A new United Nations Climate Change report says that current climate action plans by nations are not enough to limit the average global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet Paris Agreement targets.
The report shows that countries need to take much more action immediately, even though some have been making increased efforts, in order to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and avoid the worst climate change impacts, a press release from the United Nations said.
“Today’s report shows that governments combined are taking baby steps to avert the climate crisis. And it shows why governments must make bold strides forward at COP28 in Dubai, to get on track,” said Simon Stiell, executive-secretary of UN Climate Change, in the press release. “This means COP28 must be a clear turning point. Governments must not only agree what stronger climate actions will be taken but also start showing exactly how to deliver them.”
Stiell pointed out that following the first COP28 global stocktake is when countries will be able to “regain momentum” to increase their efforts and get on the right path to meet Paris Agreement goals.
“The Global Stocktake report released by UN Climate Change this year clearly shows where progress is too slow. But it also lays out the vast array of tools and solutions put forward by countries. Billions of people expect to see their governments pick up this toolbox and put it to work,” Stiell said.
Most recently, science from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 43 percent by 2030, in comparison to 2019 levels. This amount will also be essential to limiting temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order to avoid the most dire climate change impacts, such as more severe and frequent heat waves, droughts and rainfall.
“Every fraction of a degree matters, but we are severely off track. COP28 is our time to change that,” Stiell added. “It’s time to show the massive benefits now of bolder climate action: more jobs, higher wages, economic growth, opportunity and stability, less pollution and better health.”
UN Climate Change’s analysis looked at the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of the 195 Parties to the Paris Agreement, which included 20 updated or new NDCs submitted through September 25 of this year. The report showed that emissions were not showing the fast downward trajectory that science indicates is needed this decade.
“Global ambition stagnated over the past year and national climate plans are strikingly misaligned with the science,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, as Reuters reported. “The chasm between need and action is more menacing than ever.”
The implementation of the most recently available NDCs would lead to emissions levels increasing by approximately 8.8 percent compared to 2010 levels, the press release said. That is only a slight improvement over the assessment from 2022.
Emissions levels are predicted to be two percent lower than those in 2019 by 2030, which means global emissions will peak this decade.
The report said that, in order for emissions to peak before 2030, “the conditional elements of the NDCs need to be implemented, which depends mostly on access to enhanced financial resources, technology transfer and technical cooperation, and capacity-building support; as well as the availability of market-based mechanisms,” according to the press release.
Stiell emphasized that the Global Stocktake and COP28 would be essential for developing a strategy to get on track with fossil fuel reductions.
“Using the Global Stocktake to plan ahead, we can make COP28 a game-changer. And provide a springboard for a two-year climate action surge,” Stiell said. “We need to rebuild trust in the Paris process. Which means delivering on all commitments, particularly on finance, the great enabler of climate action. And ensuring that we are increasing resilience to climate impacts everywhere.”