The European Union is widely expected to meet its ambitious climate targets under the Paris Agreement, according to a survey of hundreds of scientists and diplomats.
More than 800 climate experts were asked to rate a handful of major emitters according to their ambition — a measure of how much they plan to cut emissions given their capacity to do so — and their credibility, or how likely countries are to meet their goal.
“To truly gauge the success of the Paris Agreement, you need to incorporate the judgement, intuition, and expertise from those with real-world experience negotiating these policies,” David Victor, a professor of industrial innovation at the University of California San Diego and lead author of the study, said in a statement.
Experts expressed high confidence that the European Union, which aims to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030, will reach its aim. The European Union was rated as the most ambitious and credible overall, followed by China, Australia, South Africa, and India. The U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil ranked lower than these countries for both credibility and ambition. The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The survey was carried out before the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which put hundreds of billions of dollars toward clean energy. Along with other climate policies, the bill is expected to get the U.S. 80 percent of the way to its Paris Agreement goal. But even with this, Victor says, a credibility gap still remains.
“While the legislation is a big step in the right direction, it doesn’t deliver the same investment many other counties have already committed,” he said. “I think the major questions our study raises are ‘how does the U.S. boost its credibility’ and ‘why is credibility a problem?’”