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Efforts insufficient to attain Paris agreement goals: UN

ByJayashree Nandi
Nov 15, 2023 06:40 AM IST

The report flagged that global efforts to lower emissions are insufficient to meet Paris goals

New Delhi: Even if nations meet all of their current climate commitments, submitted as nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, the 1.5 degrees C global warming threshold will be breached, a new UN report said on Tuesday.

If the latest NDCs are implemented, emissions will increase by about 8.8% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is a marginal improvement over last year’s assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels (REUTERS) PREMIUM
If the latest NDCs are implemented, emissions will increase by about 8.8% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is a marginal improvement over last year’s assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels (REUTERS)

The report flagged that global efforts to lower emissions are insufficient to meet Paris Agreement goals but has also found that peaking of global emissions are likely to happen during this decade by 2030. The report is a wake-up call for nations ahead of the UN Climate Meeting (COP28) scheduled to be held in Dubai next month.

If the latest NDCs are implemented, emissions will increase by about 8.8% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is a marginal improvement over last year’s assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. That is wholly inadequate: the latest science from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels. This is critical to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.

The NDC Synthesis report released on Tuesday also reveals that global emissions will peak this decade; by 2030 emissions are projected to be 2% below 2019 levels, highlighting that peaking of global emissions will occur.

The report released Tuesday synthesizes information from the 168 latest available NDCs, representing 195 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including 153 new or updated NDCs communicated by 180 Parties, recorded in the NDC registry as on 25 September.

“The world is failing to get a grip on the climate crisis. That is the message of the UNFCCC’s latest report which provides yet more evidence that the world remains massively off track to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoiding the worst of climate catastrophe. As the report shows, global ambition stagnated over the past year and national climate plans are strikingly misaligned with the science,” said UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres in a statement.

A second UN report on long-term low-emission development strategies, also released on Tuesday, looked at countries’ plans to transition to net-zero emissions by or around mid-century.

The report indicated that these countries’ greenhouse gas emissions could be roughly 63% lower in 2050 than in 2019, if all the long-term strategies are fully implemented on time. Current long-term strategies (only 75 Parties to the Paris Agreement have submitted these) account for 87% of the world’s GDP, 68% of global population in 2019, and around 77% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. The report notes, however, that many net-zero targets remain uncertain and postpone into the future critical action that needs to take place now.

Referring to the first report, Simon Stiell , Executive-Secretary of UN Climate Change said in a statement: “Today’s report shows that governments combined are taking baby steps to avert the climate crisis. And it shows why governments must make bold strides forward at COP28 in Dubai, to get on track.”

Stiell stressed that the conclusion of the first global stocktake at COP28 is where nations can regain momentum to scale up their efforts to get on track with meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. The stocktake is intended to inform the next round of NDCs to be put forward by 2025, paving the way for accelerated action.

India formally updated its NDC last year, confirming to the United Nations apex body that it will reduce the emissions intensity of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 45% from 2005 levels by the year 2030, and to have installed capacity for non-fossil fuel-based power sources equivalent to the country’s 50% requirement by 2030.

India has also submitted its long-term climate action strategy at the UN Climate Conference (COP27) joining a select list of countries that have articulated how they will achieve their net zero emissions goal in the long-term.

The country’s Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy mainly articulates India’s vision and action plan for achieving its NDC goals and the target of net zero emissions by 2070 and key elements of India’s transition to a low-carbon development pathway.

Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degree C are failing across the board. They are moving on the right direction but not at sufficient speed, the State of Climate Action 2023 report also said on Tuesday.

Only one of 42 indicators for meeting the 1.5 degree C goal is on track which is electric passenger car sales, as per the report.

The report jointly published by Bezos Earth Fund, Climate Action Tracker (a project of Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute), ClimateWorks Foundation, the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions and World Resources Institute (WRI) states that 6 indicators are “off track,” moving in the right direction at a promising but insufficient speed; 24 indicators are “well off track,” heading in the right direction but well below the required pace; 6 indicators are headed in the wrong direction entirely, such that a U-turn in action is required and 5 indicators have insufficient data to track progress.

The share of solar and wind technologies in electricity generation has grown by an annual average of 14% in recent years, but this needs to reach 24% to get on track for 2030. Phase out coal in electricity generation needs to be 7 times faster than current rates. This is equivalent to retiring roughly 240 average-sized coal-fired power plants each year through 2030. Rapid transit infrastructure needs to be expanded six times faster. This is equivalent to constructing public transit systems roughly three times the size of New York City’s network of subway rails, bus lanes and light-rail tracks each year throughout this decade. The annual rate of deforestation — equivalent to deforesting 15 football (soccer) fields per minute in 2022 — needs to be reduced four times faster over this decade, the report said.

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