United Nations published this video item, entitled “”Less than one week before COP26 in Glasgow, we are still on track for climate catastrophe”-UN Chief” – below is their description.
New and updated commitments made ahead of the pivotal climate conference COP26 in the past months are a positive step forward, but the world remains on track for a dangerous global temperature rise of at least 2.7°C this century even if fully met, a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has warned.
Tuesday’s new Emissions Gap Report shows that updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – the efforts by each country to reduce national emissions, as well as other commitments made for 2030 but not yet officially submitted – would only lead to an additional 7.5 per cent reduction in annual greenhouse emissions in 2030, compared to previous commitments.
This is not enough. According to the agency, the world needs a 55 per cent reduction to limit global temperature increase below 1.5°C, the capstone defined by scientists as the less risky scenery for our planet and humanity’s future.
“Less than one week before COP26 in Glasgow, we are still on track for climate catastrophe”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a press conference introducing the new assessment.
“As the title of this year’s report puts it: ‘The heat is on’. And as the contents of the report show — the leadership we need is off. Far off”, he warned.
The report finds that net zero pledges, if fully implemented, could make a big difference and bring down the predicted global temperature rise to 2.2°C, providing hope that further action could still head off the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
However, so far these promises are “vague” and inconsistent with most 2030 national commitments, UNEP warns.
“And the report also shows that countries are squandering a massive opportunity to invest COVID-19 fiscal and recovery resources in sustainable, cost-saving, planet-saving ways. So far, the report estimates that only about 20 per cent of recovery investments will support the green economy,” Guterres said. “As world leaders prepare for COP26, this report is another thundering wake-up call. How many more do we need? “
A total of 49 countries plus the European Union have pledged a net zero target. This covers over half of global domestic greenhouse gas emissions, over half of global GDP and a third of the global population. Eleven targets are enshrined in law, covering 12 per cent of global emissions.
Yet, many NDCs delay action until after 2030, raising doubts over whether net-zero pledges can be delivered, the report says.
Moreover, although twelve G20 members have pledged a net zero target, ambiguity still surrounds the means of reaching that goal, says the report.
“Scientists are clear on the facts. Now leaders need to be just as clear in their actions. They need to come to Glasgow with bold, time-bound, front-loaded plans to reach net-zero.” urged UN chief António Guterres.
The report is clear: to have a chance of reaching the 1.5°C target, the world needs to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years. This means removing an additional 28 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent from annual emissions, over and above what is promised in the updated NDCs and other 2030 commitments.
According to the agency, post-pandemic emissions, after lowering initially, have bounced back and are now raising atmospheric concentrations of CO2, higher than at any time in the last two million years.
“As the report demonstrates the world would need seven times more ambition to keep us on the 1.5 degrees track,” the UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen said. “And this is a yawning gap that we must close in eight years. Eight years in which we must increase ambition, make new plans, put in place new policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts.”
The Emissions Gap Report 2021 also explores the potential of the reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors, to curb warming in the short term.
Cuts to methane could limit temperature increase faster than cuts to carbon dioxide, the experts explain. The gas, the second largest contributor to global warming, has a heating potential over 80 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time horizon; it also has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – only twelve years, compared to potentially hundreds, for CO2.
The report indicates that available no or low-cost technical measures alone could reduce anthropogenic methane emissions by around 20 per cent per year, and with broader structural and behavioral measures, by approximately 45 per cent.
“The point is that we know what we need to do,” Andersen said. “We even know how to do it. We know the time frame in which we need to act. We know the benefits of action and consequences of inaction. The case for climate change is essentially closed. So, it is time to get it done, with stronger commitment that use every option at our disposal, through policies and action, action, action. We need to go firm; we need to go fast and we need to start doing it now.”United Nations YouTube Channel
Got a comment? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below. Please note comments are moderated before publication.