UN: the world on a “catastrophic path” towards 2.7 ° of warming
The world is on a “catastrophic path” towards 2.7 ° of warming by the end of the century unless the rich countries do their part, warned UN Secretary General António Guterres.
Such a scenario would be almost double the 1.5 ° threshold set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Guterres commented after the United Nations Climate Agency (UNFCCC) released an update on National Climate Action Plans – officially known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – submitted by the 191 countries that signed the agreement.
The report says that while there is a clear trend towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions over time, countries urgently need to step up climate action if they are to prevent disastrous global warming. in the future.
The document includes updates to the NDCs of 113 countries that account for around 49% of global emissions, including countries in the European Union and the United States.
Overall, these countries expect their greenhouse gas emissions to decrease by 12% in 2030 compared to 2010.
While the report recognizes this as an “important step,” Guterres warned: “We need a 45% reduction in emissions by 2030, to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century … It is clear that everyone must assume their responsibilities.
70 countries have indicated their adherence to carbon neutrality targets by mid-century.
The UN report noted that, if achieved, it could lead to even greater emission reductions, of around 26% by 2030, compared to 2010.
However, with national plans remaining as they are currently for the 191 countries, the average global emissions in 2030 compared to 2010, instead of decreasing, increase by about 16%, he was warned.
According to the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this would mean that unless climate action is taken immediately, it could lead to a temperature rise of around 2.7 ° by the end of this century.
Continuing, Guterres said: “The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a code red for humanity. But he also clarified that it was not too late to reach the 1.5 ° target of the Paris Agreement.
“We have the tools to achieve this goal. But we are quickly running out of time.
The UN Secretary-General underlined that coal-fired power is a particular challenge, adding: “If all planned coal-fired power plants become operational, we will not only be clearly above 1.5 ° – we will be well above 2 °. The Parisian targets would go up in smoke ”.
Guterres called for the creation of “solidarity coalitions” between countries that still rely heavily on coal and countries that have the financial and technical resources to support transitions to cleaner energy sources.
Without promises and financial commitments from industrialized countries to make this happen, “there is a high risk of failure of COP26,” Guterres warned, referring to the crucial UN climate summit in Glasgow in six weeks. .
“The G20 countries represent 80% of global emissions. Their leadership is needed more than ever. The decisions they make now will determine whether the promise made in Paris is kept or broken, ”he warned.
There was also good news, however, with the quality of the information presented in the new and updated plans improving in terms of both mitigation and adaptation.
Such plans also tend to be aligned with broader, low-emission long-term development goals, achieving carbon neutrality, and other international frameworks.
The UN chief has made it clear that by COP26, all nations should submit more ambitious plans that help put the world on a 1.5 degree path.
“We also need developed countries to finally honor the $ 100 billion commitment pledged over a decade ago to developing countries.
“The Climate Finance report released today by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that this target has not been met either.
In conclusion, Guterres said the fight against climate change will only be successful if everyone comes together to promote more ambition, more cooperation and more credibility.
“No need to ignore science anymore. No longer ignore requests from people everywhere. It is time for the leaders to stand up and deliver, or the people of all countries will pay a tragic price, ”he said.