The UN warns the world against limiting warming to 1.5°C before COP28 in Dubai.
Global commitments to reduce emissions are far from enough to curb the effects of climate change, with the Earth on track to experience a potentially catastrophic warming of 2.9°C (5.2°F) over the this century, the United Nations warned.
The annual report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Emissions gap The report, released Monday, assesses countries’ pledges to tackle climate change against the actions needed.
This year should be the the hottest in the history of humanity.
“The world is witnessing a worrying acceleration in the number, speed and scale of climate records being broken,” UNEP said.
The report finds that the world will face warming of between 2.5°C (4.5°F) and 2.9°C (5.2°F) above pre-industrial levels compared to current commitments if governments are not taking more aggressive climate action.
At this level of warming, scientists predict the world could pass several catastrophic tipping points, from rampant melting ice caps to drying up the Amazon rainforest and leaving vast swathes of the planet essentially uninhabitable for humans.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for “dramatic climate action” at the COP28 climate negotiations, which begin in Dubai on November 30.
He compared the emissions gap to a canyon.
“Leaders can no longer act. We are off the path,” he said, condemning “a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the most vulnerable and a huge missed opportunity.”
Guterres said the world “must reverse the trend” and move decisively away from polluting coal, oil and gas.
It’s time to “step up”
The 2015 Paris Agreement saw countries agree to limit global warming to “well below” 2°C (3.6°F) compared to pre-industrial times – with a safer limit of 1. 5°C (2.7°F) if possible.
So far, nearly 1.2°C (2.2°F) of global warming has already triggered a growing wave of deadly dangers – ranging from intensifying hurricanes to deadly floods and heatwaves – across the planet.
UNEP said temperatures had exceeded 1.5C for more than 80 days already this year, although Paris’ warming thresholds will be measured as an average over several decades.
The report says greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming must decline by 42% by 2030 to keep warming at 1.5°C (2.7°F).
But even in the most optimistic emissions scenario, the chance of now limiting warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) is only 14%, he adds.
The report says the world continues to emit record levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, with emissions increasing by 1.2% between 2021 and 2022, reaching a record 57.4 gigatons of greenhouse gases. carbon dioxide equivalent. This increase is largely driven by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial processes, the report notes.
UNEP chief Inger Andersen said it was crucial that G20 countries – the world’s richest economies, together responsible for around 80 percent of emissions – “step up” and lead reductions, but lamented that some were in “sleep mode”.
The report states that none of the G20 countries have reduced their emissions in line with their targets.