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UNEP: World must cut emissions by 42% to meet 1.5°C Paris agreement goal

UNEP: World must cut emissions by 42% to meet 1.5°C Paris agreement goal
November 21
08:22 2023

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says the world is heading for a temperature rise far above the Paris Agreement goals.

The UNEP’s ‘Emissions Gap Report 2023’ analyses the gap between current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and national commitments to limit warming to 1.5°C.

The report said “humanity is breaking all the wrong records when it comes to climate change”, adding that countries must deliver more than they have promised.

It said the world must cut 2030 emissions by 28 percent to get on a least-cost pathway for the 2°C goal of the Paris Agreement and 42 percent for the 1.5°C goal.


It identified carbon dioxide from fossil fuels as the main driver, adding that the GHG is responsible for around two-thirds of current global emissions.

Emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases account for around a quarter, with the remainder from land-use change such as deforestation.

The report said if mitigation efforts implied by current policies are continued, global warming “will be limited to 3°C above pre-industrial levels” throughout this century.


It said fully implementing all unconditional and conditional nationally determined contributions (NDCs) would limit global warming to 2.5°C.

According to the report, additional fulfillment of all net-zero pledges will bring it to 2°C. However, net-zero pledges are “not currently considered credible”.

This, it said, is because “none of the G20 countries are reducing emissions at a pace consistent with their net-zero targets”.

The report called on all nations to urgently “accelerate economy-wide, low-carbon development transformations” to achieve the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement.


It said countries that are major emitters must take more ambitious action and support developing nations to pursue their low-emissions targets.

The report concluded that the possibility of meeting the Paris temperature target hinges on “relentlessly strengthening” mitigation measures and narrowing the emissions gap.


Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, says the report shows that GHG emissions are “shattering temperature records”.


Guterres said if nothing changes, emissions will be 22 Gigatonnes higher in 2030 than the 1.5°C limit will allow. 

He said world leaders “must drastically up their game now with record ambition, record action, and record emissions reductions”.


He said the global stock-take at COP28 must set out plans to massively increase ambition and investment in adaptation.

Guterres said countries must commit to triple renewables capacity, double energy efficiency and bring clean power to all by 2030.


“Present trends are racing our planet down a dead-end three-degree temperature rise. The report shows that the emissions gap is more like an emissions canyon,” he said.

“A canyon littered with broken promises, broken lives, and broken records. All of this is a failure of leadership, a betrayal of the vulnerable, and a massive missed opportunity.


“Renewables have never been cheaper or more accessible. We know it is still possible to make the 1.5 degree limit a reality and we know how to get there.

“It requires tearing out the poisoned root of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. And it demands a just, equitable renewables transition.

“The next round of national climate plans will be pivotal. These plans must be backed with the finance, technology, support and partnerships to make them possible. The task of leaders at COP28 is to make sure that happens.

“The response to the Global Stocktake must light the fuse to an explosion of ambition in 2025.

“It must commit to a surge in finance and cooperation. And it must set an expectation for more ambitious and detailed national climate plans.

“That means national plans with clear 2030 and 2035 targets, that align with 1.5 degrees, that cover the whole economy, and that plot a course for ending fossil fuels.

“Governments need to put in place policies and regulations to give the private sector the certainty and predictability it desperately needs.

“Specifically, in their response to the Global Stocktake, they must commit to phasing out fossil fuels, with a clear time frame aligned to the 1.5-degree limit. 

“Otherwise, we’re simply inflating the lifeboats while breaking the oars. Developed countries must honour their promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance.

“And they must deliver a clear plan on how they will meet their commitment to double adaptation finance to at least $40 billion a year by 2025.”

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