UN Latest Report Finds The World Is On Track For 2.5 – 2.9°C Of Warming

UN Latest Report Finds The World Is On Track For A 2.5 - 2.9°C Of Warming - Carbon Herald

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) – the global authority for environmental programs focusing on climate and sustainable development, has released a new report ahead of COP28 with data showing where global climate pledges are currently leading in terms of climate change mitigation. 

The Emissions Gap Report 2023: Broken Record – Temperatures hit new highs, yet world fails to cut emissions (again) shows that current pledges under the Paris Agreement put the world on track for a 2.5 – 2.9°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels this century.

The key findings are that by 2030 global emissions must fall 28% for a 2°C pathway and 42% for a 1.5°C pathway. Additionally, by fully implementing the efforts implied by unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) from the Paris Agreement, the world would be on track to limit temperature rise to 2.9°C. 

If conditional NDCs are fully implemented, that would lead to temperatures not exceeding 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Those commitments are estimated to have a 66% chance of happening. Unconditional NDCs are targets with a single emission level while conditional are a range from the minimal to maximal emission level.

The report also explains that if all conditional NDCs are met, coupled with the long-term net-zero pledges, limiting the temperature rise to 2°C this century would still be possible. As currently none of the G20 countries are reducing emissions at a pace consistent with their net-zero targets, this scenario currently has a chance of 14% of happening. 

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“We know it is still possible to make the 1.5 degree limit a reality. It requires tearing out the poisoned root of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. And it demands a just, equitable renewables transition,” commented Antònio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the world warming estimates from the report. 

Credit: Bilanol | Shutterstock

Establishing the least-cost pathways that limit the world warming to 1.5°C is impossible without the emission levels in 2030 being decreased further, as per the report. The analysis says that significantly ramping up the implementation of emission reductions this decade is the only way to avoid a significant overshoot of 1.5°C. 

The report also described the progress on emission reductions since 2015 when the Paris Agreement was signed. Emissions were back then projected to increase by 16% in 2030, based on policies put in place. Currently, they are projected to increase by 3% in 2030. As the analysis calls out, they actually need to fall 42% in 2030 for the 1.5°C pathway.

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The UN report calls for all nations to deliver economy-wide, low-carbon development transformations, with a focus on the energy transition. If the world continues to produce coal, oil and gas from current and planned mines and fields, it will emit over 3.5 times the carbon budget available to limit warming to 1.5°C. 

G20 countries and countries with greater capacity for emission reductions are called out to take more ambitious and rapid climate actions. As currently low- and middle-income countries account for more than two-thirds of global GHG emissions, more financially stable countries need to provide support to help them meet their growth and development needs with low-emissions energy sources.

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