UNEP: Efforts to Curb Co2 Warming Are Failing

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Written By: Emma Websdale

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 will be 8 billion to 12 billion gigatons above the level required to keep global warming at 2oC and avoid catastrophic climate change, warns a UN report.
1312827930This year’s United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Emissions Gap Report, an analysis of the efforts required by governments and businesses to avoid catastrophic climate change, warns that even if nations meet their current climate change pledges, greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are likely to push global warming above a 2oC increase.

The UNEP report, complied by 44 scientific groups in 17 countries, cautions that rising emissions are making it “increasingly difficult” and expensive to limit warming to safe levels. The report does suggest, however, that keeping warming below 2oC may still be possible, if annual emissions are reduced by 12% from 2010 levels, to 44 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020, then reduced to 40 gigatons by 2025, and further reduced to 22 gigatons by 2050.

The report suggests that adopting energy efficiency measures, increasing renewables, making changes in agricultural practices, and fossil fuel subsidy reform could save up to seven GtCO2e by 2020.

“Delayed action means a higher rate of climate change in the near term and likely more near-term climate impacts”, said UN under-secretary-general and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner.

In mid-November delegates from more than 190 countries will meet in Warsaw, Poland, for a UN conference aimed at working on emission cuts under a new climate pact. The new pact, to be signed by 2015, will come into effect in 2020.

Speaking about the conference, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change said, “As we head [to] Warsaw for [another] round of climate negotiations, there is a real need for increased ambition by all countries, ambition [that] can take countries further and faster toward bridging the emissions gap and a sustainable future for all.”