Vast majority of countries tighten climate plans ahead of 2021 deadline

More than three-quarters of the world’s countries have formally committed to strengthen their plans to combat climate change by the end of 2020, new analysis by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) shows.

With the UN setting a 31 December deadline for countries to boost their climate action pledges, the CVF said its research shows continued support for the Paris Agreement, which was signed by the majority of the world’s countries in 2015.

To date, 151 countries have confirmed their plans to further tackle climate change in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic which has inflicted global damage on the economy.

Bangladesh is currently chairing the CVF until 2022. The country’s climate change minister Shahab Uddin praised vulnerable nations for sticking to the targets while also calling on richer nations, especially those most responsible for climate change, to play their part.

“The lion’s share of nations have committed to deliver on Paris Agreement obligations this year, with stronger 2030 climate targets — but we are not still sure of their delivery, strength and effort,” he said.

“Weak ambition has turned up the planet’s pressure cooker to the limit and threatens our very right to survival. Only the boldest efforts right now can save us and the 1.5°C goal.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, 120 countries have joined commitments to ramp up climate change action, although some 40 nations have still yet to announce their plans.

The weakest countries, according to the tracker, include Brazil, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, host of the delayed UN climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021.

So far London has said only that it will deliver its new plan “well ahead” of COP26.

It comes as little surprise that the US has not made further commitments in light of the Trump administration’s climate scepticism and its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement altogether earlier this month. 

However, President-elect Joe Biden has said the country will rejoin the Agreement on his first day of office, while the Biden Climate Plan aims to eliminate all US power sector emissions by 2035 alongside a comprehensive array of further climate measures.

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