In 2018, global emissions grew once again signalling that ever stronger efforts to reduce emissions are required to arrest global warming at 1.5°C. This means that G20 countries will have to ratchet up their 2030 emissions targets in 2020 and significantly bolster mitigation, adaptation, and finance measures over the next decade. The Brown to Green Report 2019 takes stock of where the G20 countries stand in terms of 1.5°C benchmarks and highlights key opportunities to enhance climate action across sectors.

The Brown to Green Report 2019, published by Climate Transparency, consists of a summary report and an in-depth country profile for each G20 country. The country profiles and a technical note on data sources and methodology can be downloaded at::

Lola Vallejo is contributing author and IDDRI one of the 14 partner institutions of the report.

Key Messages

01. Adaptation

  • All G20 countries have adaptation plans with the exception of Saudi Arabia.

02. Mitigation

  • Economic growth and emissions have not been fully decoupled: G20 energy-related CO2 emissions increased in 2018 by 1.8% because of high economic growth and an ever greater fossil fuel energy supply.
  • G20 countries need to cut their current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 45% in 2030 (below 2010 levels) to be in line with global benchmarks set by the IPCC report on 1.5°C. They must reach net-zero emissions by 2070. 
  • About half of the G20 countries (China, the EU and its G20 member states, India, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) are projected to meet or surpass their NDC targets, excluding land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) emissions.
  • There is an increasing drive that has built momentum around net-zero emissions targets. France and the UK have net-zero 2050 emissions goals that are enshrined in law.
  • In 2018, emissions in the power sector, including electricity and heat production, increased by +1.6%, similar to the annual average of the last ten years. Indonesia and Turkey are burning more coal than ever for electricity – and their power emissions increased the most in 2018. South Africa continues to have the highest emission intensity in the G20. 
  • Transport emissions of the G20 continued to increase in 2018 (+1.2%). To keep global warming below 1.5°C, the share of low-carbon fuels in the G20 transport fuel mix (6%) would need to increase roughly ten times by 2050.
  • G20 emissions in the building sector grew more than in any other sector in 2018 (+4.1%), although on average emissions had stabilised over the last decade.
  • The G20’s increase in industrial emissions (+3.1%) in 2018 remains highly problematic. Emission intensity in the sector is highest in Russia, India and China partly because of a shift of heavy industry away from developed countries towards emerging and developing countries.
  • Less consumption of animal products will lower G20 emissions in agriculture. High deforestation rates in Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Indonesia must be cut.

03. Finance

  • G20 economies lead in greening the financial system.
  • G20 countries, excluding Saudi Arabia provided about US$ 127 billion in subsidies to coal, oil and gas in 2017 compared to US$ 248 billion in 2013.
  • A total of 18 G20 countries have implemented or are in the process of implementing explicit carbon-pricing schemes such as emission trading systems (ETS) and carbon taxes.
  • G20 public institutions financed coal and coal-fired power production internationally at US$ 17 billion and domestically at US$ 11 billion on average in 2016–2017.

Read the report