According to the annual greenhouse gas emissions report, G20 nations must imperatively accelerate their energy transition and increase its emissions cuts.
The average temperature of the planet is already 1.2 ºC above what it was in the pre-industrial eraexplained the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in its report.
Published shortly before a new climate change conference (COP28, from November 30 to December 12), the text is a new warning cry.
This year is expected to be the warmest in historyand the report notes that “The world is witnessing a disturbing acceleration in the number, speed and scale of climate records broken.”
«Ambitious and urgent efforts»
The annual report states that To reduce emissions fast enough to avoid catastrophic impacts, “ambitious and urgent efforts are required from all countries to reduce fossil fuel use and deforestation.”
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen urged G20 nations, responsible for about 80% of emissions, to lead global emissions reductions. Some, she warned, are in “pause mode.”
“It is absolutely critical that the G20 step up its efforts,” he told AFP.
The UNEP report examines the difference between the emissions that will still be sent into the atmosphere under countries’ decarbonization plans and what science says is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
This 2015 agreement established that countries agreed to limit global warming “well below” +2 ºC, and if possible, to +1.5 ºC.
By 2030, global emissions will need to be 28% lower than current policies suggest to stay below 2ºC, and 42% lower for the more ambitious limit of +1.5ºC.
“We have a lot of work to do because right now we are not where we should be”Andersen said.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries must submit increasingly extensive emissions reduction plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs.
UNEP estimates that full implementation of the NDCs by 2030, without taking into account external support, would give a 66% percent chance that the Earth’s average temperature will increase by 2.9ºC by 2100.
If emissions reduction promises are not taken into account, the world is inevitably heading towards more than +3 ºC.
What they warn about global warming
Scientists warn that warming to these levels could make vast regions of the planet virtually uninhabitable for humans and cause irreversible tipping points in land and oceans.
“Conditional” NDCs, which rely on international financing, would likely reduce the rise to +2.5°C over this century, the report said.
“The weather will not wait”
UNEP said that If all conditional NDCs and long-term net-zero emissions pledges were fully met, it would still be possible to limit temperature rise to 2°C.
But he warned that these net-zero emissions pledges are currently not considered credible, as none of the G20’s worst polluting countries have reduced emissions in line with their own targets.
Even in the most optimistic scenario, the possibility of limiting the temperature rise to +1.5 ºC is now only 14%.
The World Meteorological Organization has just noted that levels of the three main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, broke records last year.
UNEP recommends more ambitious NDCs, and to do so they must be updated between now and 2025.
Andersen considers himself optimistic ahead of COP28, despite the divisions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas.
“Countries and delegations understand that, regardless of these deep divisions that exist and are undeniable, the environment does not wait and the climate certainly will not,” he said.
“You can’t press the pause button,” he warned.
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