London: Countries must set more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming below two degrees, according to a new analysis of the emission targets from 159 countries including India.
Nearly all of the world's countries have announced targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
However, despite the now-stated targets, emissions will continue to increase up to 2030, and global temperature increase can be kept below the critical two degree limit only if drastic emission reductions are carried out after 2030.
"The rate of emission reductions required after 2030 might not be realistic anymore, and therefore it is critically important to make the current emission targets for 2030 more ambitious," said Tommi Ekholm, Senior Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
The researchers analysed the emission reduction targets from 159 countries (131 countries and the EU), studying how large a reduction or increase in emissions is implied by each country's stated target, the level of global greenhouse gas emissions around 2030 implied by the targets and the prospects of limiting global warming below two degrees Celsius.
The countries that have set an emissions reduction target represent more than 90 per cent the global greenhouse gas emissions, 89 per cent of the global population and 95 per cent of the economic production.
The results of the study provide an important basis for discussion for the Paris Climate Conference that started on Monday.
The aim of the negotiations is to draw up a global climate agreement applying to 196 countries that will enter into force in 2020. Such a country-specific comparative analysis of reduction targets has not been made before.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the richest countries will assume a leading role in the emissions reductions.
The comparison shows that all developed countries have promised to reduce emissions by 20?30 per cent from the current level. In contrast, the targets of developing countries vary considerably.
"Some of the developing countries aim at emissions reductions or a small increase at most, whereas the target of some countries would lead to a tripling of emissions from the current level," said Ekholm.
Of the high-emitting countries, the one with the most room for improvement is China, whose emissions would reach 13.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person by 2030 ? an increase of roughly 65 per cent compared to the 2010 level.
The fourth largest emitter is population-rich India, whose emissions per person would double to 4.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the researchers said.