Technically The Paris Agreement is legally binding, yet countries are allowed to chart their own path to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 192 countries out of 196 have ratified the agreement.
*Eritrea, Libya, Yemen and Iraq have not ratified the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement set out a timeline to reach its 2050 target to stay below 1.5°C of warming:
Parties to the agreement began submitting climate action plans known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Initial commitments, even if fully implemented, would only be enough to slow warming to 3 degrees. Urgent calls for action and ambition gained momentum as the plans would not stop catastrophic impacts.
In the lead-up to the COP26 climate talks, countries have begun revising their NDCs to strengthen climate action. With science affirming a shrinking window of opportunity, the plans must include urgent actions to cut carbon emissions and reach net zero by 2050.
To keep warming to 1.5 degrees, countries must cut emissions by at least 45 per cent compared to 2010 levels
The transition to net-zero emissions must be fully complete.
So how many countries are on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets? From 192 Party countries only one: The Gambia.
The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, and its emissions account to less than 0.01% of annual emissions. Yet this tiny country is still implementing policies to decarbonize, making it the only country in the world on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets.
The sad reality is that in 2018 The Gambia let Australian oil company FAR begin drilling the country’s first offshore well in 40 years, and in 2019 BP began oil and gas exploration too.
So even though the country is on track to meet the Paris Agreement this is only because of the Paris Agreement’s “fair share” levels of contribution:
“This element of the rating evaluates the level of effort of a government’s target or policies against what could be considered a ”fair share” contribution to the global effort in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”