Governments failing to do enough to meet climate targets - United Nations

Fri 08 September 2023 View all news

A new report from the United Nations (UNFCC) says that although governments around the world subscribe to the commitments made in the Paris Agreement there is not enough being done to deliver on the commitments and there is a rapidly narrowing window in which to do so.

The report says that since its adoption, the Paris Agreement has driven near-universal climate action by setting goals and sending signals to the world regarding the urgency of responding to the climate crisis. 

Globally, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising and there is a gap of 20 to 23 gigatonnes of CO2 between the cuts needed by 2030 to limit global temperatures to 1.5C and the world’s current emissions trajectory.

The report says: “There are now sufficient cost-effective opportunities to address the 2030 emissions gap, yet significant challenges, including access to and availability of support, remain in harnessing these opportunities at the required pace and scale.” 

Listing 17 'key findings' the UN says meeting the goals will require “phasing out all unabated fossil fuels”.

Amongst the key findings, the UN report says:

  • Global emissions are not in line with modelled global mitigation pathways consistent with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement, and there is a rapidly narrowing window to raise ambition and implement existing commitments in order to limit warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Much more ambition in action and support is needed in implementing domestic mitigation measures and setting more ambitious targets.
  • Achieving net zero CO2 and GHG emissions requires systems transformations across all sectors and contexts, including scaling up renewable energy while phasing out all unabated fossil fuels, ending deforestation, reducing non-CO2 emissions and implementing both supply- and demand-side measures. 
  • Systems transformations open up many opportunities, but rapid change can be disruptive. A focus on inclusion and equity can increase ambition in climate action and support.
  • As climate change threatens all countries, communities and people around the world, increased adaptation action as well as enhanced efforts to avert, minimize and address loss and damage are urgently needed to reduce and respond to increasing impacts, particularly for those who are least prepared for change and least able to recover from disasters.

The 47-page report does not, however, set out in detail which countries are falling behind, nor does it contain specific recommendations directed at particular countries or regions.

Gareth Redmond-King, head of international programme at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit thinktank, said: “The most important part of the report is key finding 6 – commitment that delivering on Paris means scaling up renewables, phasing out fossil fuels, ending deforestation, tackling methane – transformational changes needed to get to net zero and get on track for 1.5C. Because that’s setting the agenda for COP. The discussions to come later this month, again next month, and then in Dubai at COP itself – the response to this stocktake. That’s what needs to be the gamechanger to shift up a few gears.”

Image: Courtesy Chris LeBoutillier, Unsplash


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