PROMISES VS. PERFORMANCE – The World’s Largest Emitters Since COP21

Contributed by Robert Lyman ©2019  Read his bio  here.

New report – download here: PROMISES VS PERFORMANCE Final


Executive Summary

At the COP21 Conference in December 2015, most member countries of the United Nations agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in accordance with Independent Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to be updated every five years. Almost four years later, how are the largest emitters performing?


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated that avoiding a two degree Celsius ( C ) rise in average global temperatures over pre-industrial levels would  require GHG emissions to decline by 2030 to 40 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent, and to avoid a 1.5-degree C. rise would require a 24.3 GT reduction. This is roughly equivalent to reductions in carbon dioxide emissions to 24.3 Gt for the two-degree C. goal and 15 Gt for the 1.5-degree C. goal.


The ten largest emitters in the world, in order, are: China, the United States, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.


Th following table indicates the projected emissions of these countries by 2030, based on the analysis of Climate Action Tracker and my own assessment.


Projected Emissions of Largest Emitters by 2030 (Mt)

China 14400 – 16600
United States           4900
European Union2770
Russian Federation1590 – 1740
Saudi Arabia810 – 1040
Iran700 – 750
South Korea700
Total27468 – 30098

In summary, none of the largest emitters, except the EU, will meet the emissions targets they set for themselves in 2015. This makes it highly likely that global emissions in 2030 will be well above, not below, those today. There is no “global decarbonization transition” occurring.


In other words, based on current trends, the IPCC’s goals will not be met. Indeed, it is highly likely that emissions from China, India and the United States combined will exceed 24 GT by 2030. That means that all the other countries of the world could completely eliminate their emissions, and indeed cease to exist, within twelve years and the two-degree C. goal would not be met.



  1. Andrew Roman

    Excellent report. I read it all. FYI, I am preparing my own legal analysis of the Paris Agreement, which is not really a legal “agreement” in the normal use of that word. This will be published on my blog in due course, but your analysis of the CO2 reduction numbers of the key countries has saved me some time.

  2. William John Moysiuk

    Got this from somewhere credible – just forget where,,,,,it was a study. Makes sense to me!

    When we burn fossil fuels, in addition to CO2, we also pump aerosol particles into the atmosphere. These aerosol particles probably cool the Earth slightly, so working in opposition to the CO2. If we stopped burning coal and oil, these aerosols would vanish within a few weeks, whilst the CO2 would remain in the atmosphere. There would therefore be a sudden spike in warming. Over a longer timescale, however, the deep oceans absorb some of the CO2. This means that the ‘committed warming’ by the end of this century is about 0.2 to 0.3° C less than it would be if the amount of CO2 were to remain constant. Nature gives us a bit of a helping hand

    • karabar

      What is it that makes you think that CO2 is even remotely related to atmospheric temperature? Can you think of any empirical data that would support that proposition?

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