World On Course for 2.7°C Temperature Rise by 2100 – Even If All Current Climate Commitments Are Met
Climate change: Scientists have long predicted climate disruption will lead to more extreme weather, such as heatwaves, droughts and floods

The latest climate commitments from 165 of the 192 countries that are signatories to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement would still lead to a global temperature rise of 2.7°C by the end of the century, according to an updated United Nations analysis of climate commitments and their impacts.

Major emitters including China and India, remain among those 27 countries to have not yet submitted any updated commitments at all in advance of the decisive days of the Glasgow Climate Conference (COP26), which begins on Sunday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on China to present an “ambitious” contribution at COP 26.

Guterres also said the UN also fully supports the Chinese presidency of the COP15 Biodiversity Conference, happening in Kunming 25 April-8 May of next year. For him, “ambition on biodiversity and climate are mutually reinforcing.”

“Both in Glasgow and Kunming, we must do our part to make peace with nature and safeguard our planet for future generations”, he added.

The analysis of all “Nationally Determined Commitments” to have been received so far by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) found that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would still increase by about 16% by 2030, as compared to 2010 – even if all of the commitments were met.

“Comparison to the latest findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that such an increase, unless changed quickly, may lead to a temperature rise of about 2.7°C by the end of the century,” said a UNFCCC press statement.

The updated analysis was published ahead of the COP26 to ensure that countries have the latest information at hand on the impact political commitments so far would make to climate trends, UNFCCC said.

Countries far from reaching targets to keep emissions under 1.5°C warming mark

climate commitments
Nationally determined commitments (NDCs) are still not enough to prevent the rise of global temperatures by 1.5 Celsius

But it dramatically underlines how far away countries remain from meeting the goal to keep global emissions under the 1.5°C warming mark that scientists say is needed to prevent a spiral of increasingly and destabilizing changes, as well as to the ecosystems of forests, glaciers and oceans, as well as freshwater access and food production.   

“This latest report from the UNFCCC makes clear, to protect the world from the most devastating impacts of climate change, countries must take more ambitious action on emissions, and they must act now,” said Alok Sharma, COP26 President, saying that the report underlines why countries need to show ambitious climate action at COP26.

 “If countries deliver on their 2030 NDCs and net zero commitments which have been announced by mid-October, we will be heading towards average global temperature rises of just above 2°C,” he noted. 

That’s an improvement over the commitments made in 2015, which would have led to a temperature rise of just under 4 °C – “So there has been progress, but not enough,” Sharma said.

“That is why we especially need the biggest emitters, the G20 nations, to come forward with stronger commitments if we are to keep 1.5 °C in reach over this critical decade. Glasgow must launch a decade of ever-increasing ambition. At COP26 we must come together for ourselves, future generations and our planet,” he said.

GHG emissions would begin to decline around 2025 

Total emission levels by 2030 would only be about 9% below 2010 levels.

On the more positive side, the updated report also confirms that emissions reduction efforts could be more effective over time.  For the group of 143 Parties that submitted new or updated NDCs, total GHG emissions are estimated to be about 9% below the 2010 level by 2030. 

Further, within that group, some 71 Parties communicated a carbon neutrality goal around mid-century. The report finds that these Parties’ total GHG emission level could be 83–88% lower in 2050 than in 2019.

Monday’s report updates an earlier UNFCCC report, published last month, which had compiled only 86 country commitments.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, said: “I thank and congratulate all Parties that have submitted a new or updated NDC since the publication of the full report in September. These NDCs clearly represent a commitment to acting on climate change.”  

“At the same time, the message from this update is loud and clear: Parties must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2°C – ideally 1.5°C – by the end of the century.

Overshooting the temperature goals will lead to a destabilised world and endless suffering, especially among those who have contributed the least to the GHG emissions in the atmosphere. This updated report unfortunately confirms the trend already indicated in the full Synthesis Report, which is that we are nowhere near where science says we should be,” she cautioned.

The IPCC has estimated that limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5C requires a reduction of CO2 emissions of 45% in 2030 or a 25% reduction by 2030 to limit warming to 2°C. If emissions are not reduced by 2030, they will need to be substantially reduced thereafter to compensate for the slow start on the path to net zero emissions, but likely at a higher cost.


Image Credits: Commons Wikimedia, UNFCCC.

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