Developed countries’ commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to avert dangerous climate change, according to the environmental think-tank the World Resources Institute

The WRI says its analysis shows that the combined pledges of the European Union, Japan, Russia, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Belarus, Ukraine, Canada and the United States would only result in a 10-24% reduction of global emissions compared with 1990 levels by 2020.

This reduction would be insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels – a target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

To meet the IPCC’s target, developed countries will need to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% to stabilize concentrations of CO2 at 450 parts per million. At this concentration, the IPCC says there is a 52% risk that global temperatures will overshoot the 2C target.

The WRI is urging industrialised countries to make more ambitious pledges to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI’s climate and energy programme, said: “While emission reduction commitments by these countries could have an important and potentially substantial impact, they will not be enough to meet recommendations of the IPCC.”

The WRI’s report covers pledges by nations responsible for 98% of all developed country emissions. It uses three metrics to compare country commitments – per capita reductions, emission intensity reductions and absolute reductions.