The context for this question, is the recent court ruling about the nitrogen dioxide limits in German cities (An english article I found about it). Or this one written before the ruling, but arguably a better summary.
As I understand it, the lawsuit was about forcing the cities to impose more drastic measures (e.g. ban diesel cars from cities) to stay within the "self imposed" nitrogen dioxide EU limits. Similarly the countries that signed the paris climate agreement, imposed a limit on themselves of 2 degrees global warming. So in that light, can they be held accountable to that?
Because if you do some back-of-the-envelope calculations that is never going to happen.
Not sure how reliable the source is, but apparently a trillion tons of CO2 results in roughly 1.7 degrees of warming. Since global temperatures already went up 1 degree, that leaves 1 more degree (or 600 billion tons of CO2) if we want to stay within the target of 2 degrees. Since the EU has less than 10% of the world population (more like 7%) that doesn't leave more than 60 billion tons for the EU.
Using the CO2 certificate trading system I can estimate the amount of CO2 being produced over time. The number of certificates for fixed installations were 2 billion tons of CO2 in 2013 going down by 38 million every year until 2021 (Source). After 2021 it says the decrease is increased to 2.2% per year. Using the same base for that percentage as the 2013-2020 percentage (1.74%) that means a 46 million ton decrease per year (they want a 2.2% reduction but also say that the reduction is supposed to be linear so I am not sure if I understood them right here). This will mean that we will reach zero pollution in 2057 in that sector. The sum over all the certificates in that period tallies up to 50 billion tons of CO2. That would be fine, but it doesn't include the aviation certificates. And the fact that the certificate system only covers 45% of all emissions. Disregarding the aviation certificates, multipliying the total with 1/0.45 results in a conservative estimate of a total emission of 100 billion tons of CO2. Which is 60% over the amount of CO2 we can afford to produce.
Given how often I rounded in favour of the EU, they have no way of achieving this goal by this rate of CO2 reduction. And this assumes that the other pollution in other sectors not coverd by the certificate trading sheme goes down at the same pace. Which is unlikely in the case of aviation for example. Given the lack of technologies to have planes powered by renewable energy sources.
So can they be held accountable to their own commitment to limit global warming to 2 degrees? Similar how they are accountable for their own nitrogen dioxide limits in cities?
I am interested in a legal viewpoint mostly. But if you have other insights about this, go ahead.
EDIT (Clarification): I am not interested in accountability of one country to another. I know that there is none but transparency. But given that the EU signed this accord, could a citizen demand at a court, that measures are taking to actually enforce what the EU said it wants to enforce? Similar to how a citizen at a German court was able to demand that the nitrogen dioxide limits the EU set are actually enforced in the cities. And in this case you can also argue that the limits are set by the EU itself, and it could just change them. So in that sense it is also "self-imposed".
Thinking about it now, maybe this is the wrong stack exchange and this should be in a law focused one?