The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released a report highlighting the urgency for world leaders to develop plans and policies. World Needs To Act Fast To Control Rise In Global Temperature: UNEP
The Emissions Gap report 2023 sheds light on the rapid global temperature rise, which is no longer limited to 1.5°C or 2°C; it’s projected to reach 2.5-2.9°C by the century’s end.
Since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the projected greenhouse gas emissions until 2030 were expected to increase by 16 per cent. However, today, the projection stands at 3 per cent. The report also emphasises that to meet the Paris Agreement’s objectives of maintaining global temperatures at 2°C, emissions must decrease by 28 per cent; for the 1.5°C target, they must drop by 42 per cent.
To achieve these targets, the world needs to move beyond the Paris Agreement’s objectives and consider more stringent measures to contain the global temperature rise within the 1.5-2°C range.
According to the report, “not only are temperature records continuing to be broken, but global GHG emissions and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) also set new records in 2022. Due to the failure to significantly reduce emissions in high-income and high-emitting countries (which bear the greatest responsibility for past emissions) and to limit emissions growth in low- and middle-income countries (which account for the majority of current emissions), unprecedented action is now needed by all countries.”
“The CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes were the main contributors to the overall increase, accounting for about two-thirds of current GHG emissions,” states the UNEP report.
There is significant inequality in the distribution of present and past emissions within and amongst countries. Additionally, when it comes to policy implementation, consistency has been lacking. While there has been some progress post-COP27, many gaps still need to be addressed.
The report also highlights the gap between policies and their implementation. While the number of net-zero pledges continues to increase, confidence in their implementation remains low. “Most concerningly, none of the G20 members are currently reducing emissions at a pace consistent with meeting their net-zero targets,” states the report.
The report emphasises the need for more low-carbon development transformations worldwide, particularly in energy transition. It also underscores that planned extraction of fossil fuels exceeds the current carbon budget. Providing financial and technical support to developing countries while addressing energy demands through clean energy sources is crucial.
Countries must navigate economic and institutional challenges while embracing the opportunities presented by low-carbon transitions. These transitions can help communities create green jobs and ensure universal access to cleaner energy.
COP28, which begins later this month, will play a crucial role in addressing the urgency of combating the global climate temperature rise and making additional efforts beyond the existing ones. This year, COP28 will discuss the role of collective action in the fight against climate change, the need for more ways to harness renewable energy while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and adopting more sustainable methods of energy.
Read more: What Is COP28