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‘We have to get on the case now’

UN sees 'worrying' gap between Paris climate pledges and necessary emissions cuts
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
We have to get on the case now

Pledges made under the Paris Agreement are only a third of what is required by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This highlights the urgent needed to boost efforts by both government and non-government actors, the United Nations environment wing said on Tuesday (31 October).

‘One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future.’

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director

3°C rise ‘very likely’

The Paris accord, adopted in 2015 by 195 countries, seeks to limit global warming in this century to under 2°C above the pre-industrial level.

The eighth edition of UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, warns that as things stand, even full implementation of current national pledges makes a temperature rise of at least 3°C by 2100 very likely.

Should the United States follow through with its stated intention to leave the Paris accord in 2020, the picture could become even bleaker.

Peak carbon?

The pace of growth in carbon dioxide emissions has slowed, driven in part by renewable energy – notably in China and India. This has raised hopes that emissions have peaked, as they must by 2020 if we’re to remain on a successful climate trajectory.

To avoid overshooting the Paris goals, governments, the private sector, cities and others need to urgently pursue actions that will bring deeper and more rapid cuts.

‘If we invest in the right technologies, ensuring that the private sector is involved, we can still meet the promise we made to our children to protect their future. But we have to get on the case now.’

UN Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director

UN Emissions Gap Report
Source: The Emissions Gap Report 2017 | UNEP

Other pollutants

The report also says that adopting new technologies in key sectors, such as agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport, at investment of under $100 per tonne, could reduce emissions by up to 36 gigatonnes per year by 2030, which would be more than sufficient to bridge the gap.

However, it warns that other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are still rising, and a global economic growth spurt could easily put carbon dioxide emissions back on an upward trajectory.

Strong action on hydrofluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and other short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon, could also make a real contribution.

Click here to read the UN’s Emissions Gap Report.

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