Global greenhouse gas emissions need to fall at an annual rate of 7.6% between 2020 and 2030 if the world is to get back on track towards the 1.5°C temperature goal outlined in the Paris Agreement.
A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report suggests even if all unconditional Paris Agreement commitments are implemented, temperatures are expected to rise by 3.2°C, which scientists predict will bring wide-ranging and increasingly destructive climate impacts.
Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director, said: “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”
The study warns collective ambition must increase by more than 500% above current levels to deliver the cuts needed the reach the 1.5°C goal, past which point climate change could soon enter a dangerous feedback loop where warming rapidly leads to more warming.
The report highlights that while G20 nations collectively account for 78% of all emissions, only five have committed to a long-term zero emissions target – it calls for all nations to substantially step up their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) next year and back these goals up with concrete policies and strategies.
The UN notes while solutions are available to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, they are not being deployed at the necessary speed nor scale.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “For ten years, the Emissions Gap Report has been sounding the alarm – and for ten years, the world has only increased its emissions.
“There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”