Climate Action Tracker To Develop Paris-Consistent Benchmarks

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The Climate Action Tracker, one of the world’s leading climate science advisories, has announced that it is developing a new series of Climate Action Benchmarks that will serve to highlight the level of emissions reductions governments and sectors must achieve to contribute to the Paris Climate Agreement’s long-term temperature goal.

Power plant and visible emissions ( and sectors around the world have repeatedly been informed of the importance of reducing harmful emissions and participating in the global clean energy transition. The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) — an independent scientific analysis produced by Climate Analytics, Ecofys, and the NewClimate Institute — has been one of the leading bodies studying the world’s biggest emitters and tracking emissions reductions.

In November, CAT published updated estimates of global progress towards the long-term goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, in which it detailed “some positive and negative findings” which were underlined by an uncomfortable truth — our current policies are nowhere near where they need to be if we are to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Countries that are clearly on track to overachieve their targets have the opportunity to strengthen them to reflect real emissions development,” said Yvonne Deng of Ecofys, a Navigant company. “On the other hand, there are also many governments who have set a low bar for their climate action, but are not even meeting that. 2018 is the right moment for all of these governments to step up climate action.”

CAT also published in December a series of 10 key short-term sectoral benchmarks for climate action that must be taken by 2020-2025 if we are to “keep the window open for a 1.5°C-consistent GHG emission pathway” — a much tougher proposition than keeping temperatures below 2°C.

Announced on Thursday, CAT revealed that it is developing a new feature of its work — a series of publicly available Climate Action Benchmarks, which will provide a clear picture of the necessary emissions reductions countries, sectors, and businesses must take if society as a whole is to reach the Paris Climate Agreement’s long-term temperature goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. CAT is hoping that the Benchmarks will provide actors from countries, sectors, and businesses a means by which to gauge the effectiveness of recent developments, future actions, or targets compatible with the Paris Agreement.

The Benchmarks will be designed with support from the ClimateWorks Foundation, the European Climate Foundation, and the We Mean Business coalition, through what CAT describes as “an innovative and collaborative approach that will integrate existing research and identify data gaps.”

“With the development of these benchmarks the CAT meets the demand for independent, science-based analysis to ratchet up national and sectoral ambition and action under the Paris Agreement.”

The immediate plan is to spend the next three months developing a set of indicators which will focus on benchmarks for the energy and transport sectors across six specific geographies — global, the US, the European Union, China, India, and Indonesia. Following this process, CAT will launch a collaborative process with key stakeholders to validate, update, and extend these benchmarks into the future.