Global warming outpaces efforts to slow it


To cap global warming at two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), national carbon-cutting pledges annexed to the 2015 Paris Agreement must collectively triple by 2030, according to the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Emissions Gap report.

The study finds that 68 out of 79 ACP states (86 percent) include some form of conditionality in their mitigation plans, meaning that - if conditions on support, including finance, capacity building and technology transfer are met - the countries could work towards promoting the necessary sector-wide low carbon options, while furthering efforts to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

Internationally, over the coming year the European Union should expand its cooperation closely with its global partners, so that all parties to the Paris Agreement develop and submit a long-term national mid-century strategy by 2020 in the light of the recent IPCC Special report on 1.5 Celsius.

They expressed their deep concern about the new evidence on the negative impact of climate change presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which unequivocally confirmed that current global efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

After three years of Stagnation, the emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide have reached a new record of 53.5 gigatons, - stated in the published ninth Emission Gap Report, Unep introduced a few days before the United Nations climate change conference in Katowice.

'We're feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach'.

There is no sign of reversal of this trend and only 57 countries, representing 60 percent of global emissions, are on track to bridge their "emissions gap" - the gap between where we are likely to be and where we need to be.

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However, emissions in 2030 will need to be around 25 per cent and 55 per cent lower than previous year to put the world on track to limit global warming to 2 degrees and 1.5 degrees Celsius respectively, the report said.

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete said during a press conference Wednesday that the tools needed to achieve net zero emissions already exist.

The Unep report was compiled by an global team of researchers that evaluated this according to its own information of all the available scientific studies on climate change. However, at this point in time they are insufficient to meet the scientific advice.

"If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10 per cent by 2030", he added, explaining that "setting the right carbon price is also essential. At USD $70 per ton of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40 percent are possible in some countries". A continuation of current trends will likely result in global warming of around 3°C by the end of the century, with continued temperature rises after that, according to the report findings.

These two steps mark the culmination of key processes begun under the Paris Agreement, reinforcing the importance of next month's 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). "Of course, we want the Paris Agreement to be mentioned, but we want it to be mentioned, encompassing everyone, albeit in an ambiguous way", he said.

In addition to simply reducing their own carbon emissions, these entities "build confidence in governments concerning climate policy and push for more ambitious national goals", according to the report.