The “State of Climate Action 2023” report presents a dismal picture of the problems that policymakers will confront as they prepare for the COP28 climate change summit in Dubai, UAE.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 hovers big over the study, as it does most of the conversation on climate action. “Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are at best mediocre,” said World Resources Institute’s Sophie Boehm.

On September 14, 2023, this image depicts the Suralaya coal-fired power plant’s chimneys in Cilegon. Residents and environmental non-governmental organizations have accused the World Bank of indirectly subsidizing two new coal-fired power plants on Indonesia’s most populated island, despite commitments to transition to renewable energy.

Efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius are failing “across the board,” according to a new assessment, and big adjustments will be necessary to produce meaningful change, including a far faster transition away from burning coal to generate power.

The “State of Climate Action 2023” report, released on Tuesday, provides a gloomy picture of the obstacles that policymakers confront as they prepare for the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at the end of November.

The Paris Agreement, which seeks to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels” hovers big over the study, as does much of the climate action debate.

The study released on Tuesday takes that 1.5 degree target and generates targets for 2030 and 2050 that are consistent with it. The overall findings are striking, with only one of 42 indicators — electric passenger car sales — on track to fulfill the 2030 objective.

The United Nations has previously said that 1.5 degrees Celsius is regarded as “the upper limit” for averting the worst effects of climate change.

“Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are at best mediocre,” said Sophie Boehm, principal author of the paper and a research associate at the World Resources Institute.

“Despite decades of dire warnings and wake-up calls, our leaders have largely failed to mobilize climate action anywhere near the pace and scale needed,” he said.

“Such delays leave us with few options for ensuring a livable future for all.” “There’s no time to tinker around the edges,” she explained.

“Instead, we need immediate, transformational changes across every single sector this decade.”

With the foregoing in mind, the report’s authors recommend a slew of steps that must be implemented if climate targets are to be met. They are as follows:

Coal will be phased out of energy generating seven times quicker than it is currently. That, according to the research, “is equivalent to retiring roughly 240 average-sized coal-fired power plants each year through 2030.”

Increasing the expansion of wind and solar electricity.

Accelerating the expansion of fast transport infrastructure.

Moving eight times faster toward better and more sustainable diets.

In this decade, the annual pace of deforestation has been cut four times quicker.

“We already know what needs to be done, sector by sector, by 2030,” said Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

“The world has made some progress — in some cases, exponential progress — but overall, we are lagging, with several trends moving quickly in the wrong direction,” he said.  

“It’s going to take drastic action from all of us — governments, corporations, cities — to embrace the systemic change needed to create a livable and thriving future for people, nature and climate.”

Tuesday’s analysis, a “joint effort” by the World Resources Institute, Bezos Earth Fund, ClimateWorks Foundation, Climate Action Tracker, and the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions, was released on the same day that UN Climate Change issued its own evaluation of the present state of play.

According to the NDC Synthesis Report, governments worldwide are not doing enough to avert the worst consequences of climate change and must be more aggressive in their efforts to reduce emissions.

Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, are objectives set by individual nations to reduce emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.

All parties to the Paris Agreement are required to revise their NDCs every five years. Targets must be raised.