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Climate Action Barometer: 12 Charts Explain Where We Are Today, and Where We Need to be in 2020

Countries committed under the Paris Agreement to a broad goal of limiting global temperature rise to under 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F), ideally 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F). The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes it clear that half a degree of warming makes a huge difference, and 1.5 degrees C is the safer target.

So how and where do we start to get to 1.5, rather than 2 degrees or worse? The most recent climate science shows that our most likely, least expensive option is to peak global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020 and dramatically reduce them from that point forward.

The Mission 2020 campaign defines six milestones –in energy, transport, land use, industry, infrastructure and finance – that give governments and industries a clear roadmap to put us on a path towards achieving 1.5 degrees C. In a working paper published today, WRI found progress in some areas, but we'll need faster action in order to achieve the 2020 turning point.

Here are 12 charts that measure progress on the milestones: energy, transport, land use, industry, infrastructure, finance.

In each of these six sectors, tremendous opportunities to scale up and accelerate action remain untapped. Acting sooner rather than later is critically important, especially to avoid building new carbon-intensive infrastructure that would operate for decades. Now is the time to invest in necessary shifts, such as phasing out coal; moving swiftly toward renewable energy; electrifying transport, buildings and industry; and managing land sustainably. National governments can steer this shift by revising their Paris Agreement climate action plans (known as nationally determined contributions, or NDCs), and by developing long-term plans to tackle climate change.

Recent research from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that bold climate action – in line with the Paris Agreement and the Mission 2020 milestones – could deliver at least $26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030. If these benefits are to stay within reach, then governments, businesses and investors must harness the opportunities to transition to a clean and sustainable economy starting immediately.