Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

 

 

UNEP Emission Gap Report· Adopting new technologies in key sectors, at investment of under US$100/tonne, could reduce emissions by up to 36 gigatonnes per year by 2030, more than sufficient to bridge the gap

· Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol, action on short-lived climate pollutants, and increased pre-2020 G20 ambition on Cancun pledges can also help minimize climate impacts

Geneva, 31 October 2017 – Governments and non-state actors need to deliver an urgent increase in ambition to ensure the Paris Agreement goals can still be met, according to a new UN assessment.

The eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, finds that national pledges only bring a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets, with private sector and sub-national action not increasing at a rate that would help close this worrying gap.

The Paris Agreement looks to limit global warming to under 2oC, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5oC also on the table. Meeting these targets would reduce the likelihood of severe climate impacts that could damage human health, livelihoods and economies across the globe.

As things stand, even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional Nationally Determined Contributions makes a temperature increase of at least 3 oC by 2100 very likely – meaning that governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.

Should the United States follow through with its stated intention to leave the Paris Agreement in 2020, the picture could become even bleaker.

The report does, however, lay out practical ways to slash emissions through rapidly expanding mitigation action based on existing options in the agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport sectors.

Strong action on other climate forcers – such as hydrofluorocarbons, through the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and other short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon – could also make a real contribution.

“One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.

“This is unacceptable. If we invest in the right technologies, ensuring that the private sector is involved, we can still meet the promise we made to our children to protect their future. But we have to get on the case now.”

CO2 emissions have remained stable since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy, notably in China and India. This has raised hopes that emissions have peaked, as they must by 2020 to remain on a successful climate trajectory. However, the report warns that other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are still rising, and a global economic growth spurt could easily put CO2 emissions back on an upward trajectory.

The report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the 2oC target. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union (including aviation).

The emissions gap in the case of the 1.5oC target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e, higher than previous estimates as new studies have become available.

“The Paris Agreement boosted climate action, but momentum is clearly faltering,” said Dr. Edgar E. Gutiérrez-Espeleta, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, and President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. “We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences.”

Investing in technology key to success

To avoid overshooting the Paris goals, governments (including by updating their Paris pledges), the private sector, cities and others need to urgently pursue actions that will bring deeper and more-rapid cuts.

The report lays out ways to do so, particularly in agriculture, buildings, energy, forestry, industry and transport. Technology investments in these sectors – at an investment cost of under $100 per tonne of CO2 avoided, often much lower – could save up to 36 GtCO2e per year by 2030.

Much of the potential across the sectors comes from investment solar and wind energy, efficient appliances, efficient passenger cars, afforestation and stopping deforestation. Focusing only on recommended actions in these areas – which have modest or net-negative costs – could cut up to 22 GtCO2e in 2030.

These savings alone would put the world well on track to hitting the 2oC target, and unlock the possibility of reaching the aspirational 1.5oC target.

Non-state action and other initiatives

Actions pledged by non-state and sub-national bodies (such as cities and the private sector) could reduce the 2030 emissions gap by a few GtCO2e, even accounting for overlap with Nationally Determined Contributions. The world’s 100 largest emitting publicly traded companies, for example, account for around a quarter of global greenhouse emissions, demonstrating huge room for increased ambition

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol aims to phase out the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons – chemicals primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation. If successfully implemented, it kicks-in too late to impact the 2030 gap, but can make a real contribution to reaching the longer-term temperature goals.

By mid-century, reductions in short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon and methane, could help reduce impacts that are based on cumulative heat uptake and help to ensure a steady and lower temperature trajectory towards the long-term Paris goals.

Also, while the G20 is collectively on track to meet its Cancun climate pledges for 2020, these pledges do not create a sufficiently ambitious starting point to meet the Paris goals (see attached analysis of Cancun pledges). Although 2020 is just around the corner, G20 nations can still carry out actions that lead to short-term reductions and open the way for more changes over the following decade.

Avoiding new coal-fired power plants and accelerated phasing out of existing plants – ensuring careful handling of issues such as employment, investor interests and grid stability – would help. There are an estimated 6,683 operating coal-fired power plants in the world, with a combined capacity of 1,964 GW. If these plants are operated until the end of their lifetime and not retrofitted with Carbon Capture and Storage, they would emit an accumulated 190 Gt of CO2.

In early 2017, an additional 273 GW of coal-fired capacity was under construction and 570 GW in pre-construction. These new plants could lead to additional accumulated emissions of approximately 150 Gt CO2. Ten countries make up approximately 85% of the entire coal pipeline: China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Republic of Korea.

The report also looks at CO2 removal from the atmosphere – through afforestation, reforestation, forest management, restoration of degraded lands and soil carbon enhancement – as an option for action.

Additionally, a new report released by the 1 Gigaton Coalition on the same day shows that partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries can cut 1.4 GtCO2e by 2020 – provided the international community meets its promise to mobilize US$100 billion per year to help developing countries adapt to climate change and reduce their emissions.

