The tenth edition of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report warned that global greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 7.6 percent annually for the coming decade if the world is to move toward meeting the 1.5 °C temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The report, released November 26, said that even if the current unconditional agreements from Paris in 2015 were implemented, temperatures would still rise by 3.2 C by mid-century. Collectively, G20 nations contribute 78 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Only five G20 nations have committed to a long-term zero emissions target, the report said, and several G20 members need to take additional action if they are to meet their current targets. Enhanced action by G20 members will be critical for achieving global GHG reduction, the report said. Solutions are available to make meeting the Paris goals possible, the report noted, but they are not being deployed fast enough or at a sufficiently large scale.
UNEP’s executive director Inger Andersen had some grim words regarding the report: “We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated. If we don’t do this, the 1.5°C goal will be out of reach before 2030.” The report, executive summary, and a data visualization that includes the expected worldwide impacts of a 1.5 °C global temperature rise vs. a 2 °C rise are available online.
The report was released in advance of the 25th UN Conference of the Parties (COP25), held in Madrid from December 2-13. The conferees hope to operationalize several components of the Paris agreement and receive strengthened pledges from around the world. Madrid offered to host COP25 after the government of Chile decided not to host the conference due to anti-government protests.