UNEP’s Emissions Gap report finds that under the current national climate plans, the world is on track to limit temperature rise to 2.9°C above pre-industrial levels this century.
The reports from the scientific community highlight the urgency and mounting challenges of controlling increasingly dangerous temperature increases and meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
It is fast becoming inevitable that with ongoing high levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, global average temperature is likely to exceed 1.5°C, at least on a temporary basis. Minimising the magnitude and duration of overshooting 1.5°C is essential, according to the 10 Insights in Climate Science, which invites leading scientists from around the world to review the most pressing findings in climate change-related research. It is anchored by WCRP, the Earth League and Future Earth.
“Scientific findings from reports like these should inform the ambitious and evidence-based action plans needed in this critical decade of accelerated climate action,” said Simon Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
Mr Stiel described the global stocktake as “a grab bag of wish lists and heavy on posturing.”
“The key now is to sort the wheat from the chaff. If we want to save lives now and keep [the] 1.5 goal within reach, the highest ambition COP outcomes must stay front and center. At the end of next week, we need COP to deliver a bullet train to speed up climate action. We currently have an old caboose chugging over rickety tracks;” said Mr Stiel.
“But the tools are all there on the table, the technologies and solutions exist. It’s time for governments and negotiators to pick them up and put them to work,” he said.
According to the Global Carbon Budget, fossil CO2 emissions are falling in some regions, including Europe and the USA, but rising overall – and the scientists say global action to cut fossil fuels is not happening fast enough to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the Global Carbon Budget.
Emissions from land-use change (such as deforestation) are projected to decrease slightly but are still too high to be offset by current levels of reforestation and afforestation (new forests).
The report projects that total global CO2 emissions (fossil + land use change) will be 40.9 billion tonnes in 2023.
This is about the same as 2022 levels, and part of a 10-year “plateau” – far from the steep reduction in emissions that is urgently needed to meet global climate targets. The research team included the University of Exeter, the University of East Anglia (UEA), CICERO Center for International Climate Research, Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich and 90 other institutions around the world.