UN seeks urgent action on Paris climate change pact
Governments and non-state actors need to act fast in order to achieve the 2030 global warming targets as captured in the Paris Agreement, a new report by the United Nations (UN) has warned.
The eighth edition of the UN Environment’s Emissions Gap document, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn next week, found that national pledges had only achieved a third of the reduction in emissions, while private sector and sub-national action was worse.
The Paris pact aims to limit global warming to under 2oC, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5oC also on the table.
However, even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional nationally determined contributions makes a temperature increase of at least 3oC by 2100 very likely – meaning that governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when a review holds in 2020.
Should the United States make good its threat of backing out of the pact in 2020, the picture could become bleaker.
The report, however, offered practical ways to slash emissions through rapidly expanding mitigation action based on existing options in the agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport sectors.
Strong action on other climate forcers – such as hydro fluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and other temporal climate pollutants like black carbon – could also make an impact.
According to the survey, carbon dioxide emissions have remained stable since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy, notably in China and India.
It warned that that other greenhouse gases such as methane, were still rising, adding that a global economic growth spurt could easily increase the phenomenon.
The report noted that current pledges make achievement of 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2e) equivalent unlikely by 2030.
One gigatonne is roughly equivalent of one year of transport emissions in the European Union (including aviation).
The gap in the case of the 1.5oC target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e higher than previous estimates, as new studies show.
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