The world is perilously off course in meeting the Paris climate deal’s goals for slashing carbon pollution and boosting finance for the developing world, according to the UN’s first progress report on the accord.
The 2015 Paris treaty has successfully driven climate action, but “much more is needed now on all fronts,” said the report, which will underpin a crucial climate summit in Dubai at the end of the year.
“The world is not on track to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement,” including capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, the report said.
Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and drop sharply thereafter to keep the 1.5C target in view, the stocktake said, drawing from a major scientific assessment by the UN’s IPCC science advisory panel.
Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – another Paris goal – will also require phasing out the burning of all fossil fuels whose emissions cannot be captured, it said.
How quickly to purge the global economy of oil, gas and coal will be hotly contested at the 196-nation two-week COP28 talks, which take place in Dubai starting in late November.
The stocktake report also says that clean power must be dramatically ramped up, according to the first UN scorecard of the world’s progress in meeting Paris Agreement climate goals.
“Scaling up renewable energy and phasing out all unabated fossil fuels are indispensable elements of just energy transitions to net zero emissions,” it said.
“Unabated” refers to the absence of any technology that removes carbon emissions, either at the source or from the atmosphere.
Global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025 and drop sharply thereafter if humanity is to cap global warming in line with Paris targets.
Emissions have already peaked in developed and a few developing countries, but are continuing to rise in many of the world’s largest economies, according to the UN’s first Global Stocktake of progress in achieving the 2015 Paris treaty’s goals.
With the exception of a dip in 2020 when the global economy slowed due to the Covid pandemic, CO2 emissions have hovered at about 40 billion tonnes a year since 2019.
“We know that the burden of response sits with 20 countries,” UN climate chief Simon Stiell, referring to the G20 nations – holding a summit this weekend in Delhi – that account for about 85 percent of global emissions.
“The [G20] communiques are woefully inadequate,” he added.
China, the United States, the European Union and India alone contribute more than half of total emissions.
“The global stocktake report is a call for radical and immediate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” commented Tom Evans, a policy analyst at climate think tank E3G.
The stocktake also highlights the need to rapidly and radically scale up financial support to developing nations so they can adapt to climate amplified weather disasters that are already eating away at their economies.
Many African nations, already mired in debt, are struggling to transition away from fossil fuels even as their coffers are drained by worsening droughts, floods, heatwaves and storms.