UN Warns COP27 Plans Remain Insufficient

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    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP 27  in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November, a new UN report argues global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts remain below what is necessary to keep the worst of climate change at bay.

    The report analysed the climate action plans – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – of 193 Parties to the Paris Agreement, including 24 updated or new NDCs submitted after the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP 26) up until 23 September 2022. Taken together, the plans cover 94.9% of total global greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

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    Still Not Meeting1.5°C

    According to the report, the combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5°C of warming by the end of the century. However, the efforts are still below what would be necessary to achieve the safer 1.5°C increase, which would help avoid the worst of climate change, including more frequent and severe droughts, heatwaves and rainfall.

    The report also shows current commitments will increase emissions by 10.6% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. This is an improvement over last year’s assessment, which found countries were on a path to increase emissions by 13.7% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

    “The downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change. “But the science is clear and so are our climate goals under the Paris Agreement. We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5°C world. To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years.”

    Global GHG would have to be cut by 16 Gt CO2 equivalent and 23.9 Gt CO2 equivalent to keep global warming from increasing beyond 2°C and 1.5°C vis-à-vis pre industrial levels, according to estimates of temperature increases based on the non-implementation of the conditional elements of the NDCs. “However, However, assuming full implementation of all latest NDCs, including all conditional elements, the gap is slightly narrowed, towards 12.5 (8.5–15.9) Gt CO2 equivalent in relation to the aforementioned 2°C scenarios and towards 20.3 (18.7–25.3) Gt CO2 equivalent in relation to the aforementioned 1.5°C scenarios,” the report elaborates.

    Glimmers of Hope

    This is UN Climate Change’s second such report, providing a critical update to last year’s inaugural NDC synthesis report. While the parties are not meeting the 1.5°C goal, the report does offer some glimmers of hope.

    Most of the Parties that submitted new or updated NDCs have strengthened their commitment to reducing or limiting greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and/or 2030, demonstrating increased ambition in addressing climate change.

    A second UN Climate Change report on long-term low-emission development strategies, also released today, 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 68% per cent lower in 2050 than in 2019, if all the long-term strategies are fully implemented on time.

    More Ambition Needed

    Current long-term strategies (representing 62 Parties to the Paris Agreement) account for 83% of the world’s GDP, 47% of global population in 2019, and around 69% of total energy consumption in 2019. This is a strong signal that the world is starting to aim for net-zero emissions.

    The report notes, however, that many net-zero targets remain uncertain and postpone into the future critical action that needs to take place now. Ambitious climate action before 2030 is urgently needed to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

    “COP 27 is the moment where global leaders can regain momentum on climate change, make the necessary pivot from negotiations to implementation and get moving on the massive transformation that must take place throughout all sectors of society to address the climate emergency,” Stiell said.

    Stiell is urging national governments to come to COP 27 to show how they will put the Paris Agreement to work in their home countries through legislation, policies and programs, as well as how they will cooperate and provide support for implementation. He is also calling for nations to make progress at COP 27 in four priority areas: mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance.


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