The planet is heading for “climate catastrophe”, the UN has warned as a report showed how far off beam nations are on cutting global warming pollution.
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released its annual Emissions Gap report on Thursday, showing that current commitments by governments to curb the rise of world temperature are “woefully inadequate”.
Current government climate policies leave the world on course to achieve a mean 2.8 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature rise this century, the report said, while implementation of current pledges will lower the rise of temperature to 2.4-2.6C (4.3-4.7F) this century.
Government officials will meet from November 6-18 on the COP 27 climate talks in Egypt to debate the best way to limit the warming to below 2C (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels and ideally to 1.5C (2.7F).
Last yr, leaders made additional pledges on the COP 26 summit in Glasgow hoping to cut back emissions.
As the newest @UNEP Emissions Gap report makes clear, we’re headed for economy-destroying levels of world heating.
We’d like #ClimateAction on all fronts – and we want it now.
We must close the emissions gap before catastrophe closes in on us all.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 27, 2022
Because the climate talks in Scotland, additional commitments were made to remove 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions (GtCO2e), lower than 1 percent of estimated global emissions in 2030, the annual UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report showed.
Policies in place, without strengthening, will likely result in a 2.8C (5F) rise in temperature by the top of the century, 0.1C higher than was estimated last yr.
“We had our likelihood to make incremental changes, but that point is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster,” UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said.
To succeed in the goal of limiting warming to 1.5C (2.7F), annual emissions have to be reduced by 45 percent compared with emissions forecasts under current policies. The move requires the investment of not less than $4-$6 trillion a yr, the report said.
“It’s one other yr squandered by way of actually doing something in regards to the problem,” report lead creator Anne Olhoff said.
“That’s to not say that each one nations haven’t taken this seriously. But from a worldwide perspective, it’s definitely very removed from adequate.”
In line with a separate UN report, earlier this week, analysing the newest pledges submitted by countries, 2.5C (4.5F) of warming is probably going by the top of the century.
“We’re still nowhere near the dimensions and pace of emission reductions required to place us on course toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said in a press release.
Under the 2015 Paris deal, countries are required to submit ever deeper emission-cutting plans, often called Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs.
UNEP found that “unconditional” NDCs – which countries plan no matter external support – would likely limit global warming to 2.6C (4.7F) by 2100 – a level that scientists warn can be catastrophic for humanity and for nature.
Conditional NDCs, which depend on international funding to attain, would likely see a 2.4C (4.3F) temperature rise this century, it said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that carbon neutrality goals are useless if not backed by motion, adding that the world cannot “afford any more greenwashing”.
“Commitments to net zero are value zero without the plans, policies and actions to back it up,” he said in a video message.
“Global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short,” Guterres said within the video, which comes lower than two weeks before the beginning of COP27.
“In other words, we’re headed for a worldwide catastrophe,” Guterres said.