Nairobi, Oct 27 (EFE).- The lack of progress in lowering greenhouse gas emissions could cause the Earth’s temperature to rise by 2.8C (37F) by the end of the century compared to the pre-industrial levels, unless current climate policies are strengthened, the United Nations warned Thursday.
The international community is “still falling far short” of the goals set out in the Paris Agreement (2015) — which seeks to limit temperature rise to less than 2C and, ideally, 1.5C — and is left with no “credible pathway” mapped out to reach that goal.
The UN Environment Program issued the warning in its 13th edition of the “Emissions Gap Report,” which this year is entitled “The Closing Window – Climate crisis calls for rapid transformation of societies” and was published ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), the main political forum for tackling the climate crisis, which starts in Egypt in 10 days.
“This report tells us in cold scientific terms what nature has been telling us, all year, through deadly floods, storms and raging fires: we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses, and stop doing it fast,” said UNEP’s Nairobi-based executive director, Inger Andersen, in a statement.
“We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster,” Andersen added.
Although countries decided at the 2021 climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow to strengthen their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) — which include each nation’s intended emissions and mitigation measures — progress has been “woefully inadequate,” UNEP said.
Most of the members of the G20 (a group of 20 of the world’s largest economies) have just begun to implement efforts to reach their new targets.
However, UNEP estimates that the G20 collectively will not meet its 2030 pledges without strengthened action.
“This lack of progress leaves the world hurtling towards a temperature rise far above the Paris Agreement goal,” the report stresses.
“Current policies alone would lead to a 2.8°C hike, highlighting the temperature implications of the gap between promises and action,” the UN agency warned, adding that “the world needs to reduce greenhouse gasses by unprecedented levels over the next eight years.”To keep global warming at 1.5C, emissions must be reduced by 45% above those under current policies by 2030 and, for the 2C target, a 30% cut is needed.
Such massive cuts require, according to the report, a “systemic, rapid and large-scale transformation across the planet” that will help avoid a “climate disaster.”
“It is a tall, and some would say impossible, order to reform the global economy and almost halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but we must try,” said Andersen.
“Every fraction of a degree matters: to vulnerable communities, to species and ecosystems, and to every one of us.” EFE