The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) December 9, 2020, released its annual Emissions Gap Report 2020. The report measures the gap between anticipated emissions and those consistent with limiting the global temperature rise this century as agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
For Covid-19 recovery from the slowdown, governments are spending at an unprecedented scale, the report has found, currently amounting to roughly US$12 trillion globally or 12% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. For G20 members, fiscal spending amounts to around 15% of GDP on average for 2020. For middle-income and developing countries, however, the spending is less than 6% of GDP.
Here are the key highlights of the report:
1. By combining a green pandemic recovery with swift moves to include new net-zero commitments in updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, and following up with rapid, stronger action, governments could still attain the more-ambitious 1.5°C goal.
2. Reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in 2020 due to Covid-19 is likely to be significantly larger than the 1.2% reduction during the global financial crisis in the late 2000s.
3. The report has estimated that following the initial dip in CO2 emissions, there could be a rebound effect in many countries in order to bounce back from the Covid-19-induced slowdown.
4. Fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (from fossil fuels and carbonates) dominate total GHG emissions including LUC (65 per cent) and consequently the growth in GHG emissions. Preliminary data suggest that fossil CO2 emissions reached a record 38.0 GtCO2 (range: ±1.9) in 2019
5. The dip in 2020 only translates to a 0.01 degree C reduction of global warming by 2050.
6. Over the last decade, the top four emitters (China, the United States of America, EU27+UK and India) have contributed to 55 per cent of the total GHG emissions.
The year 2020 is on course to be one of the warmest on record, while wildfires, storms and droughts continue to wreak havoc,” Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director said.