UN report puts pressure on Durban for results

Decision-makers at the upcoming COP17 meeting will have the weight of a damaging new report on their shoulders as they try and thrash out global policies, which could prevent dangerous […]

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By Tom Gibson

Decision-makers at the upcoming COP17 meeting will have the weight of a damaging new report on their shoulders as they try and thrash out global policies, which could prevent dangerous climate change.

According to a United Nations report out today, the fact that greenhouse gas emissions are so off track should give international delegates in Durban the necessary firepower to implement climate-saving policies. The report found that global emissions in 2020 need to be reduced to 44 gigatonnes of CO2, well below current levels of approximately 50Gt, if we are to have any chance of keeping warming below 2°C.

Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK, said: “This report should be a big reality check for negotiators heading into the Durban talks. It very clearly shows the world is heading for very dangerous levels of climate change if we don’t take decisive action right now.

“Realistically, nobody is expecting governments to close this gap fully in Durban. But at the very least they must avoid making the gap even bigger by agreeing to weak rules on carbon accounting – we are already in a deep hole, and it’s time to stop digging.”

The report notes that even if international governments’ best estimates are achieved emissions would still be 6 gigatonnes above the safe level. The report does conclude that safe levels can be achieved, but more has to be done by the strongest economies.