Canada and the US, among others, are nowhere near reaching the Paris Agreement climate change goals

The landmark Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2016, is supposed to push countries to lower their greenhouse gas emissions to levels which won’t cause catastrophic damage. But, according to Climate Action Tracker, many of the 200 countries that signed the agreement are failing to live up to their self-imposed goals — including all of the world’s top 10 biggest polluters.

Climate Action Tracker ranks 32 countries covering 80 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions based on countries’ own goals, long-term targets and current policies to determine whether they are in line with their goals.

Critically Insufficient
Highly Insufficient
2°C Compatible
1.5°C Paris Agreement Compatible
Role Model
Saudi ArabiaCanadaBrazilCosta RicaThe Gambia
JapanNew Zealand
South AfricaPeru
South KoreaSwitzerland

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” while attempting to keep the global temperature even below that.

Other highlights from the rankings include that:

  • No countries rank in the “role model” category

  • Canada has been placed under “highly insufficient,” meaning its process is “not at all consistent with holding warming to below 2ºC let alone with the Paris Agreement's stronger 1.5ºC limit”

  • The United States falls into “critically insufficient,” which is understandable since Trump withdrew from the agreement two years ago

As part of the agreement, each country came up with a document listing what it is willing to do for their part — all 185 of them, called (I)NDCs, can be found on the UN Climate Change website.

However, it’s important to note that there’s no punishments built into the agreement for countries that fail to live up to their promises. A recent report from the International Energy Agency detailed that demand for coal increased by 2.3 percent in 2018 — the fastest increase in a decade — bringing energy-related CO2 emissions up 1.7 percent compared to 2017.

📸: Wikimedia