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Climate Change: How is My Country Doing on Tackling It?

Every year countries pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to curb the impacts of climate change.

But still global temperatures keep rising.

In May, scientists announced that average global temperatures would probably pass the 1.5C threshold for the first time in the next five years. As temperatures rise the world will see more devastating heatwaves, wildfires and floods.

Find out using the interactive chart below which countries are on track with their commitments to meet the Paris climate goal of keeping global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees.

The graphic shows how each country should be reducing emissions to line up with global climate commitments, considering their resources and technology available.

However, the pathways do not take into account historical emissions that countries have released.

Developed nations such as the UK began building factories and manufacturing earlier than other nations. Fossil fuels were used in the process and these countries began producing significant greenhouse gas emissions from the mid 19th Century.

Developing countries argue that it is fair for developed countries, who have emitted more greenhouse gases, and therefore contributed more to the issue of climate change, to reduce their emissions quicker and harder.

Developed nations also benefited financially from industrialising earlier, and it is argued they should therefore use more resources to tackle the issue.

‘Fair share’ pathways are an alternative to the pathways in the graph above. They take into account these historical issues.

There is no international agreement on what a fair level of contribution would be for each country to cut their emissions. But in the global 2015 Paris Agreement countries did recognise they have a shared responsibility to tackle climate change but have different capabilities.

Using more than 40 studies from the UN’s climate scientists group, the IPCC, researchers at Climate Action Tracker have created a set of ‘fair share’ emissions pathways to get each country to align with the 1.5 degree Paris goal.

Their research on fair shares is illustrated in the chart below.

Saudi Arabia’s most recent pledges could yield a range of emissions, according to the Climate Action Tracker. Emissions from its current policies could fall within the range of pledged emissions, but would still be higher than the midpoint shown in the chart above.

Source : BBC