Country climate plans are far from sufficient to meet the targets set in the Paris climate agreement. This is in the latest edition of the so-called Emissions Gap Report, prepared by the UN Environment Agency (UNEP).
The agreement, which was concluded by nearly 200 countries in 2015, agreed to limit global warming to preferably 1.5 degrees. But according to UNEP, on the basis of the latest climate plans of around 120 countries, the Earth is going to rise at a temperature rise of 2.7 degrees this century.
The publication of the annual survey fits into a series of alarming reports released on the eve of the Scottish climate summit in Glasgow, which begins Sunday.
For example, the UN weather organization reported yesterday that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record level last year, despite a temporary decline in global emissions at the time of the corona pandemic. Last week, UNEP itself reported that many countries are still planning to produce more than double the amount of fossil energy by 2030 than agreed in the climate agreement.
The upcoming summit in Glasgow is seen as the most important meeting of world leaders on climate since the Paris climate conference.
British Prime Minister Johnson said it is highly uncertain that the meeting will lead to new, far-reaching agreements. According to the UNEP researchers, these agreements are only necessary to keep climate warming in control.
Countries are quoting an additional 7.5% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 with their revised plans, and a 55% reduction in greenhouse gases is needed to monitor the desired 1.5 percent, according to the UNEP report. To stay well below 2 degrees, which is the minimum requirement in the climate agreement, that is 30 percent.
According to UN Secretary General Guterres, the report shows that the world is still heading for a “climate catastrophe”. He spoke in a press conference of a “thunderous wake-up call” and wondered aloud how many more wake-up calls were needed. “The era of half measures and empty promises must end,” he said.
Correspondent Rolien Créton traveled to Greenland, where climate change ice sheet melts faster than ever has ever been measured:
Michel den Elzen, researcher at PBL planning agency, contributed to the UNEP report. According to him, new and revised climate targets are “still falling short”. The PBL further writes in a press release that many countries in their plans postpone action beyond 2030, “which gives rise to doubt whether countries will be able to meet their net-zero emissions target.”
UNEP does see a bright spot in the climate-neutral ambitions, which some fifty countries have now expressed. That could limit the temperature rise by half a degree. According to the researchers, ambitions are often too vague and incomplete.
“That is why the largest emitters, the G20 countries, must step forward with stronger commitments towards 2030 if we want to keep that 1.5 degree within our reach in this crucial decade,” said Alok Sharma, president of the Glasgow Summit, in a press release to the UNEP study.