NOS News•today, 3:00 PM
The world is currently heading for twice as much global warming as agreed in Paris in 2015, when it was decided to preferably keep warming below 1.5 degrees.
This is evident from the latest edition of the Emissions Gap Report, an annual assessment that the UN provides of global climate policy. The report contains numerous figures that indicate that there is a gap between words and actions, concluding that by the end of the century the Earth will have warmed by 3.0 degrees at the current rate.
The 3.0 degrees is based on the actual policies that have already been initiated by countries. 0.1 degree will be reduced if all national climate goals for 2030 are achieved. If all ‘conditional climate goals’ were achieved, the expected warming before the end of the century would drop to (on average) 2.5 degrees.
This concerns the climate goals of, for example, India, Mexico, Indonesia and South Africa, says lead author Michel den Elzen of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which provides the climate policy calculations for the UN report.
The most important condition is that these emerging economies need technological support and, for example, large investments in sustainable energy projects. This will be negotiated in two weeks at the climate summit in Dubai.
Emissions down 42 percent
To stay below the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement, an enormous effort is still required, the report shows. Global emissions must then be 42 percent lower by 2030 than what the world is heading for with current policies. Last year that was still 45 percent. “You can see that three percent as the progress of last year,” says Den Elzen.
This way, small steps add up. For example, when the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the world was still on track to have 16 percent higher greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Eight years later, that expectation was adjusted to an increase of 3 percent.
So the world does not stand still, says Den Elzen, who also co-wrote all thirteen previous editions. “We see that countries are tightening their promises and policies. That commitment alone is absolutely insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”
Even after 2030, the challenge will not end. For example, negotiations will begin at the upcoming climate summit on new climate goals for the year 2035. “That milestone is becoming politically more important and is therefore already included in the report,” says co-author Joeri Rogelj of the climate center at Imperial College London.
This also includes further emissions reductions: in the five years between 2030 and 2035, global emissions must fall by another twenty percent, to reach net zero shortly after 2050.
The consequences of climate change increase disproportionately at higher temperatures. Even the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees of warming is large:
Why 1.5 degrees is not just a number