The Eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emission Gap report has found that national pledges made under the Paris Agreement bring only a third of the reduction in emission required by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
UN Environment Programme (UNEP) pointed to the urgent need to boost efforts by the governments and non-state actors so that Paris Agreement Goals can still be achieved. Currently, the private sector and sub-national actions are not increasing at a rate that would help close this worrying gap.
UNEP Executive Director Erik Solheim said, “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”.
The Paris accord, adopted in 2015 by 195 countries, looks to limit global warming to under 2oC, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5oC also on the table. The report warns the state and non-state actors that as the things stand, even full implementation of current national pledges makes a temperature rise of at least 3 degrees Celsius by 2100 very likely. This means that governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.
On the stand of the President of United States to leave the Paris accord, UN showed its concerns by saying, “Should the United States follow through with its stated intention to leave the Paris accord in 2020, the picture could become even bleaker.”
The slowdown in CO2 emission since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy; notably in China and India, has raised hopes that emission has peaked, as they must by 2020 to remain on a successful climate trajectory. However, other greenhouse gases such as methane, are still rising and a global economic growth spurt could easily put CO2 emission back on an upward trajectory, the report warned.
“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,” Solheim said.
Laying out practical ways to slash emission, the report suggests that adopting new technologies in key sectors, such as agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport, at the investment of under $ 100 per tonne could reduce emission by unto 36 gigatonnes per year by 2030, which is more than sufficient to bridge the gap. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emission in the European Union, Including aviation.
“The Paris Agreement boosted climate action, but momentum is clearly faltering,” said Dr. Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. “We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences” he added.
Strong action on hydrofluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, could also make a real contribution.