India will exceed the global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius if it does not limit carbon emissions, according to a new report by the G20. The Climate Transparency Report is an annual review of G20 countries’ climate action and their transition to a net-zero emissions economy. According to the report, India has to significantly cut its CO2 emissions and adopt a plan to phase out coal by 2040 to meet climate targets.

India could become a global leader if, instead of building new coal-fired power plants, it phased out coal use for power by 2040. India’s per capita GHG emissions, while far below the G20 average, had increased by 13.9 per cent between 2012 and 2017. While 18 of the G20 countries are implementing carbon-pricing schemes, India has proposed no such plan and has not introduced restrictions on public financing for coal. This data needs to be seen in the context that India is ranked as susceptible to ‘very high’ impact even if temperature increase is held to 1.5 °C.

India scored much below the G20 average in 2015 in terms of adaptation readiness. The report states that ‘it has both a great need for investment and innovations to improve readiness and an urgent need for implementation of adaptation measures.’ The current climate targets for 2030 committed by the government are not in line with a 1.5 °C temperature rise limit (set by the Paris Agreement). As per the report’s assessment, India needs to urgently transition from coal to renewable energy by promoting electric vehicles and ending the reliance on coal mining and increased coal production. The full assessment can be read here.

The report found that energy-related CO2 emissions declined by 0.1 per cent in 2019 in G20 countries for the first time due to climate policies rather than external shocks. Unfortunately, at least 19 of the G20 countries have chosen to provide financial support to their domestic oil, coal and/or gas sectors, and only four countries provided more funding to green sectors compared with fossil fuel or other similar industries.

The share of renewable energy in power generation increased in 19 countries in 2019, accounting for 27 per cent of power generation in the G20. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to temporarily decrease by 7.5 per cent in 2020. However, urgent climate action by every country is needed if emissions growth is to be avoided and the Paris Agreement goals met. 

The Climate Transparency Report is based on 100 indicators for adaptation, mitigation, decarbonisation, climate policies, and finance towards a net-zero emissions world. It provides an overview of how well (or not) countries in the G20 are doing on combating climate change. 

This year’s report consists of two parts: the annual policy assessment based on data of the previous year(s) and an analysis of the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis and recovery efforts on countries’ climate ambition. Some of the partners that collaborated on this report are TERI, Climate Analytics, Climate Action Tracker, and GermanWatch.