UNEP Emissions Gap report calls for urgent climate change action

report

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has unveiled its latest Emissions Gap Report, which calls for all nations to reduce emissions at a much quicker rate in order to achieve the aims set out by the Paris agreement.

The 12th edition of the annual series – The Emissions Gap Report 2021: The Heat Is On – provides an overview of the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

Crucially, the Emissions Gap Report 2021 shows that new national climate pledges, combined with other mitigation measures, put the world on track for a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century. That is well above the goals of the Paris climate agreement and would lead to catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement, the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years.

If implemented effectively, net-zero emissions pledges could limit warming to 2.2°C, closer to the well-below 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement. However, many national climate plans delay action until after 2030. The reduction of methane emissions from the fossil fuel, waste and agriculture sectors could help close the emissions gap and reduce warming in the short term, the report finds.

Carbon markets could also help slash emissions, but that would only happen if rules are clearly defined and target actual reductions in emissions, while being supported by arrangements to track progress and provide transparency.

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