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World is on track for 2.5°C of global warming by end of the century – New Scientist

Countries’ climate plans are nowhere near ambitious enough to cut emissions in line with Paris Agreement targets, the UN has warned

Environment 26 October 2022

Ecological catastrophy

Countries aren’t cutting carbon emissions quickly enough, a new report warns

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The world is set to emit enough carbon to exceed the 1.5°C global warming target within the next 10 years, according to a new analysis from the United Nations.

National climate plans submitted to the UN outlining emissions cuts between now and 2030 are nowhere near ambitious enough to limit warming to 1.5°C, the UN’s climate change secretariat warned.

On the current trajectory, the planet’s average temperature will reach 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, blasting through even the upper threshold of 2°C of warming set by the Paris Agreement. Scientists warn that this level of warming could trigger tipping points that would spark runaway climate change.

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The latest synthesis report from the UN assesses the impact of climate plans submitted under the UN process. Since last year’s analysis, some progress has been made, with global emissions now set to peak by the end of the decade.

But the national plans still fall far short of what is needed to meet the world’s goal. Perfect implementation of the schemes, which would involve richer countries helping poorer ones fund climate action, would see emissions fall by 3.6 per cent by 2030 compared with 2019 levels, well below the 43 per cent drop needed to meet the 1.5°C target.

Under the current strategies, 87 per cent of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C would be used up by the end of this decade and the entire budget would be blown by 2032.

“The downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year,” the UN’s climate lead, Simon Stiell, said in a statement. “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.”

It was clear at last year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, UK, that existing climate pledges weren’t enough to keep warming at 1.5°C, so nations agreed to return to the table within a year with more ambitious plans to cut emissions.

But since COP26, just 24 countries have come forward with updated plans, a figure Stiell said was “disappointing”. “Government decisions and actions must reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats we are facing, and the shortness of the time we have remaining to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change,” he said.

Next month, nations will gather at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, where they will once again come under pressure both to raise their ambition on carbon cuts and to provide more financing to help vulnerable countries implement their climate plans in full.

“Raising ambition and urgent implementation is indispensable for addressing the climate crisis,” said Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s minister of foreign affairs and COP27 president-designate, in a press release. “COP27 will be the world’s watershed moment on climate action.”

Climate campaigners echoed the call for tougher action on emissions. In a statement, Tom Evans at climate think tank E3G said it is “critical that governments significantly increase the level of their 2030 climate targets as soon as possible”.

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