’ in their efforts to combat climate change.
The fair share analysis shows that five G20 countries – the US, Japan, South Africa, Germany, and India – would receive an “insufficient” rating. This means that while their policies and commitments may result in a stabilization or decrease in emissions, it will not be at a rapid enough rate to prevent global warming from surpassing 1.5C.
The projected increase in emissions from Indonesia and India is taken into consideration to some extent through the fair share allocation.
The projected emissions for the US in 2030, at over 5 billion metric tonnes, far exceed the allocation of 1.9 billion metric tonnes recommended by analysts using a fair share model that aligns with a 1.5C target.
The United States has made progress towards reaching its goal of reducing emissions by 2030, having accomplished approximately one-third of the target. This progress was further enhanced by the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act by President Joe Biden, which included encouraging measures such as investments in clean energy.
Although there are worries that a Republican president being elected next year may hinder progress, there is also optimism that this private investment is well established and would be difficult to fully reverse.
Similar to the United Kingdom, Germany will have to absorb more emissions than it releases in 2030, with an estimated amount of 104 million metric tonnes. However, current projections show that Germany is expected to emit 472 million metric tonnes by that time.
The evaluation places Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria among non-G20 countries whose policies and commitments align with limiting global warming to 1.5C in a fair distribution scenario.
According to Leonardo Nascimento, a member of the Climate Action Tracker team, the current trajectory of global warming is projected to reach a catastrophic increase of 3 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. While this is a slight improvement from a decade ago, it is still far from enough to guarantee a sustainable future for future generations.
“Reducing global emissions at the pace we need requires strong international cooperation and that all countries, without exception, adopt increasingly stronger domestic policies and targets. The time to act is now. Any additional delays on improving targets and policies intensifies climate change and increases the effort to reduce emissions later.”
The analysis conducted by the Climate Action Tracker covered 17 G20 countries and the EU. However, it did not evaluate France and Italy separately, and it also did not include the African Union.
The concept of fair share categories was discussed by a Climate Action Tracker researcher, who stated that determining what is fair is subjective and influenced by government perspectives and interests. Some believe it is just for those who are more responsible for the issue or have greater ability to take action to do more. To establish our parameters, we gathered various viewpoints on what constitutes a fair effort towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, known as effort-sharing studies.