“As renewable energy and energy efficiency bring other benefits – including better human health and jobs – I urge the international community to deliver on the funding they promised to support developing nations in their climate action,” said Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. “Partner-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and policies are vital for global decarbonization, as they provide key resources and create enabling environments in critical regions.”

The 1 Gigaton Coalition is supported by UN Environment and the Norwegian Government.

The benefits of a low-carbon society on global pollution – by, for example, cutting the millions of air pollution-related deaths each year – are also clearly illustrated in Towards a pollution-free planet, a report by the UN Environment Executive Director that will be presented at the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly. The report lays out an ambitious framework to tackle pollution, including through political leadership, moving to sustainable consumption and production and investing big in sustainable development.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Here are six bold ideas to accelerate sustainable energy innovation

UK keeps its Brexit plan secret or there is no strategy at all whatsoever?

On World Day to Combat Desertification, UN shines spotlight on ‘true value’ of land

Eating less beef and more beans would cut deaths by 5-7%

The EU Commission implicates major banks in cartel cases, threatens with devastating fines

Agreement reached on digital copyright rules

5 ways for business leaders to win in the 2020s

‘Complacency’ a factor in stagnating global vaccination rates, warn UN health chiefs

Sustainability is now mission critical for businesses. Here’s why

The US is withdrawing from a 144-year-old treaty. Here’s the context

Parliament seals ban on throwaway plastics by 2021

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

COP21 Breaking News_05 December: Carbon Price Needed for Climate Change Success

5 amazing schools that will make you wish you were young again

Climate change and health: an everyday solution

Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi during World News Media Congress 2019

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Europe had a record year for Measles – and it’s partly down to anti-vaccine campaigners

EU Budget 2019 to focus on young people

No hard drivers in sight to remodel the stagnating affairs of the EU

Veteran UN Syria Envoy to step down, pledges to work ‘until the last hour’ for peace

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

Sweden has invented a word to encourage people not to fly. And it’s working

France is about to start giving free breakfasts to disadvantaged schoolchildren

China is the first non-EU country to invest in Europe’s €315 billion Plan

Statistics show the ugly face of youth training schemes

We had the hottest June ever this year – this is what happened around the world

Do the giant banks ‘tell’ Britain to choose a good soft Brexit and ‘remain’ or else…?

UN food agency begins ‘last resort’ partial withdrawal of aid to opposition-held Yemeni capital

As monsoon rains pound Rohingya refugee camps, UN food relief agency steps up aid

Internet of Things: a Force for Good or Evil?

Strengthening the rule of law through increased awareness, an annual monitoring cycle and more effective enforcement

A Sting Exclusive: “Infrastructure can lay the groundwork for the Sustainable Development Goals” by Mr Fulai Sheng, UN Environment Senior Economist

China is sending science students to live with rural farmers – and crop yields are skyrocketing

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

Here are 10 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspirational quotes

Fake news: What it is, and how to spot it

Finland should do more to improve job prospects of low-skilled youth

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

Thursday’s Daily Brief: dire living conditions in Idlib, migrants at US southern border, end in sight for trachoma, Human Rights Council

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Can a Bavarian Oktoberfest beer indulger bring down the Berlin government?

Armenia should take vigorous measures against entrenched corruption

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

Preserving biodiversity vital to reverse tide of climate change, UN stresses on International Day

Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth Unemployment

Who is to pay for Trump’s trade war against China?

Is it too soon to hope for a tobacco free Romania?

‘Virtual Biopsy’ device detects skin tumours in 15 minutes

The Schengen area is at a crossroads

The Commission neglects the services sector and favours industry

Yesterday’s “jokes” and sarcasm by Digital Single Market’s Vice President Ansip on EU member states’ right to protect their telco markets

Draghi sees inflationary bubbles

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile Connect availability hits 2B

Is Europe misjudging its abilities to endure more austerity and unemployment?

More Stings?

Comments

  1. A valuable and timely article. I am however, wary of that term “low carbon” coming in. That phrase is used by the nuclear lobby. Having been found out in their lies that nuclear power is “clean” and “renewable” – they’ve now settled on “low carbon” and are zealously pushing for nuclear power to be adopted as a climate change solution.
    That is, as Helen Caldicott has said, like suggesting cigarette smoking as a cure for overweight.

Trackbacks

  1. Confluence says:

    Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    Have you signed the pledge? Don’t wait. Join peopl

  2. Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    (2 November 2017, Nairobi) Keep up with our prepar

  3. Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    (2 November 2017, Nairobi) Keep up with our prepar

  4. Confluence says:

    Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    (2 November 2017, Nairobi) Find out more in this w

  5. Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    (2 November 2017, Nairobi) Discover what is new on

  6. Over one million commitments to Beat Pollution

    (2 November 2017, Nairobi) Discover what is new on

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s