PARIS: Countries’ greenhouse gas-cutting pledges put Earth on track for warming far beyond key limits, potentially up to a catastrophic 2.9 degrees Celsius this century, the United Nations said on Monday (Nov 20), urging G20 nations to boost emissions cuts.
The UN Environment Programme’s annual Emissions Gap report is released just ahead of crucial COP28 climate talks in Dubai and will feed into the global response to a sobering official “stocktake” of the failure to curb warming so far.
With this year expected to be the hottest in human history, UNEP said “the world is witnessing a disturbing acceleration in the number, speed and scale of broken climate records”.
Taking into account countries’ carbon-cutting plans, UNEP warned that the planet is on a path for disastrous heating of between 2.5 degrees Celsius and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100. Based just on existing policies and emissions-cutting efforts, global warming would reach 3 degrees Celsius.
But the world continues to pump record levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, with emissions up 1.2 per cent from 2021 to 2022, UNEP said, adding that the increase was largely driven by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial processes.
UNEP chief Inger Andersen said G20 nations – the world’s wealthiest economies responsible for around 80 per cent of emissions – need to lead on reductions, but noted some were in “snooze mode”.
“It is absolutely critical that the G20 step up,” she told AFP.
“AMBITIOUS AND URGENT”
The 2015 Paris Agreement saw countries agree to cap global warming at “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial times – with a safer limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.
Nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius of global heating so far has already unleashed an escalating barrage of deadly impacts across the planet.
UNEP said temperatures have gone above 1.5 degrees Celsius for more than 80 days already this year, although the Paris warming thresholds will be measured as an average over several decades.