The planet is heading towards a “climate catastrophe”, the UN has warned as a report showed how far nations are from reducing the pollution that causes global warming.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) published its annual emissions gap report on Thursday, showing that current commitments by governments to curb global temperature rise are “woefully inadequate”.
Current government climate policies put the world on track to achieve an average temperature rise of 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, according to the report, while implementation of current pledges will reduce the temperature rise to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. 0.4-2.6 C (4.3-4.7 F) this century.
Government officials will meet from November 6-18 at the COP 27 climate talks in Egypt to discuss how to limit warming to less than 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and ideally at 1.5°C (2.7°F).
Last year, leaders made additional commitments at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow in hopes of reducing emissions.
like the last @UNEP The Emissions Gap report makes it clear that we are headed toward levels of global warming that destroy the economy.
We need #ClimateAction on all fronts, and we need it now.
We must close the emissions gap before the catastrophe reaches us all.
— Antonio Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 27, 2022
Since the climate talks in Scotland, additional commitments have been made to remove 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GtCO2e), less than 1 percent of estimated global emissions by 2030, it showed. the annual report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Current policies, without strengthening them, are likely to lead to a temperature increase of 2.8°C (5°F) by the end of the century, 0.1°C higher than estimated last year.
“We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time has passed. Only a radical transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerated climate disaster,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.
To reach the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), annual emissions must be reduced by 45% compared to emission forecasts under current policies. The move requires investment of at least $4-$6 billion a year, according to the report.
“It’s another wasted year in terms of actually doing something about the problem,” said report lead author Anne Olhoff.
“That is not to say that all nations have not taken this seriously. But from a global perspective, it’s definitely a long way from being adequate.”
According to a separate UN report earlier this week, looking at the latest pledges put forward by countries, warming of 2.5°C (4.5°F) is likely by the end of the century.
“We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions needed to move towards a 1.5 degree Celsius world,” Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said in a statement.
Under the 2015 Paris agreement, countries are required to submit increasingly deep emission reduction plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs.
UNEP found that “unconditional” NDCs, which countries plan independently of external support, would likely limit global warming to 2.6°C (4.7°F) by 2100, a level that scientists warn would be catastrophic for humanity and nature.
Conditional NDCs, which rely on international funding to achieve them, would likely see a temperature rise of 2.4°C (4.3°F) this century, he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that carbon neutrality targets are worthless if not backed by action, adding that the world cannot “afford any more greenwashing”.
“Net zero commitments are worth zero without the plans, policies and actions to back them up,” he said in a video message.
“Global and national climate commitments are falling woefully short,” Guterres said in the video, which comes less than two weeks before the start of COP27.
“In other words, we are headed for a global catastrophe,” Guterres said.
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