Emissions reductions pledges ‘nowhere near’ what’s needed, UN says

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A boat photographed in Turkey. This year’s COP27 climate change summit will look to build on the work undertaken at COP26 in Glasgow.

Temizyurek | E+ | Getty Images

Countries are not doing enough to limit the planet’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century, according to a new report from U.N. Climate Change.

In an assessment published Wednesday, the U.N. said that “the combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.”  

The analysis comes ahead of next month’s COP27 climate change summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the shadow of 2015’s Paris Agreement will loom large. 

A key aim of the Paris accord is restricting global warming “to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.” 

The challenge is huge, and the U.N. has noted that 1.5 degrees Celsius is viewed as being “the upper limit” when it comes to avoiding the worst consequences of the climate emergency.

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U.N. Climate Change said its new report also showed that countries’ pledges, as they stand now, would see emissions jump by 10.6% by the year 2030, compared to levels in 2010.

“Last year’s analysis showed projected emissions would continue to increase beyond 2030,” it said.

“However, this year’s analysis shows that while emissions are no longer increasing after 2030, they are still not demonstrating the rapid downward trend science says is necessary this decade.”

In a statement Wednesday, Simon Stiell, executive secretary of U.N. Climate Change, pulled no punches about the current position the world finds itself in.

“We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees Celsius world,” he said.

“To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years,” he added.  

COP27 will look to continue the work undertaken at last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which resulted in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

On Wednesday Alok Sharma, the COP26 president said it was “critical that we do everything within our means to keep 1.5C in reach.”

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