More aggressive emissions reduction commitments recently made by the United States and other countries still fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement, the United Nations is warning.
The 2015 Paris agreement called on countries to submit more aggressive pledges to cut emissions, known as nationally determined contributions, every five years in order to keep pace with the Paris agreement target of limiting global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
A number of rich countries have already submitted new pledges this year ahead of a big U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, starting Sunday, which was delayed a year because of the pandemic.
The report puts more pressure on other big polluters, such as China — by far the world's leading emitter — India, Russia, Brazil, and Australia, that have yet to announce or submit more aggressive emissions pledges for 2030.
President Joe Biden, for instance, announced in April that the U.S. would target cutting emissions in half by 2030. The European Union has submitted an even larger reduction pledge of 55% by 2030. Britain, Japan, and Canada are also among the 120 countries, representing just over half of global emissions, that have communicated new or updated pledges as of Sept. 30.
But these updated commitments may only result in an additional 7.5% reduction in annual emissions by 2030, compared to the previous round of pledges in 2015, said the U.N's annual "emissions gap" report published Tuesday. The updated pledges would leave the world on track for a global temperature rise of at least 2.7 degrees this century.
The report assesses the difference between the world’s current path and what's required to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.
Annual emissions reductions of 30% are needed to stay on a path of 2 degrees of warming, the U.N. said. Meeting the more aggressive 1.5 degrees annual target would require cutting emissions 55% annually.
“Climate change is no longer a future problem. It is a now problem,” said Inger Andersen, executive director of the U.N’s Environment Programme. “To stand a chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, we have eight years to almost halve greenhouse gas emissions: eight years to make the plans, put in place the policies, implement them and ultimately deliver the cuts. The clock is ticking loudly.”
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Original Author: Josh Siegel