Over three quarters of countries pledge to improve climate targets

Wind turbines near Straussfurt, central Germany. (Keystone/AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Over 151 countries have committed to boosting their climate plans before the end of the year, including 120 since the beginning of the pandemic, a new tracker shows

The tool, launched by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of countries highly vulnerable to global warming, shows which states have confirmed they plan to strengthen their targets under the Paris Agreement for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The deadline for countries to update these targets, known as  nationally determined contributions (NDCs), ends at midnight on 31 December, and takes place every five years.

Those that have committed to delivering stronger plans include all 48 CVF members as well as the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States and other countries. According to the Climate Leadership Survival Barometer, 17 countries have already submitted their plans, of which 13 have improved their targets.

“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,” said Shahab Uddin, minister of environment, forest and climate change of Bangladesh, which currently holds the CVF presidency, as he launched the tool.

He urged “richer nations, especially those most responsible for climate change, to play their part”.

Among those countries that have yet to commit to stronger targets are the United States, Canada, Russia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, host to the UN climate summit next year. Switzerland also ranks low on the list after confirming earlier this year that it will not be submitting its new target until a new federal CO2 law, which has been subject to debates this year in parliament, has been adopted.

The CVF was founded in 2009 by the Maldives as a platform for countries most threatened by global warming to work together on climate issues. It is composed of 48 members from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific.