UN Report: ‘Woefully Inadequate’ Climate Pledges Spell 3.2C Temperature Rise

Egypt And Berlin’s Icon: The Bust Of Queen Nefertiti

The bust of Queen Nefertiti housed in...

The EU First To Introduce CO2 Tariff

The European Union reached a political agreement...

Serbia’s Foreign Trade Increased By 31.1%

Last year Serbia's foreign trade goods exchange amounted to 66.6 billion euros and was 31.1 per cent higher than...

Hipkins Sworn In As New Zealand PM, Pledges Focus On Economy

Chris Hipkins was sworn in Wednesday as New Zealand’s 41st prime minister, following the unexpected resignation last week of Jacinda Ardern. Hipkins,...

Djokovic’s Historic Australian Open Win Extends ‘Big Titles’ Lead

Novak Djokovic claimed a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title on Sunday when he won the Australian Open, extending his...

Celebration Of Republic Day Of India

The Embassy of India India in Belgrade celebrated the 74th Republic Day of India on 26 January 2023 to commemorate the coming into...

Spectatular Mileston In First Boeing 767 Conversion In Europe Marked At Ceremony In JAT Tehnika

Avia Prime Group, one of the leading organizations for aircraft maintenance in Europe, consisting of three eminent companies including...

A green coronavirus-induced recovery could help close the emissions gap, but it is not enough for world leaders to meet their goal of limiting warming to well below 2C.

World leaders could use the coronavirus pandemic to shave 25% off their greenhouse gas emissions with green recovery packages, according to a report released today by the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

But they have so far continued to make choices that push them further away from targets they agreed upon five years ago to protect the climate and their citizens. By burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests, countries are on track to heat the world by 3.2 degrees Celsius this century, despite committing to keep it well under 2C.

The annual emissions gap report, now in its 11th year, assesses the gap between what countries committed to doing under the Paris Agreement and what they need to do to keep temperatures in check. Despite recent pledges from major polluters to cut their emissions, the report describes concrete commitments as “woefully inadequate.”

“The wealthy bear the greatest responsibility,” wrote Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program. The richest 1% of people, who emit more than double that of the poorest half of the global population, “will need to reduce their footprint by a factor of 30 to stay in line with the Paris Agreement targets.”

Deforstation often occurs to make way for monocultures such as palm oil

Emissions gap wide open

With factories closed, flights grounded and people buying fewer things, the pandemic is expected to lower carbon dioxide emissions by up to 7% this year, the report found. But the coronavirus pandemic will do little to help governments meet temperature targets unless world leaders prioritize a green recovery.

By investing in green jobs and infrastructure and choosing climate-friendly policies, world leaders could lower emissions by a quarter of what they would otherwise be by 2030, according to the report. Among the suggested solutions are ending fossil fuel subsidies, banning new coal plants and planting trees in deforested landscapes.

But the report says most rich countries are instead supporting a “high-carbon status quo” with some putting money into new fossil fuel projects.

“There’s been a perception that, because we’ve been stuck at home and not able to travel, we were doing great and moving in the right direction,” said Martina Caretta, assistant professor of geography at West Virginia University in the US and IPCC author, who was not involved in the report. “But the truth that comes out is that this is just like a blip.”

The report also calls for more action on planes and ships, which together account for 5% of global emissions and growing. About two-thirds of these emissions are international and not directly covered by national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement.

Increase in carbon-neutral pledges

Several countries have upped their ambitions in recent months.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, said in October it will be carbon neutral by 2060. South Africa and South Korea have now committed to doing so by 2050, and US president-elect Joe Biden — who has promised to bring the US back into the Paris Agreement — has agreed to the same goal.

Japan has joined the EU in aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century, which would mean also cutting down other pollutants like methane. Last week, the UK set itself the most ambitious short-term goal of any major economy, pledging to slash emissions by 68%— compared to 1990 levels — within this decade.

But none of these commitments have yet been translated into climate action plans known under the Paris Agreement as nationally determined contributions.

Burning fossil fuels has already warmed the Earth by more than 1C and this has made storms stronger, heat waves hotter and droughts longer. By emitting more CO2 with each passing year, world leaders are locking in deeper cuts to emissions in the future.

Reaching carbon neutral targets will require expansion of renewables

The level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in 2019 reached the equivalent of 59.1 gigatons of CO2. While the pandemic has tightened the carbon tap, slowing the flow of pollutants temporarily, it did not stop it.

“Are we on track to bridging the gap?” the authors write. “Absolutely not.”

Acting sooner rather than later will decrease the amount of CO2 that would need to be removed from the atmosphere. The negative emissions technologies needed to keep warming below 2C — without rapidly cutting emissions now — do not yet exist at scale.

The Paris Agreement temperature targets are a long way away but “actions in the form of emission reductions to achieve them need to start immediately,” said Alaa Al Khourdajie, research fellow at the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London and IPCC senior scientist, who was not involved in the report.

Personal and policy change not mutually exclusive

The 132-page report also explores how to make lifestyles less carbon-intensive.

It highlights that two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from private households. This includes activities like eating beef, driving cars and heating homes. For instance, cutting meat out of a diet lowers emissions by about half a ton of CO2 a year — and going vegan reduces it by almost double that.

The report proposes policies for enabling lifestyle change that include laws restricting adverts for high-carbon foods, giving subsidies to people retrofitting homes with heat pumps and placing a levy on frequent flying.

Stopping climate change through personal choices or government policies is often “presented as a trade-off between two choices,” the authors write. “However, system change and behavior change are two sides of the same coin.”

Source: DW

Related Articles

United Nations: 16 Days Of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

United Nations Office in Serbia held an evening of engaging poetry within the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence initiative. Art has the power...

UN: Serbia Gets The Highest eGovernment Development Index

In this year's global report of the United Nations on the development of eGovernment, Serbia is included in the group of countries with the...

Vučić At The UN: What Is The Difference Between The Territorial Integrity Of Ukraine And Serbia?

What is the difference between the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the territorial integrity of Serbia, which was violated in 1999, Serbian President Aleksandar...

Hungary’s Csaba Korosi Sworn In As President of UN 77th General Assembly

Hungarian diplomat Csaba Korosi was sworn in as the President of the 77th UN General Assembly, which will open in New York on Tuesday. Kőrösi...

UN: Ukraine War Stoked Global Food Crisis That Could Last Years

The United Nations has warned that the war in Ukraine has helped to stoke a global food crisis that could last years if it goes unchecked,...

UN Calls For Renewable Energy Push Following Damning Climate Report

UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for more investment in renewable energy and an end to the millions of dollars in subsidies for fossil...

US And Global Banks Unveil Multi-billion Dollar Plan To Address Worldwide Food Crisis

The U.S., several global development banks and other groups unveiled a multi-billion dollar plan Wednesday meant to address a worldwide food security crisis exacerbated...

Brussels: Leaders Of The Western Balkans Reaffirm Commitment To EU Path

EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell reiterated at a working dinner he organized in Brussels for Western Balkan leaders that it is important to harmonize...