Published On: Tue, Nov 27th, 2018

Global emissions spiked in 2017, after three years of stabilisation: UN Environment

Paris: Global carbon dioxide emissions increased last year, after a three-year period of stabilisation. The nations must triple efforts to reach two degrees Celsius target, an annual review by the UN Environment warned on Tuesday.

Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap number in this year’s report is larger than ever

But surging momentum from the private sector and untapped potential from innovation and green-financing offer pathways to bridge the emissions gap.

These findings along with a review of climate action and the latest measurements of global emissions were presented by authors of the 2018 Emissions Gap Report — ninth in a series — at an event here.

The report said global emissions are on the rise as national commitments to combat climate change come up short.

If the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, it is extremely unlikely that the two degrees Celsius temperature goal can still be reached, it warned.

The report from the UN Environment annually presents a definitive assessment of the so-called ’emissions gap’ — the gap between anticipated emission levels in 2030, compared to levels consistent with a two degrees Celsius or 1.5 degrees target.

The findings offer the latest accounting of national mitigation efforts and the ambitions countries have presented in their Nationally Determined Contributions, which form the foundation of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Evidence outlined here, just days before the start of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) show global emissions have reached historic levels at 53.5 GtCO2e, with no signs of peaking — the point when emissions switch from increasing to decreasing.

Authors assessed that only 57 countries, representing 60 per cent of global emissions, are on track to do so by 2030.

That analysis and a review of progress against national commitments under the Paris Agreement makes clear the current pace of national action is insufficient to meet the Paris targets.

Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap number in this year’s report is larger than ever.

Translated into climate action, the authors conclude nations must raise their ambition by three times to meet the two degrees Celsius and five times to meet 1.5 degrees.

“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” a statement quoting UN Environment Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya said.

“The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen — governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”

The report warned that a continuation of current trends will likely result in global warming of around three degrees Celsius by the end of the century, with continued temperature rises after that.

The Emissions Gap Report talks about the gap between the countries’ promises on how much they will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and the actual reduction required, if the world has to keep global warming to a global mean temperature increase well below two degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

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