According to the United Nations Environment Program, national plans to reduce carbon are far below what is needed to avoid dangerous climate change.
Their Emissions gap report says the country’s pledges will fail to keep global temperatures below 1.5C this century.
Unep’s analysis suggests that the world is about to warm to around 2.7 ° C with extremely destructive impacts.
But there is hope that if the long-term net zero targets are met, temperatures can be significantly contained.
- Attenborough in the “act now” warning on climate
- Let people fly less, ministers said
- Australia’s commitment to net zero for 2050 draws criticism
A few days before the opening of COP26 in Glasgow, another scientific report on climate change is “another thundering alarm bell”, according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
This week, we already had a WMO study showing that warming gases hit a new high last year, despite the pandemic.
Now in its twelfth year, this emissions gap report examines the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) or carbon reduction plans that countries submitted to the United Nations prior to the COP.
These pledges are valid until 2030 and have been submitted by 120 countries. Unep also took into account other commitments for cutting gas heating not yet formally presented in an NDC.
The report notes that, combined, the plans reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by about 7.5% compared to previous commitments made five years ago.
That’s not close enough to keep the 1.5 ° C temperature threshold in sight, say the scientists who compiled the study.
To keep 1.5 ° C alive 55% cuts would be needed by the same date in 2030. This means that current plans would have to have seven times the level of ambition to stay below that limit.
“To have a chance to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C, we have eight years to nearly halve greenhouse gas emissions: eight years to make the plans, implement policies, implement them and ultimately make the cuts.” said Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP.
“The clock is ticking loudly.”
According to the authors, current promises would see the world warm up by 2.7 sec. in this century, a scenario that Antonio Guterres calls a “climate catastrophe”.
He believes the report highlights the failures of political leaders.
“The emissions gap is the result of a leadership gap,” he said at the launch of the study.
“But leaders can still make this a turning point for a greener future instead of a turning point towards climate catastrophe.”
As Mr Guterres suggests, the report contains some signs of hope.
About 50 countries plus the EU have promised a net zero target for the middle of this century.
These strategies cover more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions.
Unep’s analysis finds that if these plans were fully implemented, this could reduce the temperature rise by 0.5 ° C by 2100.
This would reduce the global temperature level to 2.2 ° C, which would see dramatic and deadly effects from warming, but it would be a step in the right direction from where the world is currently headed.
The problem, however, is that many of these net zero goals are ambiguous, the authors say, particularly among the 20 richest nations in the world, where a dozen long-term plans are said to be rather vague.
Many delay significant cuts until after 2030, raising serious doubts that they can really deliver net zero just 20 years later.
- Six simple ways to be environmentally friendly
- How to talk to your child about climate change?
Another sign of hope concerns methane. The report also states that there is great potential to make progress on these emissions, which are the second source of warming.
Up to 20% of these emissions from fossil fuels, waste and agriculture could be curbed at little or no cost.
However, the opportunity to develop a much greener world as the world recovers from Covid risks being lost, say the authors.
They find that around 20% of recovery investments will support renewable energy and the green economy.
“The huge sums spent to recover economies from Covid-19 are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote low-carbon technologies and industries. In most cases, this opportunity is not taken,” said Brian O’Callaghan, project manager of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project and author of the Unep report.
“This is a particular slap in the face for vulnerable nations that are suffering the worst consequences of climate change … we remain without a commitment from the highest emitters to cover the losses and damage they have caused to the world.”
Follow Matt on Twitter.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Paris climate agreement
- Climate change
Read More about World News here.
This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source