By Wolfgang Fengler, Homi Kharas
The global debate around climate change is heated. Many argue that we must fundamentally change the way we move, eat, fuel our factories, and heat and cool our homes. And they do so with reason. Should emissions evolve in line with past trends, we are set to exceed the GHG concentration levels consistent with the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement already by 2031, according to projections by World Data Lab’s World Emissions Clock.
Can humanity change fast enough to escape this fate? Can richer countries break unsustainable patterns? What about emerging markets whose emissions are still growing as they continue to expand their economies? To answer these questions, we must take a surgical view of emissions by country and sector, and look at projections on how they will evolve.
Rich countries alone cannot solve the problem
Climate change is often viewed as a problem for wealthier countries to solve. While it is mainly developed countries that are responsible for the emissions of the past, they alone cannot solve this problem because today they are only responsible for a quarter of global emissions. Even if all OECD economies eliminated their emissions today, the Paris Agreement…