According to the report, the combined climate pledges of 193 parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
Today’s report also shows current commitments will increase emissions by 10.6 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is an improvement over last year’s assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions by 13.7 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.
Last year’s analysis showed projected emissions would continue to increase beyond 2030. This year’s analysis shows that while emissions are no longer increasing after 2030, they are still not demonstrating the rapid downward trend science says is necessary this decade.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report indicated that CO2 emissions needed to be cut 45 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. The latest science from the IPCC released earlier this year uses 2019 as a baseline, indicating that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43 per cent by 2030.
This is critical to meeting the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.
“The downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “But the science is clear and so are our climate goals under the Paris Agreement. We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world. To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years.”
UN Climate Change analysed the climate action plans — known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — of 193 parties to the Paris Agreement, including 24 updated or new NDCs submitted after the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) up until September 23.
Taken together, the plans cover 94.9 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.
“At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year, all countries agreed to revisit and strengthen their climate plans,” said Stiell. “The fact that only 24 new or updated climate plans were submitted since COP26 is disappointing. Government decisions and actions must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change.”
This is UN Climate Change’s second such report, providing a critical update to last year’s inaugural NDC synthesis report. While the overall findings of the report are stark, there are glimmers of hope.
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